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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

06/17/1997

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Alexy Blames Pope for Cancellation

Patriarch Alexy II of the Russian Orthodox Church has blamed the Vatican for his cancellation of a historic meeting with Pope John Paul II. In an interview with the ORT television channel Sunday, the patriarch said that at the last moment the Vatican removed passages from a planned joint declaration which were of crucial importance for the Russian Orthodox Church. The paragraphs referred to the proselytizing of the Catholic Church in Russia and to the activities in Russia, Belarus and Western Ukraine of the Uniate Church, a body which retains Byzantine liturgy but accepts Catholic dogma and is subordinate to the pope. The Orthodox Church would like promises from the Vatican restricting Catholic activities. ""We have spoken of this at meetings between Orthodox and Catholics, and [it] had to be repeated at the level of church heads. But they rejected these conditions at the last minute and that is why we consider that the meeting is impossible,"" Agence France Presse quoted the patriarch as saying.

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