Pope Francis on the eve of the first ever meeting of the heads of the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches praised the forthcoming event. He called a meeting with the Primate of the ROC Patriarch Kirill “desirable”, and his visit to Cuba was regarded as “very responsible,” reads the communiqué on the website of the Holy see. Pope Francis also found the trip emotional event and stated that it would be true to his calling – “to carry the word of the Lord”.
The meeting will be held around 10 PM Moscow time. It will be broadcast live on Vatican television. Patriarch Kirill at the meeting with Pope Francis will be dressed in its usual clothing, which is used outside of worship, reported the press Secretary of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, priest Alexander Volkov. “It’s a white cowl and black robes,” said he.
Before the parties agreed on a joint Declaration which will be signed during the historic meeting in Havana. The contents of the document have not yet been reported. Was named only General subject – the persecution of Christians in the middle East and in other regions. In addition, as expected, the primates discussed topical issues of bilateral relations and international policy.
According to observers, this event in Christian history has been since 1054, that is, more than a thousand years since the Church schism. The meeting was organized taking into account the convergence of the Patriarch and the Pope, who on the way to Mexico will make a stop in the capital of Cuba.
Before meeting with the Pope the Patriarch of the dense program: it will pay tribute to Cuba’s national hero, revolutionary and thinker Jose Marti, and meet with Archbishop of Havana cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega-and-Alumina.
Earlier at the Palace of Revolution in Havana in the closed mode has passed meeting of Patriarch Kirill and the Chairman of the state Council of Cuba Raul Castro. This is the fourth meeting between the head of the ROC with the Chairman of the state Council of Cuba, but first in my capacity as the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, reports TASS. The conversation ended with presentation of gifts – Patriarch Kirill presented Raul Castro with his book “Freedom and responsibility” in the Spanish translation and desktop icon of the Intercession of the Mother of God. In response, the distinguished guest was presented with a bas-relief depicting St. George.
According to media reports, the meeting of the two main spiritual leaders of Western civilization may play into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who met twice with Pope Francis.