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Russian Orthodox Church Head Cancels Meeting With Vatican Envoy --> Alexii II reportedly cancelled the meeting for "technical reasons" (epa) 29 November 2005 -- The Russian Orthodox Church today said that Patriarch Aleksii II has cancelled a planned meeting in Moscow today with a Vatican envoy.

Church spokesman Father Vsevolod Chaplin told AP that the talks were called off for "technical reasons." He gave no details.

Aleksii was due to meet today with Cardinal Renato Martino, who heads the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Martino will meet instead Metropolitan Kirill, who runs the Russian Church's Foreign Relations Department.

The Vatican recently acknowledged that an upgrade in ties with the Russian Orthodox Church anytime soon is impossible.

Relations are strained in part because the Orthodox Church claims the Catholics are trying to win converts from among its flock.