.- A delegation of the Russian Federation headed by its Foreign Affairs Minister, Sergei Lavrov, visited the Holy See this Tuesday and, for the first time, officially invited a Vatican top official to visit the country. Minister Lavrov, who has accompanied by Vitaly Litvin, Russian Ambassador to the Holy See, met with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State and Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, Secretary for Relations with States.
According to the Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls, âIn the course of the meeting there was an exchange of viewpoints on bilateral relations between the Holy See and Russia and on the international situation, with particular regard to the dialogue between cultures and to collaboration within international organizations.â
âThe meeting, âaccording to Navarro-Valls, âunderscored the existing cordial relations and the possibility of further developing them. To this end, Minister Lavrov invited Archbishop Lajolo to Moscow next autumn."
The late Pope John Paul tried to visit Moscow on several occasions but always faced the staunch opposition of the Russian Orthodox leaders, who still accuse the Catholic Church of âproselytismâ within what they consider as âcanonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church.â