The heads of the Roman Catholic Church and of the Russian Orthodox Church met for the first time in Christian history

Yesterday, Friday, 11 FEB 2015 at José Martí International Airport in Havana, Cuba, Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill met. +Francis is the spiritual head of 1 billion Roman Catholics and +Kirill on 160 million Russian Orthodox faithful. The heads of the two churches have never met before in the history of Christianity. Their two branches of Christianity split in 1054. That split began to heal in 1964 when Pope Paul VI met with the Ecumenical Patriarch and Archbishop of Constantinople, Athenagoras. The Ecumenical Patriarch is the primus inter pares of the Orthodox autocephalous churches.

When the two prelates met they embraced, kissed one another’s cheeks and +Francis said, “Somos hermanos.” “We are brothers.” The two met for about two hours. During their meeting, they signed a joint statement on Christian unity. The official English text of the document is available from the Vatican Radio website.  Section 20 of the joint statement makes a less-than-subtle attack on the rise of marriage equality. (Emphasis mine.)

20. The family is based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between a man and a woman. It is love that seals their union and teaches them to accept one another as a gift. Marriage is a school of love and faithfulness. We regret that other forms of cohabitation have been placed on the same level as this union, while the concept, consecrated in the biblical tradition, of paternity and maternity as the distinct vocation of man and woman in marriage is being banished from the public conscience.

The image is from the Associated Press.

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