From the Holy See and the Patriarchate of Moscow:
The Holy See and the Patriarchate of Moscow are pleased to announce that, by the grace of God, His Holiness Pope Francis and His Holiness Patriarch Kirilll of Moscow and All Russia will meet on February 12th next. Their meeting will take place in Cuba, where the Pope will make a stop on his way to Mexico, and where the Patriarch will be on an official visit. It will include a personal conversation at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport, and will conclude with the signing of a joint declaration.
This meeting of the Primates of the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, after a long preparation, will be the first in history and will mark an important stage in relations between the two Churches. The Holy See and the Moscow Patriarchate hope that it will also be a sign of hope for all people of good will. They invite all Christians to pray fervently for God to bless this meeting, that it may bear good fruits.
The Gospel reading of the Orthodox church of Friday 12th is from Matt 5:14-19:
It is not easy to confess this gospel’s truth today. In some places and in some countries there is even a conviction that those who insist on their possession of the truth should be punished. They should accept the truths held by other people – false truths even if these truths belong to a minority but are included in the life of society and state through law. And if some people speak of the truth of Christ and reject these false truths, in some countries they can already be subjected to legal persecution.
We believe that Jesus born from the Virgin Mary is the Lord and Saviour. There is no other saviour; He is the one. And that is why He is the way and the truth and the life.
We proclaim our faith without hesitation or fear, just as St. John Chrysostom states this in his instruction to catechumens on the Easter day. It is quite clear that the Church as Divine organism living in history among people also has human nature, just as the Lord Jesus Christ had human nature. This human nature of the Church is vulnerable as was the human nature of the Saviour. Indeed, He was beat up, outraged, nailed to the Cross. And the Church bears these wounds of Christ, this weakness of human nature. We are witnesses to a great deal of consequences of this weakness, human weakness. Perhaps more relevant for us today is the sin of schism, division, when people motivated by political or ethnic interests destroy the one body of Church. But no one is ever given to destroy the foundation stone, just as no one is given to destroy the invisible body of the Church which is the Body of Christ the Saviour Himself.