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Vatican representative, Ukrainian official discuss possible papal visit

Posted: Friday, October 20, 2000

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- A Vatican representative and Ukraine's deputy prime minister met to discuss a possible 2001 visit by Pope John Paul II to the mostly Eastern Orthodox country, where Catholics and Orthodox have clashed bitterly over churches seized during the Soviet period.

The pope has been invited to Ukraine, but has never visited. Ukraine's Eastern rite Catholics, who celebrate an Orthodox-style liturgy but are loyal to the pope, constitute a significant religious minority. A papal visit could provoke opposition from some members of the nation's competing Orthodox groups.

Russia's Orthodox Church has resisted attempts by the pope to visit, accusing Rome of seeking to convert Russians regarded by Orthodox bishops as their flock.



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