President Putin meets Pope Benedict

 Russian President Vladimir Putin met Pope Benedict XVI for the first time, yesterday. They spoke in German for the 25-minute meeting. "There was a very positive climate'' in the meeting, the Vatican said in a statement. It added that the two discussed relations between the Roman Catholic and the Russian Orthodox churches among other issues, but gave no further details. Pope John Paul met twice with Putin in Rome. During their 2003 meeting, the two discussed the possibility of a first-ever papal visit to Russia. On that trip, Putin was quoted as saying that he wanted to do what he could to improve relations between the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodoxy and he wanted to be of any assistance possible to bring Christians together. Later today, Mr Putin will formally ask the municipality of Bari, a city traditionally dear to the Russian Orthodox, to hand over to Roman Catholics possession of the Church of St. Nicholas which was built by the Russian Orthodox early last century. Source: VIS

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