Pope Francis, Russian Patriach Call for Christian Unity in Historic Meeting

World | February 13, 2016, Saturday // 13:49
Bulgaria: Pope Francis, Russian Patriach Call for Christian Unity in Historic Meeting Pope Francis (L) hugs Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (R) at the Jose Marti Airport in Havana, Cuba, 12 February 2016. Photo: EPA

Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriach Kirill called for restoring Christian unity and preserving the traditions of Christianity in a historic meeting held in Cuba on Friday.

This was the first meeting between a pope and the head of the Russian church since the Great Schism of 1054, which resulted in the split of the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches.

In a joint declaration, they called on the world to protect Christians from persecution in the Middle East.

At the start of their meeting, the two religious leaders embraced and exchanged kisses.

At a news conference after the meeting, they described the talks as “open”, “brotherly” and “sincere”.

In a declaration, they urged the international community to end violence and terrorism, restore civil peace and provide humanitarian aid to refugees.

The religious leaders hope that their meeting will inspire Christians to pray for full unity of the churches.

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Tags: Pope Francis, Patriarch Kirill, Russia, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, schism, Cuba, church, Christianity, Middle East, violence, terrorism, refugees, peace, humanitarian aid
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