The meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia at Havana airport has begun. It is a historic meeting that has been twenty years in the making and is an important step in ecumenical dialogue after a period of separation that lasted almost one thousand years
Pope Francis meets Patriarch Kirill at Havana airport.
“Hermano, hermano, brother, brother, somos hermanos (we are brothers Ed.) ,” Francis said to Kirill, “finally!” The Pope and the Patriarch sat in two big white upholstered armchairs, the scene dominated by a wooden crucifix. “Now things are easier,” Kirill said. “It is clearer now that this is God’s will,” the Pope said.
This is how their conversation began. The two religious leaders held their private meeting in the presence of their interpreters, Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and Metropolitan Hilarion, the Patriarchate of Moscow’s “foreign minister”.
At the end of the meeting, the Pope and the Patriarch are expected to make their way to another room where they will be met by Cuba’s President Raúl Castro. Here, they will sign a lengthy and clearly worded joint declaration. Francis and Kirill are to follow this up with two brief speeches before taking their leave from one another. After this, Francis will set off on a three hour flight bound for Mexico.