Pope Meets with Russian Foreign Minister
Catholic World News, 1/15/2001
Vatican - Pope John Paul II met privately with Russian foreign minister Igor Sergievich Ivanov on Monday, and the Vatican reported that their talks centered on the peace process in the Middle East.
Papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls disclosed that the talks had allowed "an exchange of points of view on the international situation." In particular, he said, the Pontiff had used the occasion to "illustrate the position of the Holy See regarding Jerusalem." Other topics discussed during the session, Navarro-Valls said, included the status of Catholics in Russia.

In his own remarks to reporters after the session, Ivanov dismissed reports that the topics had included the possibility of a papal trip to Russia. "We did not discuss that subject," he said.

The Russian ambassador met with the Pope two days after attending the groundbreaking ceremonies for a Russian Orthodox church in Rome-- the first church in the city that will be under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. Up to the present time, Russian Orthodox in Rome have worshipped together with other Orthodox believers in a chapel maintained by the Patriarch of Constantinople.

After his talk with the Holy Father, Ivanov also met with the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, and the Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran.
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