First meeting of heads of Russian Orthodox and Catholic churches in history of mankind held in Cuba

First meeting of heads of Russian Orthodox and Catholic churches in history of mankind held in Cuba

Yesterday, the first meeting in history between the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Pope took place at the international airport of Havana. The talks, which lasted over two hours, resulted in the signing of a joint declaration and raised hopes for the formation of a new phase in relations between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches. The ten-page declaration, consisting of 30 items, touched upon a variety of topics – the problem of the union conflict in Ukraine, the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, same-sex marriages, abortions and euthanasia.

The patriarch and the pope's meeting was attended by about 200 journalists, including about a hundred representatives of media from Catholic and from patriarchal sides, for the most part, it was closed for the press.

According to the chairman of the Department for External Church Relations (DECR) of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Hilarion, who was present during the talks, the conversation took place in a very brotherly and friendly atmosphere, and the fact that it was held is a significant step.

Following the meeting, Patriarch Kirill stated that the results of the conversation indicate that the two churches can work together to protect Christians. "We spent two hours in open brotherly discussions with a full understanding of the responsibility for our churches, for our believing people, for the future of Christianity and human civilization," he said.

For his part, Pope Francis noted that he and the Patriarch spoke to each other "like brothers, because we are bishops, we have the same faith and seek the same way." "We spoked very frankly. I assure you that I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in this dialogue," he stated, noting that the meeting discussed a number of initiatives that can be implemented.

The main result of the meeting was the signing of declaration. In particular, it says that Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill and Pope Francis mourn the loss of the unity of the churches. "We mourn the loss of unity, which was a consequence of human weakness and sinfulness, which occurred despite the High Priestly prayer of Christ the Savior."

In addition, the sides paid attention to the problem of intensified persecutions of Christians in the world. "Our gaze is primarily directed at those regions of the world where Christians are being persecuted. In many Middle Eastern and North African countries, our brothers and sisters in Christ are exterminated in entire cities ... We are witnessing with great pain a mass exodus of Christians from the land where our faith began to spread," RIA Novosti cites the text of the document.