Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cardinal Koch's Visit to Moscow Enhances Unity; Prelude to Meeting of Pope and Russian Patriarch?

The Vatican Radio website reports that Cardinal Kurt Koch -- the head of the Vatican Council for Promoting Christian Unity -- arrives in Moscow today (March 12, 2011), in an effort to strengthen relations with the Russian Orthodox Church.

Cardinal Koch -- who began his new job just a few months ago -- will celebrate mass in the Catholic Cathedral in Moscow on Sunday.

He will also meet with Russian Orthodox officials -- including Patriarch Kirill -- who was elected head of the Orthodox Church in Moscow and All Russia two years ago.

Cardinal Koch's visit follows a high-profile meeting in the Vatican in mid-February between Russian president Dmitry Medvedev and Pope Benedict -- a clear sign of the warming relations between Moscow and the Holy See. There has been much speculation recently that Patriarch Kirill will meet with Pope Benedict later this year, with the primary goal being to achieve Orthodox-Catholic Christian unity.

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