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Papal trip to Serbia for anniversary of Edict of Milan ruled out

Catholic World News - February 05, 2013

The apostolic nuncio in Serbia has ruled out the possibility of a visit by Pope Benedict XVI in 2013, for celebrations of the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan.

Archbishop Orlando Antonini said that the “situation in Serbia regarding ecumenism still is not relaxed enough” to allow for a papal visit. But he said that ecumenical progress is being made, noting that the Catholic Archbishop Stanislav Hocevar of Belgrade has been involved in planning for the anniversary celebrations.

The Serbian Orthodox Church has organized a major ecumenical observance in Nis, the birthplace of the Emperor Constantine, for the anniversary. Rumors circulated last year that the Pope might be invited, and Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Irinej I said that he would welcome a visit by the Pontiff, but the Russian Orthodox Church reportedly opposed the idea.

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