Pope Francis, on the right, leader of the Roman Catholic Church, meets the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill in Havana.

Pope Francis and Orthodox Patriarch Kirill embraced and kissed on Friday in an exceedingly historic meeting, uniting to issue a world attractiveness for the protection of Christians below assault within the middle east.

Nearly 1,000 years once the eastern and Western branches of Christianity split apart, the meeting at an airport in Cuba was the first ever between a Roman Pope and a Russian Orthodox patriarch.

“In several countries of the middle East and North Africa whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being fully annihilated,” they aforesaid in an exceedingly joint declaration in apparent regard to violence by militant organizations like islamic State. “Their churches are being barbarously ravaged and plundered, their sacred objects violated, their monuments destroyed.”

Cuban President Raul Castro stood to the facet throughout the ceremony, enjoying another moment within the international limelight when receiving Francis last year and restoring diplomatic relations with the us recently, meeting President Barack Obama in Panama in april.

The two spiritual leaders, guests of a Communist government, came along only a week when the encounter was proclaimed. Such a meeting had eluded their precursor, however Francis had issued a standing invite to satisfy anytime, anywhere. The moment came whereas Patriarch Kirill was visiting the Cuba island and Francis added a short stop on his way from Rome to a long-scheduled visit to Mexico.

“Finally,” Francis aforesaid as he and Patriarch Kirill entered through doors on opposite sides of large room at Havana airport to start personal talks.

“We are brothers.”

Francis, wearing white with a skullcap, and Patriarch Kirill, dressed in a tall, domed hat that draped a white stole over black robes, joined arms and kissed on each cheeks.

“It is incredibly clear that this is often the will of God,” Francis said.

“Yes, things are a lot more easier currently,” Patriarch Kirill said.

Both men spoke through interpreters. Their meeting carried political overtones, returning at a time of Russian disagreements with the West over syria and ukraine. The Russian Orthodox Church is closely aligned with the Kremlin, that is successively an ally of Cuba. The Argentine Roman Catholic Pope helped the reconciliation between the u.  s. and Cuba after quite 5 decades of estrangement.

The Pope, leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, is seeking to repair such a longer rupture. Eastern Orthodoxy split with Rome in 1054. Modern popes have met within the past with the Istanbul-based ecumenical patriarchs, the religious leaders of eastern Orthodoxy.

Those patriarchs play mostly symbolic role, whereas the rich Russian church wields real influence as a result of it counts some one hundred sixty five million of the world’s 250 million Orthodox Christians.

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