MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On February 12, Kirill met Francis at an airport in Havana, Cuba, where they signed a joint declaration. It was the first time that Catholic and Russian Orthodox spiritual leaders held face-to-face talks since Christianity split into western and eastern branches in 1054.
"The meeting opened a new page in the history of Christianity and I would even say in the history of international relations," Vladimir Legoyda said during a press conference at Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency.
During the meeting, Francis and Kirill called on the international community to prevent Christians from being persecuted in and expelled from the Middle East. The Pope and the Patriarch also addressed the issues of euthanasia, same-sex marriage and abortion.