Our gaze must firstly turn to those regions of the world where Christians are victims of persecution. In many countries of the Middle East and North Africa, whole families, villages, and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely exterminated,
Today is a day of grace. The meeting with Patriarch Kirill is a gift from God. Pray for us.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) February 12, 2016
Patriarch Kirill told the Pontiff
We are meeting at the right time and at the right place. I want to emphasize once again that it became possible with God’s will
The two leaders discussed the on-going violence happening in Iraq and Syria and how it has become a humanitarian issue; and urging the international community to stand up to return to civil peace.
Thousands of victims have already been claimed in the violence in Syria and Iraq, which has left many other millions without a home or means of sustenance. We urge the international community to seek an end to the violence and terrorism and, at the same time, to contribute through dialogue to a swift return to civil peace. Large-scale humanitarian aid must be assured to the afflicted populations and to the many refugees seeking safety in neighboring lands.