Pope Francis on Friday held a historic first meeting with Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, in Cuba. The meeting was the first between a Pope and a Russian Church head since the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity split in the 11th Century, BBC reported. The Russian Orthodox Church said earlier the "persecution of Christians" in the Middle East and North Africa would be the key theme. The two leaders later signed a joint declaration on this issue. Pope Francis was welcomed at Havana's Jose Marti International Airport by President Raul Castro, before being led to the Protocol Room to hold the historical meeting with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. This was the first meeting between the two churches since Christianity split nearly 1,000 years ago.
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