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Moscow: Catholic and Orthodox churches to set up working group

 The following communique was released yesterday by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who has been in Russia since February 16: "On February 19, 2004 in Moscow, a meeting took place between the Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Patriarchate of Moscow, Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, Kirill, and the President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Cardinal Walter Kasper. In the course of their conversations, the parties considered the matters at issue in relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, especially in Russia and in Ukraine. In particular, Cardinal Kasper confirmed that the Holy See had received the written response of the Russian Orthodox Church on the possible establishment of a Greek-Catholic Patriarchate in Ukraine, as well as the responses of all the local Orthodox Churches on this question. "Cardinal Kasper indicated that the unanimous position of all the Orthodox Churches is being given serious consideration by the authorities of the Catholic Church. The Catholic party assured the Orthodox party that it is the wish of the Holy See to maintain and further strengthen positive relations with the Orthodox Churches. Both sides agreed that for the solution of specific issues in relations between the Russian Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches a joint working group should be set up, composed of representatives of both Churches who will examine these questions and make proposals for their solution. "Participating in the meeting were Archbishop Antonio Mennini, representative of the Holy See to the Russian Federation, Bishop Brian Farrell, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Reverend Father Jozef M Maj, official of the same council, the Vice-Chairmen of the Department for External Church Relations of the Patriarchate of Moscow, Bishop Mark Egoryevsk and Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, and Reverend Father Igor Vyzhanov, acting secretary for Inter--Christian Affairs." Source: VIS