Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia has landed in Cuba, the first stage in his journey through Latin America. His Holiness – the Patriarchate of Moscow writes in a release – was invited by president Raúl Castro. It is the first time a Patriarch of Moscow has been visiting Latin America. Before being Patriarch in 2009, His Holiness Kirill visited Cuba three times: in 1998, in 2004 and in 2009, as director of the department for external relations at the Patriarchate of Moscow.
After Cuba, Kirill will be visiting Paraguay and Brazil. At the international airport of Havana, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church was welcomed by president Raúl Castro Ruz.
“It is with affectionate feelings that I have come to the land of Cuba for the fourth time”, Kirill said on arriving. “I have come here for a friendly visit at the invitation of the leader of the Republic of Cuba, Raúl Castro Ruz”. “The people of Cuba and the people of Russia have been bonded by cooperative and sincere friendly ties for many years. Speaking to the Cuban people, I would like to say that the good feelings that the Russian people feels for Cuba are stronger and stronger today”.
It is here, at the airport of Havana, that Kirill will be meeting Pope Francis later today. “The meeting has been arranged – the Patriarchate writes – by making their journeys meet. Pope Francis will stop in Cuba while travelling to Mexico. At the end of their meeting – the Patriarchate points out –, a Joint Statement is expected to be signed”.