23 January 2017, 10:09
Former apostolic nuncio to Russia who made a breakthrough in Orthodox-Catholic dialogue transferred to Vatican
London, January 23, Interfax - Papal nuncio to Great Britain, who had been nuncio to Russia, Archbishop Antonio Mennini is to be transferred to Rome to serve in the Secretariat of State, the department responsible for foreign relations.
British cardinal Vincent Nichols was quoted by the Catholic Herald website as saying that he highly praised Mennini and pointed out to his "unique experience and knowledge."
The State Secretariat where the nuncio will work is in fact Vatican's government. It has not been reported yet what post Mennini will occupy.
Period of the archbishop's work in Moscow was marked by significant improvement of relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, which according to the Moscow Patriarchate hierarchs', had been almost broken up in early 2000s. One of the main problems was Catholics' active missionary work in Russia and the Russian Church had long time reproached Vatican for it.
From his first days as apostolic nuncio to Moscow Mennini stressed it was important for Catholics to respect Orthodox church tradition.
Mennini more than once backed up the Russian Church in its socially important initiatives. Thus, the Archbishop welcomed the ideas of introducing institute of chaplains in the Russian Army and "Foundations of Orthodox Culture" in schools. He also opposed the reproaches of the Moscow Patriarchate in "clericization" of society.
Archbishop Mennini was born on September 2, 1947, in Rome. On December 14, 1974, he was ordained priest, and in April 1981 he entered upon the Holy See's diplomatic service.
He served in the Vatican's embassies in Uganda and Turkey and later in the Vatican's state secretariat. On July 1, 2000, the Pope of Rome appointed him his representative in Bulgaria and in September of the same year he was elevated to the rank of archbishop.