The Coptic Orthodox Church has welcomed the upcoming meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Father Boulos Halim, spokesman for the Coptic Church, said that the move is a step towards Christian unity, and that the Coptic Church “welcomes and supports any dialogue or activity aimed at Christian unity.”
Pope Francis is expected to meet Patriarch Kiril on Friday 12 February in Cuba, in what will become the first ever face-to-face engagement between the heads of the two Churches. The two Church leaders will meet at the airport in Havana. The persecution of Christians in the Middle East will, reportedly, be the primary issue to be discussed at the meeting.
The East–West Schism occurred in 451 at the Council of Chalcedon which effectively divided the Latin-dominated Catholic Church and the Greek-dominated Eastern Orthodox Church over theological and ecclesiastical differences
In October/November 2014, the Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II visited Moscow and met Patriarch Kirill. They stressed the importance of dialogue and coordination between the two Churches, objectives which are today being fulfilled. Last week saw the visit of a Russian Orthodox delegation to Cairo where they met representatives of the Coptic Church.
10 February 2016