The Russian Orthodox Church has again declared the Vatican's proselytic activity on Russia's territory as inadmissible. The Moscow patriarchate's foreign church relations department released a statement on Tuesday, stressing that, provided the Vatican's current policy with regard to Russia is preserved, the dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Holy See "is doomed to failure." This statement was issued in reply to messages by Cardinal Walter Casper, Chairman of the Papal Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, and head of the Russian Catholics Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz to the Russian church leadership. The authors of these messages insist on the right of the Catholic Church "to preach the Gospel to all people." "We know from the experience of past years," says the Moscow Patriarchate's statement, "that this implies missionary work for the purpose of converting the maximum number of people, including those who belong to the Russian Orthodox Church by baptism and their national and cultural traditions. This position is unacceptable for the Russian Orthodox Church.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969