03:50 GMT06 June 2020
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    Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis come together for a historic meeting in the Cuban capital, the first time that the leaders of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches have met in nearly 1,000 years.

    During the conclusion of the meeting, both religious leaders signed a declaration. Kirill said that the two churches can now actively cooperate to defend Christians across the world.
    Cuban President Raul Castro was also present during the declaration signing ceremony.
    At the start of the meeting, Pope Francis told Kirill that "we are brothers. That is God's will."
    "I can't shake the feeling that we're meeting at the right time, at the right place," Kirill said. "I want to emphasize again, that this is happening by the will of God."
    Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis Meet in Havana
    © Sputnik / Sergey Pyatakov
    Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis Meet in Havana
    Both parties have expressed hope that this meeting will help mend the millennium-old schism between the two major Christian churches. The Russian Orthodox Church broke away 1054 over theological disagreements, and the two officially separated in 1438.

    "I have big hopes for my upcoming meeting with Pope Francis," Kirill said earlier on Friday.

    The two leaders are also expected to address the fate of Christians in the Middle East. The Russian Orthodox Church also expressed hope that both Kirill's and Francis' concerns over the persecution of Christians will be heard by world leaders.

    Related:

    Russian Patriarch Kirill Says Has Big Hopes for Meeting With Pope Francis
    A Lot of Faith
    Face to Face: Pope and Patriarch About to Make History in Havana
    Tags:
    Russian Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, Patriarch Kirill, Vatican City, Havana, Russia, Cuba
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