Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill met for two hours at Jose Marti International Airport in Cuba to “exchange a joint declaration on religious unity”, a mostly-symbolic gesture. (Emphasis added)
Despite a separation that dates back to the Great Schism of 1054, the Russian Orthodox Church had said that Islamic extremist attacks on Christian populations in the Middle East and North and Central Africa required urgent measures and closer cooperation between the Christian churches.
In their message of reconciliation, which was issued in Russian and Italian, they said: “Our attention is directed primarily towards those regions of the world where Christians are persecuted. In many countries in the Middle East and North Africa, whole families of our brothers and sisters in Christ are killed, whole towns and cities inhabited by them are extinguished … their temples subjected to barbaric destruction and looting” and their sanctuaries and monuments demolished.
They also decried the mass exodus of Christians from Syria, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries — “the land where our faith began to spread” — and called for the international community to take immediate action to prevent more displacement of Christians in the Middle East and “to unite to end violence and terrorism” through dialogue in Syria and Iraq.
“The international community” is a vague term, and so is a call “to unite to end violence and terrorism” through dialogue, when for years ISIS’ idea of dialogue is to decapitate, torture and post on the internet their deeds, and when Iran’s idea of dialogue is the ethnic cleansing of Christians.
The meeting was touted as “a significant step — if probably symbolic“, and, of course, took place under the aegis of Communist dictator Raul Castro, who met them at the airport (video in Spanish),
The AP narrator buttons down the symbolism by declaring that the meeting is taking place in “A Cuba transformed into the capital of encounter, of dialogue, and of peace” (1:40 into the video).
The prelates’ meeting, along with the FARC-Colombia talks, show you that all is sweetness and light in Havana for Castro enablers.
Did either of these clerics discuss the history of the airport at which they met? Were they aware of the fact that over a million Cuban families have been torn apart at that very location, or that hundreds of thousands of Cubans caught their last sight of loved ones at that very spot?Were they aware of the fact that their host was responsible for destroying the unity of all those Cuban families? And if so, did it matter at all to them?
I have very vivid memories of that airport, and they’re among the most painful and haunting of all my memories. If I’m honest with myself, I have to admit that I’ve been coping with that pain ever since that day I was strip-searched and locked up in that glass-enclosed fishbowl (La pecera)
Erie was eleven years old at the time,
where I and my brother spent hours staring at our parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunts, unable to talk to them through the thick glass enclosure, knowing that we might never see any of them again.As it turned out, we never saw most of them again, including our father and our grandparents.
Multiply the experience by thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands.
It all happened there, at that same spot. There is no monument there to bring attention to that crime against humanity, nothing that identifies that spot as a disgraceful blot on the landscape.
The official translation of the Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia states,
Our fraternal meeting has taken place in Cuba, at the crossroads of North and South, East and West. It is from this island, the symbol of the hopes of the “New World” and the dramatic events of the history of the twentieth century, that we address our words to all the peoples of Latin America and of the other continents.
Marc Masferrer reports,
- Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported an explosion in the number of religious freedom violations in Cuba, from 220 in 2014 to 2,300 in 2015. Christianity Today reported: “Violations of religious freedom affected most denominations in Cuba, although the Assemblies of God (AoG) were hit the hardest. In the government’s attempt to restrict Christian churches, 2,000 AoG churches were deemed by the government as illegal, wherein 200 have been demolished.” Read CSW’s report here.
“The capital of encounter, of dialogue, and of peace,” not.
Kirill, who was the Metropolitan of Smolensk, succeeds Alexei II who died in December after 18 years as head of the Russian Church. According to material from the Soviet archives, Kirill was a KGB agent (as was Alexei). This means he was more than just an informer, of whom there were millions in the Soviet Union. He was an active officer of the organization. Neither Kirill nor Alexei ever acknowledged or apologized for their ties with the security agencies.
. . .
Kirill’s personal wealth was estimated by the Moscow News in 2006 to be $4 billion.
Read the whole thing.
And ponder the symbol of the hopes of the “New World”.