After 1,000-Year Split, Pope and Russian Patriarch Hold Historic Meeting in Cuba

Pope Francis arrived in Cuba on Friday, February 12, 2016 for a historic meeting with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church following a split between the Eastern and Western Christianity of near 1,000 years.

Pope Francis and Russian Patriarch Kirill embraced and kissed each other on both cheeks after meeting inside of the terminal.

“Finally,” Francis said as he and Kirill entered through doors on opposite sides of a room at Havana airport to begin private talks. “We are brothers.”

Pope Francis, the leader of the world’s Catholics, is interested in trying to repair the long rupture after the Eastern Orthodoxy split back in 1054.

Raul Castro, the Cuban President, stood off to the side during this historic meeting.

Observers of the meeting agree that it will have implications reaching above and beyond just the Middle East.

The Vatican’s Nuncio to both Russia and Uzbekistan, Ivan Jurkovic, believes that this historic meeting will have significant symbolic consequences. He went on to say the meeting was a good start and a symbol of a new beginning for both of the churches.


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