East will join West on February 12, 2016, in a historic meeting between the heads of the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches.
Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis will hold talks in Cuba in what could be a significant step towards healing a millenium-long rift between Christianity’s eastern and western branches.
The Russian Orthodoxy numbers around a 165 million of 250 million Orthodox Christians internationally.
Cuban President Raul Castro brokered the meeting, which will include several hours of private talks at Havana airport, speeches and the signing of a joint statement, Pope Francis announced.
Vatican spokesperson, Father Federico Lombardi hailed the forthcoming reunion.
“This meeting of the Primates of the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, after a long preparation, will be the first in history and will mark an important stage in relations between the two Churches. The Holy See and the Moscow Patriarchate hope that it will also be a sign of hope for all people of good will,” he said.