Vatican and Russian Orthodox Church Set Up Working Group to Improve Relations

February 21, 2004

Source: BBC News

On February 21, 2004 the BBC News reported, "The Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church have agreed to set up a joint working group to try to improve relations. The announcement was made simultaneously in Rome and Moscow. The most senior Vatican representative to visit Russia for four years is currently on a mission to try to mend bridges between the two churches...The Russian Orthodox believe that Pope John Paul II continues to poach converts in traditional Orthodox territories. The Vatican denies this. Orthodox lands include Ukraine, where there is an Eastern-rite community of several million Catholics which has been in communion with Rome for over 400 years. The Ukrainian Catholics, or Greek Catholics, as they are sometimes called, are perceived as a threat by the Orthodox leadership in Moscow."