Pope, Russian Orthodox leader announce historic meeting

Vatican City, Feb 5 (IANS/AKI) The first-ever meeting between the heads of the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church will be held in Cuba next week, the Vatican announced on Friday.

Russian Orthodox Church’s Patriarch Kirill was already expected to visit the Caribbean island and Pope Francis will stop there for the meeting on Friday on his way to an official visit to Mexico, said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi.

“This meeting of the Primates of the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church… will be the first in history and will mark an important stage in relations between the two Churches,” said a joint statement of the Holy See and the Patriarchate of Moscow, urging Christians “to pray fervently for God to bless this meeting, that it may bear good fruits”.

The Eastern and Western Churches split in the Great Schism of 1054, primarily over the issue of papal authority.

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