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Meeting with Russian patriarch was candid and fraternal, says Pope

February 15, 2016

During his two-hour flight from Havana to Mexico City on the evening of February 12, Pope Francis spoke with reporters about the historic joint statement he had just signed with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.

After stating that he would not take questions but would instead offer reflections on the meeting, Pope Francis first expressed gratitude to Cuban President Raúl Castro for his assistance.

In meeting with Patriarch Kirill, the Pope said he spoke “with all frankness … in front of a brother” about the situation in the Catholic Church and the Orthodox churches, about the upcoming pan-Orthodox synod, and the situations of conflict in the world.

The joint statement, he added, has made possible a number of common activities since “unity is achieved by walking” more than by theological study. The statement is “not a political statement, not a sociological statement, it is a pastoral statement.”

The Pontiff then landed at Mexico City International Airport, where he spoke informally with President Enrique Peña Nieto during the arrival ceremony.

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