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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Vatican Hails Russian Ties

VATICAN CITY — A senior Vatican cardinal said Thursday that relations with the Russian Orthodox church have vastly improved, possibly paving the way for a papal visit to Moscow or a historic meeting between the pope and the Orthodox patriarch outside of Russia or the Vatican.

"We have overcome all the tensions in recent years," Cardinal Walter Kasper told Vatican Radio after a meeting with Archbishop Hilarion, head of external relations for the Moscow Patriarchate.

Hilarion is scheduled to meet Friday with Pope Benedict XVI.

Kasper said "yes" when asked if a trip to Moscow was a "little bit closer" but added that a pope-patriarch meeting seemed more probable in a "third location."