5 Feb 2016

Historic! First meeting scheduled between Pope Francis and Patriach Kirill of Moscow

(Vatican Radio) It was announced on Friday that Pope Francis will hold a meeting with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia in Cuba on February 12th. It marks the first ever such meeting between a Roman Pontiff and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.
(NCR) After years of speculation, for the first time in history the Successor of Peter and the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church will meet on February 12, the Vatican announced today. 

The meeting will take place in Cuba where Patriarch Kirill will be making an official visit. Pope Francis will make a brief stop in Havana on his way to Mexico. 
The Vatican said the historic meeting "will mark an important stage in relations between the two Churches." 
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the meeting, expected to last two hours in total, will consist of spontaneous speeches from the Pope and the Patriarch who will also issue a joint declaration.  He added that the meeting, which was always to take place on neutral ground, is the fruit of two years of talks.
  • Rocco adds his analysis and commentary here.
  • Fr Kirill Gorbunov on meeting between Pope and Patriarch - Father Kirill Gorbunov, Press Secretary for the Catholic Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow, said on Friday that he believes the upcoming meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, will help take relations “to a new level” between the two Churches. He spoke to Susy Hodges shortly after the announcement that this historic meeting between the two spiritual leaders will take place in Cuba on February 12th.

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