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05/12/2009 | Medvedev Upgrades Ties With Vatican

Agencias

President Dmitry Medvedev told Pope Benedict on Thursday that he had decided to upgrade diplomatic relations between the Vatican and Moscow to the highest level.

 

“President Medvedev told Pope Benedict at today’s meeting that he signed a decree concerning the establishment of full diplomatic relations with the Vatican,” Medvedev’s spokeswoman Natalya Timakova told reporters.

The Vatican and the former Soviet Union established ties in 1990 — a year before the collapse of the Communist state — at the level of an office of representation, even though their representatives have always had the rank of ambassador.

The new status means that Russia and the Holy See will have full-fledged embassies in Moscow and Rome.

The Catholic Church’s top official in Moscow, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, said he was “deeply pleased” by the decision to establish diplomatic relations with the Vatican. “This decision is confirmation of the good level of relations between the Holy See and Russia, which have been developing, particularly in recent years,” he said.

Medvedev presented the pope with a lacquered case with an image of Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral and a 22-volume Orthodox encyclopedia, Interfax reported. “But I won’t be able to read all of this,” the pope said with a smile, Interfax reported.

Medvedev responded: “They’ll help you.”

** MT, Reuters

 

The Moscow Times (Rusia)

 


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