Pope Francis has underlined the importance of “building bridges” with Russia ahead of his meeting with Moscow’s Patriarch Kirill on Friday, according to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
Speaking from his residence Casa Santa Marta, in Vatican City, the pontiff said he was “extremely happy” with the historic meeting, which could be the start of a rapprochement between the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches after the 1054 Schism.
The two churches split in 1054 — in what is often called the “Great Schism” — following protracted disputes over Rome’s supremacy over the whole Christian community, which compounded more strict theological disagreements.
The meeting will take place in Cuba, at Havana’s airport, where Francis and Kirill will talk and eventually sign a joint statement.
Besides its religious meaning, Francis emphasized the summit’s geopolitical significance, explaining that it was a chance to “build bridges” with Russia itself.
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