Today, Friday February 12, 2016, for the first time in a thousand years the head of the Catholic church Pope Francis meets Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church in Cuba. Before this meeting the heads of the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches embraced and kissed each other on the cheeks three times. The meeting took place in the VIP room at Havana Jose Marti International Airport. They were scheduled to talk for two hours and sign a joint declaration afterwards.
It was the first meeting ever between the heads of two of the largest branches of the Christian faith.
The meeting took years to plan. Among other topics, they planned to discuss the treatment of Christians in the Middle East, Northern and Central Africa and other regions where terrorist organizations operate.
The Patriarch came to Cuba on Thursday with a formal visit and he also met with Cuban President Raul Castro on Friday. Castro also greeted Pope Francis. Cuba was chosen as a place of meeting of these two heads of churches as a neutral place for both, who often visit countries in Latin America.
After the meeting with Patriarch Kirill, Pope Francis left Cuba for Mexico. His visit in Mexico will last a week, February 12 to February 18, 2016.