Almost one thousand years since the Great Schism of Christianity occurred in 1054, Cuba became the location on January 12 last for an unprecedented embrace between the Roman Catholic Church’s highest authority, Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The primates of both religious institutions held their first ever private meeting, signed a 30 point joint declaration relating to current political and religious issues and jointly called on the international community to end violence and terrorism.

The highly important meeting, at which the religious leaders appealed as brothers for Christian unity to bring about peace, was held at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport.

Almost one thousand years since the Great Schism of Christianity occurred in 1054, Cuba became the location on January 12 last for an unprecedented embrace between the Roman Catholic Church’s highest authority, Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church.Kirill, who was on an official visit to Cuba and Francis, who made a stop-over en route to Mexico, also referred to other global problems such as the refugee crisis and the unequal distribution of wealth.

They stated that, “we cannot remain indifferent to the plight of the millions of refugees knocking on the doors of rich countries.

“Unfetterd consumerism, typical of the most developed states, is rapidly exhausting the planets resources”.

After signing the document, The Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, told the press that the meeting would be of benefit to the future of both Christianity and human civilization and he confirmed that both bodied could work together going forward.

The Bishop of Rome let it be known that a number of viable iniciatives that could bear fruit were being considered.

For Fidel Castro, historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, the singular significance of the meeting in Havana between Pope Francis and His Holiness Kirill is the hope that it has evoked for the world’s people.

Shortly after the Russian primate had ended his official visit on February 14, he said that, “There is no doubt that the fundamental objective of Pope Francis, Pontiff of the Catholic Church and his Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, is to prevent the unleashing of brutal wars”.

According to Fidel, the struggle for peace is the most sacred duty for all humanity, regardless of religion, country of origin, color, age or youth.

Kirill had referred to this responsibility during a divine liturgy celebrated at the Our Lady of Kazan Cathedral in Havana, saying that despite theological differences between East and West, “we understand our joint responsibility for what happens in the world”.

He added that, “we are responsible for peace on earth; so that human beings with vast political and economic differences learn to live in harmony and that no foreign policy conflict leads to the use of force with which to beat others”.

Both leaders thanked Cuban President, Raul Castro --present for the signing of the joint declaration -- and the Cuban people for hosting their meeting and wished prosperity and well-being for the Caribbean nation.

Kirill stated that Cuba is a heroic country nd the events at Jose Marti International Airport represented an extraordinary detail for the island of liberty.

The Pope, for his part, thanked the Head of State for his generosity and hospitality and considered that, if things continue as they are, Cuba would become a capital of unity.

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