(RIA Novosti) Problems in relations between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches in Russia have been resolved but the two churches’ leaders cannot yet meet, a Russian Church representative said Monday.
“We have unresolved issues, but not in Russia. There are problems in Ukraine, with Greek-Catholic parishes,” Hieromonk Philip Ryabykh, deputy chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department of External Church Relations, said at a RIA Novosti press conference.
“As soon as ways to resolve all problems are outlined, such a meeting is not ruled out,” he said.
Relations between the two Churches have improved and high-level visits have become more frequent under Benedict XVI and Russian Patriarch Kirill, who was enthroned in February following the death of his predecessor Alexy II.
Church officials in Moscow have accused Catholics of proselytizing in Russia, which the Vatican has denied, and highlighted a number of differences on which there is no room for compromise.
Moscow and the Vatican recently exchanged notes formalizing the establishment of full diplomatic relations.
Russia, which only had a representative office in the Vatican, will now have a full-fledged embassy. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced the establishment of full diplomatic ties during his recent visit to the Vatican and meeting with Pope Benedict XVI.
The move was hailed by both the Russian Orthodox Church and the Holy See as a sign of further improvement in relations between the two Christian churches.