Vatican and Russian Orthodox to Discuss Europe VATICAN CITY, APRIL 30, 2006

The Holy See and the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow have joined forces to organize a continentwide meeting on the “soul” of Europe.

The Pontifical Council of Culture said in statements to the press that the meeting, entitled “To Restore a Soul to Europe,” stems “from the common concern among Christians of Europe to address the Continent’s present process of loss of identity, to reflect on the Christian roots of Europe and to present again, with force, a plan for the future.”

The statement says that the May 3-5 meeting, in Vienna, Austria, is also a result of Cardinal Paul Poupard’s November 2004 visit to Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II.

Cardinal Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and Orthodox Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, president of the Department of External Relations of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow, will preside over the meeting.

The meeting will be attended by lay and religious experts chosen jointly by the Vatican and the Patriarchate of Moscow. The Vienna-based Pro Oriente Foundation is sponsoring the event.