BY BESS TWISTON DAVIES
THE RUSSIAN President Boris Yeltsin met the Pope in Rome this week to discuss conflict between Russian Orthodox leaders and Catholics in Russia.
The original conflict dates back to the influx of evangelising Polish and Slovak priests who flooded into Russia to spread the gospel in the early 1990s.
But Irina Alberti director of the joint Catholic/Orthodox radio Blagovest based in Moscow said that current Catholic/orthodox tensions are politically based: "A coalition of the extreme right and the
extreme left are gaining power in Russia.
"Orthodox bishops are afraid that if these extreme political groups come to power the Church might end up in the same situation that it was in under Communism. In order to protect themselves in advance, the Orthodox hierarchy is going along with isolationist policy.
"The bishops are giving the faithful the message that Catholicism is a heresy. But ordinary Russians are confused."
New Russian orthodox seminaries are even reported to be requesting copies of the Catechism.