Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis meet in Havana.
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Pope Francis met Friday with Patriarch Kirill in the first-ever papal meeting with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, a historic development in the 1,000-year schism that divided Christianity that may, however, be more about Russia asserting itself than any new ecumenical progress.Francis exclaimed as he embraced Kirill in the small, wood-paneled VIP room of Havana's airport, where the three-hour encounter was taking place.Indeed, while the meeting with Kirill has been hailed by many as an important ecumenical breakthrough, Francis has also come under criticism for essentially allowing himself to be used by a Russia eager to assert itself among Orthodox Christians and on the world stage at a time when the country is increasingly isolated from the West.
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