13 Feb 2016

Pope and Patriarch call for an end to terrorism and persecution of Christians - UPDATED

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis and the Russian Orthodox leader Patriarch Kirill on Friday concluded a historic encounter in the Cuban capital with an urgent appeal for an end to conflict and the persecution of Christians across the Middle East.

The appeal came in a Joint Declaration which the two leaders signed at the end of a two hour private conversation at Havana airport, signaling the start of a new era of relations between Catholics and the Russian Orthodox Church.

Listen to Philippa Hitchen's report for Vatican Radio HERE.

(Vatican Radio) On board the papal plane following the meeting with Patriarch Kirill, Pope Francis told journalists that “it was a conversation between brothers.”

Speaking en route to Mexico the Pope said that he and the Patriarch spoke about their respective Churches, the situation in the world, wars, orthodoxy and also the next pan-orthodox Synod. He added that he really felt, “an inner joy that came from the Lord”.

The Pope reaffirmed the freedom that was felt during the meeting which included the presence of Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Metropolitan Hilarion and two interpreters.

Pope Francis also said that “possible activities in common” has been talked about, adding that “unity is a walk together.”

Commenting on the joint declaration signed after the encounter, the Holy Father stressed “it was a pastoral and not a sociological declaration.” The Pope said it was “pastoral" in the sense that it was “two bishops meeting about pastoral concerns.”.

Pope Francis: The Return of Ostpolitik
The Pope and the Patriarch: Something More Than Politics
Francis and Kirill: Who Played Whom? – Adam A.J. DeVille, The Catholic World Report
The Vatican Did Everything to Accommodate Patriarch Kirill, Received Little – Fr. Mark DrewHis Beatitude Sviatoslav Unhappy in Joint Declaration; Vatican Is “Weaker Team” – C.E. OlsonPope Francis: The Return of Ostpolitik – Andrea Gagliarducci, Monday Vatican
The Pope, the Patriarch, and the Pan-Orthodox Council – Edward Pentin, N.C. Register

Five Insights About Today’s Pope Francis-Patriarch Kirill Meeting – Victor Gaetan, RegisterCorrecting N.P.R. on the Differences Between Catholics and Eastern Orthodox – Trent HornEastern Orthodox Cacophony in America – Peter Berger, The American InterestThe Byzantine Rite, Jesus, Zacchaeus & Mercy – Kevin Bezner, The Christian Review
Seven Thoughts on the "Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill" - Catholic World Report

The Havana Declaration - First Things

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