Historic encounter with Pope and Patriarch of Moscow: We are not competitors but brothers

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As is customary in Russian tradition, Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis greeting each other with three kisses on the cheek. It is an embrace that has taken nearly a thousand years to occur.  

'I am delighted to see you.'

'Thanks brother.'  

Once seated, the Patriarch initiated the conversation with the help of translators.

'How was your flight your Holiness?'

'Very good, thank God, very good.'  

They spent a few minutes chatting in front of journalists and the cameras were able to capture his first words.

'Nevertheless, we have the opportunity to talk heart to heart.'

'That's what I want to do. We are brothers, we have the same baptism, we are bishops'

They signed this historic joint statement, two hours after their closed-door meeting. Once again, with this embrace, both churches are much closer today than they were yesterday.  

'The result of the conversation allows me to ensure that currently the two Churches can cooperate together to defend Christians around the world, with full responsibility, work together so that there is no war, that human life is respected worldwide.'  

'We speak clearly without mumbling and I confess that I felt the consolation of the Spirit in this dialogue.'  

The Pope thanked everyone involved in making this meeting with the Patriarch a possibility. Among them, their hosts, the people of Cuba and Raul Castro.  

'I appreciate your active availability, if it continues, Cuba will be the capital of unity.'

 In their joint statement, the two leaders demand the protection for persecuted Christians, especially in Syria and Iraq; They highlight the importance of the family based on marriage; Call to Protect the life of the unborn and even made an appeal for peace in the Ukraine. In addition, they stress that Catholics and Orthodox are not 'competitors but brothers.' And with just one signature by Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, they seal the end of a feud that lasted almost a thousand years ago. 

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