01VATICAN5288 / 2001-10-11 14:38:00
Embassy Vatican
                C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 VATICAN 005288 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/WE (MENNUTI) 
 
FROM EMBASSY VATICAN MESSAGE NO. 170/01 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/9/11 
TAGS: PREL, AM, KZ, TU, RO, UP, BO, BU, VT 
SUBJECT:  POPE'S VISIT TO ARMENIA AND KAZAKHSTAN: VATICAN'S 
GEOPOLITICAL/RELIGIOUS MANEUVERING 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR R. JAMES NICHOLSON FOR REASONS 1.5 
(A) AND (D). 
 
1.(C) SUMMARY:  VATICAN OFFICIALS AND OBSERVERS DESCRIBE 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
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POPE JOHN PAUL II'S SEPTEMBER 22-27 TRIP TO KAZAKHSTAN AND 
ARMENIA AS SUCCESSFUL. THE VATICAN HAD THREE OBJECTIVES FOR 
THIS TRIP: 1) CONTINUE THE PRESSURE ON THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX 
CHURCH TO ALLOW A VISIT TO MOSCOW; 2) BOLSTER THE "MODERATE 
ISLAMIC" GOVERNMENT IN KAZAKHSTAN AND HOLD IT UP AS AN 
EXAMPLE; 3) INCREMENTALLY MOVE FORWARD THE DIALOG BETWEEN 
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE ARMENIAN APOSTOLIC CHURCH 
WHICH THE POPE HOPES WILL LEAD TO REUNIFICATION.  END 
SUMMARY 
 
2.(C) EMBASSY OFFICERS MET WITH SEVERAL VATICAN OFFICIALS 
AND OTHER DIPLOMATIC OBSERVERS IN WAKE OF POPE JOHN PAUL 
II'S VISIT TO KAZAKHSTAN AND ARMENIA SEPTEMBER 22-27. 
VATICAN DIRECTOR FOR RUSSIA AND THE FORMER STATES OF THE 
SOVIET UNION, ARCHBISHOP TRICARICO TOLD DCM THAT THE VISIT 
WAS AN IMPORTANT STEP IN FURTHER ISOLATING RUSSIAN ORTHODOX 
PATRIARCH ALEXI AND MAINTAINING PRESSURE TO PERMIT A VISIT 
TO MOSCOW IN THE RELATIVELY NEAR FUTURE.  TRICARICO SAID 
THAT WITH THE VISIT TO KAZAKHSTAN, THE ANNOUNCED 2002 VISIT 
TO BULGARIA, AND PROBABLE VISIT TO BELARUS, THE POPE WILL 
HAVE "SURROUNDED" ALEXI.  MORE IMPORTANTLY, THE POPE WILL 
HAVE SHOWN ALEXI THAT RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CLAIMS OF 
TERRITORIAL-CANONICAL PREROGATIVES ARE MEANINGLESS IN THE 
MODERN WORLD.  IRONICALLY, ON OCTOBER 2, RUSSIAN EMBASSY TO 
THE VATICAN DCM, DMITRI SHTODIN SECONDED THIS VIEW TO DCM. 
SHTODIN SAID THAT HIS GOVERNMENT WAS PUTTING "PRESSURE" ON 
ALEXI TO INVITE THE POPE TO MOSCOW.  HE NOTED THE RELATIVELY 
MODERATE STATEMENTS OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX'S CHURCH 
"MINISTER FOR FOREIGN RELATIONS" KYRIL CONCERNING THE POPE 
VISIT TO KAZAKHSTAN AS AN INDICATION THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS 
HAVING AN INFLUENCE.  (NOTE: THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH DID 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        VATICA  05288  01 OF 03  111456Z 
NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT THE POPE'S VISIT TO ARMENIA AS THE 
ARMENIAN APOSTOLIC CHURCH IS NOT IN COMMUNION WITH THE 
ORTHODOX CHURCH AND MOSCOW HAS NEVER CONSIDERED ARMENIA AS 
BEING IN ITS CANONICAL TERRITORY). TRICARICO SAID THE POPE 
DID NOT RAISE NAGORO/KARABACH WHILE IN YERAVAN.  HOWEVER, 
WHEN DCM POSED THE SAME QUESTION TO RUSSIAN DCM SHTODIN THE 
REPLY WAS THAT HE HAD SEEN A REPORTING CABLE WHICH STATED 
THE ISSUE WAS DISCUSSED WITH THE ARMENIAN PRESIDENT. 
 
3.(C) VATICAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER MIGLIORE (SEPTEL), 
TOLD POLOFF AND DCM THAT THE VATICAN IS CONVINCED THAT THE 
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ARE FEELING THE PRESSURE, AND THAT A TRIP 
TO MOSCOW IS NO LONGER AN UNREACHABLE GOAL.  DCM ALSO MET 
WITH FATHER GIOVANNI MATERA, THE RECTOR OF THE BASILICA OF 
SAINT NICOLAS IN BARI, ON OCTOBER 8.  ALTHOUGH A ROMAN 
CATHOLIC CHURCH, BARI AND THE CHURCH ARE THE CENTER OF 
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH'S OFFICIAL REPRESENTATION TO ITALY 
(HAVING REJECTED ROME BECAUSE OF THE POPE'S PRESENCE). 
FATHER GIOVANNI SAID THAT THERE WILL BE A CATHOLIC/ORTHODOX 
MEETING HOSTED BY THE BASILICA ON NOVEMBER 25 WHICH 
METROPOLITAN KYRIL IS EXPECTED TO ATTEND; THE QUESTION OF 
THE POPE'S VISIT TO MOSCOW IS ON THE AGENDA. 
 
4.(C) COMMENT: IN ADDITION TO FURTHER ISOLATING PATRIARCH 
ALEXI, THE VISIT TO KAZAKHSTAN WAS DESIGNED TO EXTOL 
RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE IN A PROMINENTLY MUSLIM COUNTRY. 
KAZAKHSTAN IS THE FIRST MUSLIM COUNTRY WHICH HAS CONCLUDED A 
CONCORDAT (EG. A TREATY REGULATING RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF 
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH) WITH THE VATICAN.  THE VISIT TO 
KAZAKHSTAN IS PART OF THE VATICAN'S AGENDA FOR THE POPE TO 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        VATICA  05288  01 OF 03  111456Z 
VISIT MODERATE ISLAMIC COUNTRIES TO BOLSTER THEIR POPULARITY 
IN THE FACE OF ISLAMIC EXTREMISM. 
 
5.(C) COMMENT CONT'D: THE MAIN THRUST OF THE VISIT TO 
ARMENIA WAS TO FURTHER THE PROCESS OF DIALOG BETWEEN THE 
ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE APOSTOLIC CATHOLIC CHURCH.  A 
SIDE BENEFIT WAS THE FACT THAT ARMENIA, BEING ANOTHER FORMER 
SOVIET REPUBLIC, WAS AN ADDITIONAL BLATANT REMINDER OF THE 
MOSCOW PATRIARCH'S OBSTINACY.  THEOLOGICALLY, THE ROMAN 
CHURCH AND THE ARMENIAN CHURCH HAVE MADE GREAT STRIDES IN 
ELIMINATING THEIR DIFFERENCES.  THE REMAINING PROBLEMS 
INCLUDE THE ROLE OF THE POPE, AS WELL AS THE ARMENIAN 
CHURCH'S COMMUNION WITH THE COPTIC CHURCH WHICH WANTS TO GO 
MUCH MORE SLOWLY ON ANY DISCUSSIONS ON REUNIFICATION WITH 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
> 
 

 2001VATICA05288 - Classification: CONFIDENTIAL 


            
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