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    ALEXY II: RUSSIAN ORTHODOX AND ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCHES TO BE SISTERS

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    MOSCOW, February 22, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent) - The Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches should be sisters, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II said at a meeting with Cardinal Walter Casper, head of the papal council for Christian unity, on the Shrove Sunday in Moscow, a RIA Novosti correspondent reports.

    "We still believe that the ecclesiastical principle on relations between the Churches as between sisters, established by the 2nd Vatican council, should be followed," the Patriarch said.

    "However, recently this principle has not been functioning, and we have received an impression that the Roman Catholic Church has given it up," he pointed out.

    Vatican has forgotten the reached agreement that when creating its new structures on the canonic territory of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church should notify heads of the Russian Church, he recalled. The Patriarch learned about four new Catholic episcopates in Russia only after they had been created. "We also considered creation of a province of the Roman Catholic Church on the canonic territory of the Russian Orthodox Church [with a archdiocese in Moscow] as an unfriendly act," he added.

    Moreover, Catholic missionary activities in Russia and the CIS are becoming ever more intensive, the Patriarch pointed out. The Russian Orthodox Church is working hard "to ensure peace and concord between people and between religions in the CIS member states," yet very often missionary activities of Catholic monastic orders lead to confrontation between people, he emphasized. The Patriarch recalled the situation in Nizhni Novgorod [a city on the Volga River], where the broad public was against creation of a Catholic nunnery in the city, as it had only a few dozens of Catholics and already had a Catholic church.

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