Pope Benedict XVI to Meet With Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

The Vatican says Pope Benedict XVI will hold talks next week with visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

The planned meeting on Dec. 3 follows improvements in relations between Russian Orthodox Church and the Vatican.

Medvedev will also hold talks with Premier Silvio Berlusconi during his one-day visit to Rome.

Decades of tensions between Catholic and Orthodox faithful prevented the late John Paul II from making a papal pilgrimage to Russia.

Vatican officials say the improved Orthodox-Catholic relations mean a papal trip to Moscow is now closer, but that no such trip is yet on Benedict's schedule.