Vatican Mourns Irina Alberti, Solzhenitsyn Colleague, 4/10/2000
Vatican - Just as the Holy Father played a key role in solidarity in Poland, so also he acknowledges the freedom spirit of Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn and is mourning the death of Solzhenitsyn's long-time collaborator Irina Alberti, the 75 year-old woman who was born a Russian Orthodox but converted to Catholicism and who was a strong defender of the Church in Russia.
The Vatican reacted with expressions of sorrow on April 5, after hearing the news that Irina Alberti, a long-time collaborator of the Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn, had died the previous evening.

Alberti, who was 75 when she died at her new home in Frankfurt, Germany, was born and raised in the Russian Orthodox faith. But she entered the Catholic Church later in life, and devoted her last years to the cause of ecumenical dialogue between the two bodies. At the European Synod last year, Alberti-- who was appointed by the Pope as an auditor for that Synod- - rose to defend the Catholic Church in Russia against charges of "proselytism." Such charges, she said, were often an "alibi" raised by Russian Orthodox leaders in an effort to preserve their religious monopoly.

The former editor of the Paris-based journal "Russian Thought," Alberti was described by Cardinal Paul Poupard as "a woman of faith and hope."