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Catholic, Russian Orthodox leaders to meet on 2-year anniversary of historic Francis-Kirill embrace

Osservatore Romano | AFP

Metropolitan Hilarion and Cardinal Koch continue the dialogue between the two Churches

From February 10 to 12, officials from the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church will meet in Vienna, marking the two-year anniversary of the historic embrace of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill in Cuba.

© Servizio Fotografico OR/CPP/CIRIC

Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Department for External Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, will meet with Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

When Kirill and Francis met, they made a call to the international community to prevent “the eviction of Christians from the Middle East.”

It was some 60 years after the major, new ecumenical push under Pope John XXIII, highlighted by meetings between the Orthodox ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople and almost every Bishop of Rome since Paul VI, that the leader of what is often referred to as the “Third Rome,” Moscow, met the leader of the First Rome in the most unexpected of places.

But Francis had made it clear that he would go anywhere to meet with the patriarch of Moscow when he told a reporter that all Kirill would need to do is call, and he would go.

As it turned out, Kirill was beginning a pastoral visit of Orthodox communities in Cuba and other Latin American countries as Pope Francis was traveling to make his first papal visit to Mexico.

The two released a joint declaration. See 10 Key Points from it here.

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