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Russian public wants visit by Pope Francis, poll finds

April 15, 2013

A striking 71% of Russia's people hope for a visit by Pope Francis to their country, according to a new poll by the Lavada Center in Moscow. Only 9% of those surveyed voiced opposition to a papal visit.

Pope John Paul II had long hoped to make a visit to Moscow, but faced steady resistance from the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church. While tensions between Rome and Moscow eased during the pontificate of Benedict XVI, the Moscow Patriarchate continued to insist that further ecumenical progress was needed before a papal visit could take place. The surprising popularity of Pope Francis could prompt Orthodox leaders to ease their opposition.


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  • Posted by: jacquebquique5708 - Apr. 16, 2013 11:00 AM ET USA

    So far, it would appear that Padre Francis is indeed as "simple as a dove but as wise as a serpant". The Orthodox Slavs were ravaged by both the Communist Revolution and then by Hitler's national socialism which included places such as Medjagorje.

  • Posted by: Gregory108 - Apr. 16, 2013 2:20 AM ET USA

    "The surprising popularity of Pope Francis could prompt Orthodox leaders to ease their opposition." Probably not. We already know what the Russian Orthodox hierarchy thinks of Jesuits. One of their patriarchs said that (I paraphrase) "experience has shown" that a Jesuit is a person who says one thing and then does another. So, probably not. They'll probably be too busy building churches in Western Europe, while complaining the Catholic Church is trespassing on their canonical territory.