.- Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, the leader of the Russian Catholics announced that tensions between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church could be overcome if we âput Christ in the center of our relations.â
According to the AP, the Roman Catholics and the Orthodox continue to disagree: the archbishop admitted that the Orthodox âcould have been better to us,â while the Orthodox Church asserts that Roman Catholics have been improperly seeking converts in Russian Orthodox areas.â
"During my 16-year service here, I never aimed at luring people from other religions to Catholicism," said Kondrusiewicz, who was leaving his post in Moscow to head a 1.5 million-member Catholic community in neighboring Belarus. He will be replaced by Don Paolo Pezzi, who held the position of president at a St. Petersburg seminary.
Deteriorating relations between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church have hindered a meeting by the two churches' leaders, as well as a papal visit to Russia.
"We are trying to break this wall of problems, and we should put Christ in the center of our relations," Kondrusiewicz said at a news conference.
President Vladimir Putin met Pope Benedict XVI during a visit to the Vatican in March, but papal hopes of going to Moscow were upset by lack of agreement with the Orthodox leadership.
Kondrusiewicz said the Vatican sees the Russian church as "a sister church" that has to unite efforts with other Christian denominations in the modern world "devoid of Christ."