Alexy II: Catholic Church agrees in principle to joint declaration

Posted: Friday, March 02, 2001

MOSCOW (AP) -- The Patriarch of Russia's Orthodox Church Alexy II says he and Pope John Paul II have agreed in principle to sign a key joint declaration -- but disagree about what it should say.

The split came during talks on a possible papal visit to Russia, Alexy said in the interview with Russia's daily Segodnya.

''In the course of the discussions of the visit it was decided to sign a joint declaration,'' Alexy said.

Alexy said he wanted the churches to pledge to refrain from missionary activity on each others' territory, and to not ''encroach'' on church property, a reference to a jurisdictional dispute in western Ukraine. The two issues have marred relations and held up talks on a visit for years.

''The pope did not agree to have these two points in the declaration,'' Alexy said.

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