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Russia's Olympic Committee strives for priest's access to sportsmen during summer Games in Beijing

Moscow, April 17, Interfax — The Olympic Committee of Russia promises that Russian sportsmen won't be left without spiritual care during summer Olympic Games in Beijing.

Head of the Committee's administration on participation in the Olympic Games Igor Kazikov in his interview published by the Izvestia daily on Thursday said that though priests were not to have official accreditation, the Committee's leaders would "spare no effort to give them access to the Olympic village."

According to Kazikov, Russia's Olympic Committee understands "the importance of inward peace for every participant." He said that the Olympic Committee considered a possibility of including priests in the Russian delegation and even conducted preliminary talks with the Russian Orthodox Church.

Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad said on November 2007 that the Russian Orthodox Church had started the dialogue with China's state administration of religious affairs to discuss the coming Olympic Games.

The Olympic organizational committee in Beijing gives sportsmen of various confessions a possibility to visit temporary Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant churches and a mosque.