The meeting is to be held on February 12 and have great importance for relations between the Catholic Church and Russian Orthodox Church. According to announcements, the patriarch and the pope will discuss "persecution of Christians in the modern world." They will also sign a joint declaration.
Patriarch Kiril will be on his Latin American tour starting February 11, during which he will visit Cuba, Paraguay, Chile and Brazil. Pope Francis will arrive in Cuba on his way to Mexico.
There were hints in 2014 that "steps will be made towards healing the wounds of the Great Schism of 1054" when Pope Francis told Patriarch Kirill, "I will go anywhere you wish, just call and I will come."
The Russian Orthodox Church has said that the meeting will be held out of the need "for a common response to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East."
The two churches issued a joint statement saying the encounter will mark an important stage in their relations, and called on all Christians "to pray to God to bless this meeting because it could produce much good."