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Staff from Russian church expected at world council

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The Rev. Konrad Raiser, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, expects the Russian Orthodox Church to take part in the organization's 50th anniversary assembly in December. But delegates are expected to be lower-ranking staff from the ecumenical department.

Raiser, speaking at a media luncheon, said no members of the Russian hierarchy are likely to attend the meeting in Harare, Zimbabwe. That anyone is coming is a gain for the council, since Russian comments last year led to speculation that the huge church might quit the council.The Orthodox churches are upset with liberal trends on homosexuality and other matters among some in the council's Protestant majority. The Orthodox Church in the Republic of Georgia has quit the council, and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church has announced plans to withdraw.