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On 12 February 2016, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and His Holiness Pope Francis held meeting at Havana’s José Martí International Airport.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the Primates of the Russian Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches exchanged gifts. His Holiness Patriarch Kirill presented Pope Francis with a Kazan Icon of the Mother of God and the Spanish edition of his book ‘Freedom and Responsibility.’ Pope Francis presented Patriarch Kirill with a chalice, a reliquary with a particle of the holy relics of St Cyril Equal-to-the-Apostles, heavenly patron of His Holiness, and the Russian translation of the Encyclical Laudato Si.

After that, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and His Holiness Pope Francis proceeded to the hall to sign the Joint Declaration.

Among those present at the signing ceremony were Mr. Raúl Castro Ruz, President of Cuba’s Council of State and Council of Ministers; members of delegations of the Russian Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches; and other officials.

Commenting the meetings, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill said:

“Your Holiness, Your Eminences and Your Graces, Your Excellency the head of the Republic of Cuba, dear brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen,

“We spent two hours in an open brotherly discussion, with full understanding of our responsibility for our Churches, for our faithful, and for the future of Christianity and human civilization. It was a very constructive conversation, which gave us an opportunity to understand each other’s positions.

“The results of this meeting enable me to say that today our two Churches can actively work together, protecting Christians all over the world, work together with full responsibility, so that there would be no war, so that human life may be respected, basic principles of family, personal and public morality may be strengthened, and, through the Church’s involvement in the life of today’s society, the Most Holy and Blessed name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit may be glorified.”

When the ceremony was over, the members of the delegations were introduced to Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill.

After the meeting, Pope Francis left for Mexico.

Press Service of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia/

DECR Communication Service

Photo by Press Service of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia