The leaders of the two churches are due to meet for the first time next Friday in Cuba. On Monday, Kremlin spokesman D S Peskov told reporters:
Russia welcomes the historic meeting between Pope Francisco and Patriarch Kirill. You know, it’s a mutual step forward and, of course, like everyone else, we expect that this meeting will be successful, and we very much appreciate the willingness of the two religious leaders to hold such a meeting.
Most expect Pope Francisco and Patriarch Kirill to discuss the persecution of Christians, amongst other matters, and sign a joint declaration.
8 February 2016
On Sunday, Pope Francisco Bergoglio called on Christians gathered in St Peter’s Square in Vatican City to pray for his historic meeting with Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. The leaders of the two churches are due to meet for the first time next Friday in Cuba. He said:
I ask you to support with a prayer my trip to Mexico, which begins in a few days, and my meeting in Havana with dear brother Kirill.
7 February 2016
On 12 February, Pope Francisco Bergoglio will meet with Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, in Cuba, in what will be the first face-to-face engagement between the heads of the two churches. Pope Francisco and Patriarch Kirill will meet at the Havana airport; reportedly, the persecution of Christians in the Middle East is the primary issue on the agenda of the meeting. On Saturday, Metropolitan Ilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk, chairman of the MP Synodal Department for External Church Relations (OVTsS), said on the TV show Vesti v Subbotu (Vesti on Saturday) that a joint declaration following the meeting might contain a call for “people of good will“ to form a coalition to end terrorism:
There’s constant talk of creating various coalitions. They say, “Let’s create a coalition to fight terrorism; let’s create another coalition”. Coalitions are being created here and there, but to overcome this evil, there needs to be a coalition of all people of good will. Political games have to give way to reality; we must give up political interests when people face real suffering and death. We follow the same gospel, the same Christ and the same commandments. Despite differences in theology, we’re united in the essence of Christian faith, and we mustn’t forget this. We need to find common solutions to global problems.
6 February 2016