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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Vatican Hopes Church Talks Will Continue

VATICAN CITY -- A senior Vatican official, just back from talks in Moscow, said Tuesday there is Orthodox backing for restarting dialogue on theological differences.

Last week, the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church held two rounds of talks in Moscow as part of periodic discussions on their often troubled relations.

Cardinal Edward Cassidy, who heads the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Unity among Christians, said on Vatican Radio the two sides discussed resuming theological dialogue, "with the support of the Moscow Patriarchate which is favorable" to the resumption.

Also discussed was how each church planned to celebrate the millennium. Cassidy said there was the possibility of reciprocal invitations to various events by each side.

Pope John Paul II is intent on forging better relations with other Christian churches as the Catholic Church nears the start of its third millennium.

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II and the pope had planned to meet in Austria last summer, but Alexy canceled the meeting because of disputes with the Vatican over church property and Catholic missionary work in Russia.

It would have been the first meeting of the pope and a Russian patriarch since a schism in 1054 divided Christians into the Catholic and Orthodox churches.