Friday, February 5, 2016

Pope Francis will Have an Historic Meeting with the Russian Orthodox Patriarch in Cuba

Friday, February 5, 2016 Vatican Information Service (VIS)

Francis to meet Patriarch Kirill of Moscow in Cuba

Vatican City, 5 February 2016 (VIS) – The Holy See and the Patriarchate of Moscow are pleased to announce that, by the grace of God, His Holiness Pope Francis and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia will meet on February 12 next. Their meeting will take place in Cuba, where the Pope will make a stop on his way to Mexico, and where the Patriarch will be on an official visit. It will include a personal conversation at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport, and will conclude with the signing of a joint declaration.

This meeting of the Primates of the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, after a long preparation, will be the first in history and will mark an important stage in relations between the two Churches. The Holy See and the Moscow Patriarchate hope that it will also be a sign of hope for all people of good will. They invite all Christians to pray fervently for God to bless this meeting, that it may bear good fruits.

Cf. Patriarch Kirill and Pope Benedict, Lifesite News

Patriarch Kirill's official statement upon Pope Benedict's Resignation

On 1 March 2013, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia sent a message to His Holiness Benedict XVI, Pontifex Emeritus The Russian Orthodox Church Website

Your Holiness,
On these days so special for you, I would like to express to you my feelings of fraternal love in Christ and respect.
Kirill did meet with Pope Benedict;
Metropolitan Kirill was not yet Patriarch.
The decision you declared with such simplicity and humbleness on February 11 has found a lively response in the hearts of many Catholics.
We have always held dear your consistent position characterized by uncompromising stand in the questions of faith and commitment to the living church tradition. In an age when the ideology of all-permissiveness and moral relativism tries to force moral values out of people’s life, you boldly raised your voice in the defense of the Gospel’s ideal, the lofty dignity of human beings and their calling to freedom from sin.
It is with warmth that I remember our meetings before your election to the chair of Rome. In the years of your pontificate, a good development was given to relations between our Churches who bear a great responsibility for common witness to Crucified and Risen Christ in the modern world. I sincerely hope that good and confidential relations established with your active participation will develop under your successor.
Kindly accept my heartfelt wishes of good health, many years of life and God’s help in your life devoted to prayer and in your theological work.
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace” (Rom. 15:13).
 With love in the Lord,
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