Pope and Russian Orthodox patriarch will meet

Francis is due to travel to Mexico on February 12-18

Baku. 5 February. REPORT.AZ/ Pope Francis and the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church will meet in Cuba next week in a historic step to heal the 1,000-year-old schism that divided Christianity between East and West, Report informs both churches announced Friday.

The meeting between Francis and Patriarch Kirill will be the first ever between the leaders of the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches.

Francis is due to travel to Mexico on February 12-18. He will stop in Cuba on the way and meet with Kirill on February 12 at the Havana airport, where they will sign a joint declaration.

The two churches split during the Great Schism of 1054 and have remained estranged over a host of issues, including the primacy of the pope and Russian Orthodox accusations that the Catholic Church is poaching converts in Russia.

Those tensions have prevented previous popes from ever meeting with the Russian patriarch, even though the Vatican has long insisted that it was ministering to the tiny Catholic community in largely Orthodox lands.

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