Patriarch rules out meeting with Pope

 Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Aleksiy II has firmly ruled out any meeting between himself and Pope John Paul II unless the Vatican changes its policies towards the church in Russia. Speaking today the Patriarch said: "A meeting in front of the TV cameras will not yield the desired results. What is essential is to sign specific documents on new relations." The Patriarch also said the the Vatican was attempting to bring pressure to bear for a meeting by lobbying eastern governments. He said: "The Vatican is exerting pressure through the state structures of Hungary, Czechoslovakia and other countries." The Pope and the Patriarch have never met and Aleksiy added that a meeting could only take place "if it marks the beginning of new relations". To effect this Aleksiy said Catholics should put an end to the policy of proselytizing and also needed to condemn the activities of the Uniate church in Ukraine. The Patriarch added that Vatican's unfriendly attitude towards the Orthodox Church was evidenced by its decision to establish a number of Catholic Churches in Russia and Ukraine in the wake of the collapse of the Iron Curtain without consulting Moscow.

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