Joaquin Navarro-Valls told reporters that "everything points in that direction" as the Pope concluded a visit to Bulgaria. He observed that the Pontiff had been warmly greeted by Orthodox officials there, and "you cannot ignore that the Bulgarian Orthodox Church is aligned with the Patriarchate of Moscow."
The Vatican spokesman acknowledged that "things have to change, in a positive way," before the Russian Orthodox leadership would welcome a visit by Pope John Paul. Patriarch Alexei II has held out against a "summit meeting," because of his complaints about Vatican policy regarding the Eastern churches.
Nevertheless, Navarro-Valls concluded: "We are waiting for the meeting, in the more or less long term, but we hope that it will come quickly."