Raúl Castro Ruz, president of Cuba’s Councils of Ministers and State, this afternoon received at José Martí International Airport His Holiness Kirill, who is making his first pastoral visit to the island as Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Also present for the welcome were Esteban Lazo Hernández, member of the Political Bureau and president of the National Assembly of People’s Power; Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla; other Cuban officials; Orthodox Church authorities; and members of the diplomatic corps in Cuba.
As part of his visit, the Russian Patriarch will meet tomorrow with Pope Francis in José Martí International Airport, during a stop over on the pontiff’s trip to Mexico.
The two religious leaders will converse, and sign a joint declaration, according to a communiqué from the Moscow Patriarchate and the Vatican.
Both parties agree that the encounter marks the beginning of a new stage of relations between the two churches.
This is the first time in almost 1,000 years that such a meeting has occurred, since the 1054 rupture between Christianity in the East and West.
Patriarch Kirill’s three-day visit in Cuba is part of a Latin American tour which will continue through February 22.