YELTSIN SAYS POPE MEETING WILL NOT ADDRESS CATHOLIC-ORTHODOX RELATIONS

      MOSCOW (CWN) - Russian President Boris Yeltsin will not discuss relations between the Russian Orthodox and Catholic churches when he meets with Pope John Paul in Rome next month, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

      Spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky also denied reports that Yeltsin would invite John Paul to visit Russia, the ITAR-Tass news agency said. The Holy Father is expected to take Yeltsin to task over a new Russian law that puts severe restrictions on non-Russian Orthodox religions, including the Catholic Church, when the two men meet during Yeltsin's February 9-11 visit to Italy.

      The Pope may also ask Yeltsin to intervene in a dispute over property confiscated from Eastern-rite Catholic churches by the Soviet regime and handed over to the Russian Orthodox church, an issue that has strained relations between the Catholic and Orthodox churches.

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January 23-25, 1998 volume 9, no. 18          DAILY CATHOLIC