New Nuncio in Russia Ready for Dialogue With Orthodox
Outgoing Archbishop Honored by Medvedev
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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 21, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is moving Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič from his apostolic nunciature in Ukraine to the same post in Russia. The prelate comes to Moscow with broad experience in Orthodox-Catholic relations.
The Vatican reported Archbishop Jurkovič's appointment Saturday, just two days after the Pope was visited by the president of Russia, Dimitri Medvedev.
Archbishop Jurkovič succeeds Archbishop Antonio Mennini, who was appointed in December the nuncio to Great Britain.
During his eight-year tenure in Moscow, Archbishop Mennini played a decisive role in improving relations between Orthodox and Catholics. In fact, the day after the papal audience, President Medvedev signed an order conferring on him the honor of the "Order of Friendship," in recognition of his work to improve relations between the Holy See and Russia.
Archbishop Jurkovič is also practiced in Russian Orthodox-Catholic relations, having already worked in the nunciature of Moscow. As well, he had served in the Ukraine -- a territory included in the Russian patriarchate -- since 2004, and from 2001 to 2004, he was apostolic nuncio in Belarus.
Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, chairman of the Department of External Church Relations and a permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow, already knows personally Archbishop Jurkovič.
Ivan Jurkovič was born in Kocevje, Slovenia, on June 10, 1952, and ordained a priest in 1977. In 1980 he entered the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, where priests are instructed for papal diplomatic service. In 1988 he earned a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Lateran University.
After serving in several countries, between 1992 and 1996 he worked as a counselor in the Holy See's representation in Moscow, where he was a canon law professor and published several books on law, including a Latin-Russian dictionary of canon law terms and expressions.