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Fri Feb 12, 2016, 01:08 PM


After nearly 1,000 years, leaders of Catholic, Russian Orthodox churches to meet

Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY
11:50 a.m. EST February 12, 2016

Despite famine, religious wars, worldwide conflict and the spread of civilization, the heads of the Roman Catholic and the Russian Orthodox churches haven't spoken since the Great Schism of 1054 shattered Christendom, so they have a lot of catching up to do at their historic meeting Friday in Cuba.

The split between the two churches nearly 1,000 years has festered over issues such as the primacy of the pope and accusations by the Russian Orthodox Church that the Catholic Church tries to poach converts in Russia.

No pope has ever visited Russia. En route to the historic visit Friday, journalists asked Pope Francis if a visit to the nation is on his papal bucket list.

“China and Russia, I have them here,” Francis said, pointing to his heart. “Pray.”


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