Varied Papal Delegation Headed to Moscow

Includes U.S. Cardinal McCarrick

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 25, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The members of the Vatican delegation that will take the icon of the Mother of God of Kazan to Moscow are from a variety of institutions and Church groups.



The delegation is headed by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The members include Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington. According to the Italian newspaper Avvenire, his presence is due to the importance of the American Catholics of his archdiocese in recovering the sacred image from the auction market.

After purchasing the icon and keeping it in Fatima, Portugal, the Blue Army, a Marian group, gave it to the Pope more than a decade ago, so that he could return it to the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate.

Other members of the delegation include Bishops Brian Farrell and Renato Boccardo, secretaries, respectively, of the pontifical councils for Promoting Christian Unity and for Social Communications. The latter is also responsible for preparing papal trips. Joaquín Navarro Valls, director of the Vatican press office, is also in the delegation.

Other papal legates include Father Jozef Maj, a member of the Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Father Enzo Bianchi, prior of the Italian Monastery of Bose; and Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Community of Sant'Egidio.

Father Bianchi and Riccardi are taking an active part in promoting fraternal relations between Catholics and Russian Orthodox.

Upon the delegation's arrival in Moscow, it will be joined by Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the Holy See's representative before the Russian Federation, and Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, president of the Catholic bishops' conference of Russia.