A new meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia will take place in the foreseeable future. The pontiff announced this during a press conference on board the plane on his return from an apostolic trip to Greece and Cyprus, TASS reports.
According to the primate of the Roman Catholic Church, a meeting with Patriarch Kirill is “on the foreseeable horizon.” The pontiff said that Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, is due to visit him next week to coordinate the details of this event.
“I am always ready to go to Moscow. You don’t need protocols to talk to your brother,” the pontiff said.
The first meeting of the primates since the Great Church Schism in 1054, when the Catholic and Orthodox Churches were completely divided, took place in Havana on February 12, 2016.
This year, in Athens and Nicosia, Pope Francis communicated with the primates of the Cypriot Orthodox Church, Archbishop Chrysostomos II and the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Jerome II. Commenting on these meetings, the pontiff expressed the opinion that the dialogue should be continued without waiting for the consent of theologians. “Theologians should continue to study, because it helps to come to unity, but in the meantime we are moving forward, praying together, doing good deeds,” stressed the primate of the Roman Catholic Church. – We can work and pray together. Unity begins today with this”.
The visit of Pope Francis to Greece and Cyprus lasted from the second to the sixth of December. On the occasion of such a historic event, hundreds of believers from neighboring countries gathered in Cyprus to take part in the ecumenical prayer that the pontiff performed at the Church of the Holy Cross in Nicosia.
Earlier, the Pope called the Mediterranean Sea “a big cemetery” because a huge number of refugees trying to reach the EU countries are dying there. He called for mercy to be shown to illegal migrants. The Russian Foreign Ministry reacted to the pontiff’s statement.
In October, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, confirmed the information about a possible meeting of the primates of the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches.