The Russian government has expressed its objection to the creation of four Catholic dioceses in the country. Speaking on Saturday, Russia's Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Yuri Fedotov told a meeting of Orthodox clergy that the Vatican's move into Russia was "unacceptable". Fedotov said: "Our position is clear, and we have shown the Vatican that its conduct is unacceptable". He added that some Catholic priests were also not welcome in Russia. This year, tensions between Rome and Moscow increased with the deportation of five Catholic priests including Bishop Jerzy Mazur of the St Joseph diocese of Irkutsk in Eastern Siberia. Other churches have also complained of harassment. Pope John Paul II has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to explain why the priests were expelled. source: Keston News Service
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