NEW YORK, February 6. /TASS/. The meeting between the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill I and the Pope of Rome Francis I, due to take place in Havana on February 12 is destined to become a historic event, Dr. Christopher Bennitto, a church history specialist at Kean University in New Jersey told TASS on Friday.
"Taking a meeting once every thousand yearsI'd say that's historic," he said.
He praised Pope Francis as a person "with the courage not to let history handcuff him."
"Like John Paul II, Francis is not afraid to make history," Dr. Bennitto said.
"Meeting the Patriarch on essentially neutral turf in Cuba is a masterstroke for the negotiators," he said comparing the forthcoming event to the meeting between Pope Paul VI and the Patriarch of Constantinople Athenagoras I in Jerusalem in 1964. After the latter meeting, the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Churches lifted the mutual anathemas imposed on each other in 1054 when the previous Holy Christian Church broke up into two.
Patriarch Kirill I and Pope Francis I plan to meet each other at the Jose Marti international airport in Havana on February 12. A joint statement the press services of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Vatican released on Friday described the meeting as the one that would take relations between the two Churches to a new stage.-0-kle.