At the start of 1998, rumors - as well as denials - are once again flying of an imminent, historic meeting between the Pope of Rome and the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. To put that prospect into perspective, the present article explores the 10 June 1997 decision of the Holy Synod, the powerful interim governing body of the Russian Orthodox Church, to cancel the previously scheduled encounter of the two church leaders later that month. It also examines differing explanations offered for that decision and the background to some of the continuing misunderstandings between the two confessions.



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