Talks intended to resolve a widening dispute between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches have been postponed for a year, the Vatican and the Ecumenical Patriarch announced Saturday.
Officials of the two churches were to have met June 17-26 in Lebanon to discuss Orthodox allegations that the Vatican has tried to broaden its influence in post-communist Eastern Europe by winning converts from the Orthodox.The Vatican said the postponement did not signal any new break between the churches.
Eight of the 14 Orthodox churches already had announced they would not attend the June talks because of fighting in former Soviet and Yugoslav republics and conflicts with the government in Bulgaria and elsewhere.
The two churches announced the talks would be rescheduled for no later than June 1993.
The churches also are feuding over church property confiscated by some Eastern European governments.
Vatican officials denied proselytizing in Eastern Europe. They said the Roman Catholic Church needs to rebuild after decades of government repression and that many Orthodox had asked to be baptized as Catholics.