Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia has received a delegation of Catholics from the Verona Diocese (Italy) who supported the Russian Orthodox Church's stand on the establishment of four Catholic dioceses in Russia.
The RIA Novosti correspondent learned from the Foreign Church Relations Department of the Moscow Patriarchate on Friday that the meeting with the clerics and laymen of the Verona Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church led by Father Luigi Adami was held on Wednesday in the Sinodal residence in St.Daniel's Monastery in Moscow..
During the meeting the Patriarch stressed that the Vatican's decision to open four Catholic dioceses in Russia was an unfriendly step that considerably complicated the dialogue between the two Churches.
Patriarch Alexy "highly valued the courageous act of the Catholics who openly expressed their solidarity with the Russian Orthodox Church in that issue," noted the Foreign Church Relations Department.
In March 2002 the members of the Italian delegation forwarded a letter to the Patriarch, which, in part, said: "It was with special pain that we learned of the differences that arose in February between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Vatican following the Pope's decision to raise the status of 4 Apostolic Administration created in Russia in 1991, to the level of dioceses." In their letter to Alexy II the Catholics of the Verona Diocese also expressed their attitude to the Holy See's decision. "Although we are trying to understand the reasons which the Holy See was guided by in taking that decision, we are concerned about the choice that does not seem to be too respectful with regard to the Russian Orthodox Church and, moreover, is not necessary for the pastoral custody of Roman Catholics living in the Russian Federation," note the Catholics of the Verona Diocese.