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Pope, Russian Patriarch May Call On New Anti-Terrorism Coalition

© Flickr / Elliott BrownCounter Terrorism Response Level: Heightened
Counter Terrorism Response Level: Heightened - Sputnik International
Pope Francis will meet with the head of Russian Orthodox Church Kirill on February 12 in Cuba, in what will become the first face-to-face engagement between the heads of the two churches.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — A joint declaration following the February 12 meeting between Pope Francis and Russian Patriarch Kirill may contain a call for 'people of good will' to form a coalition to end terrorism, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations (DECR), said Saturday.

"There is constant talk of creating various coalitions. They say let's create a coalition to fight terrorism, let's create another coalition. Coalitions are being created here and there. But in order to overcome this evil, there needs to be a coalition of all people of good will," Hilarion said in the Vesti v Subbotu (Vesti on Saturday) Russian TV show.

Pope Francis - Sputnik International
Meeting of Catholic Pope, Russian Patriarch ‘Significant Development’
Pope Francis and the head of Russian Orthodox Church Kirill will meet at the Havana airport, with the persecution of Christians in the Middle East reportedly the primary issue to be discussed at the meeting. This will become the first face-to-face engagement between the heads of the two churches.

Political games have to give way to reality, the metropolitan said, adding that political interests must be forfeited when people face real suffering and death.

"We follow the same gospel, the same Christ and the same commandments <…> Despite differences in theology <…> We are united in the essence of Christian faith, and this must not be forgotten," he said, stressing the need for common solutions to global problems.

The Latin-dominated Catholic Church and the Greek-dominated Eastern Orthodox Church split in 1054 over theological and ecclesiastical differences. The split is known as the East-West Schism, or the Great Schism.

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