Papal Nuncio Antonio Mennini, who represents the Vatican in Russia, arrived here yesterday for a two-day unofficial visit. As reported by the official website of the Republic of Tartarstan, Mennini dined with Archbishop Anastasy, of Kazan and Tartarstan, and First Deputy Mufti of Tartarstan Valiulla Khazrat Yakupov and toured the Kazan Kremlin. A service and dinner were held in Kazan's Catholic chapel.
Friday's schedule called for the nuncio to sanctify the site, at the intersection of Ostrovsky and Aidinov Streets, where a Catholic cathedral is being built, and to meet with Kazan's Catholics, who number 300,000. Father Mennini was also to meet with Kamil Iskhakov, the mayor of Kazan, and Rafael Khakimov, an adviser to the government of Tartarstan. It is expected that the talks will concern the return to Russia of the Icon of the Mother of God.
The papal representative was accompanied by Bishop Klemens Pikkel (Saratov).