Friday, February 12, at the international airport of Havana hosted the first ever meeting between the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia and the Pope. As reported RIA Novosti, the meeting ended with the signing of the joint Declaration and «gave hope for the formation of a new phase in relations between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches.»
The meeting between Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis lasted just over two hours. The spiritual leaders called on the international community to prevent the eviction of Christians from the Middle East, to preserve traditional Christian values in Europe, expressed the hope of overcoming the schism in Ukraine on the basis of canonical norms and has made several other important statements on topical issues of contemporary society, the publication reads.
TASS notes that signed the ten-page Declaration consists of 30 items. Apart from the above, it covers issues such as gay marriage, abortion and euthanasia.
TASS means the full text of this document.
Following is the full text of the Declaration, without cuts and changes.
THE TEXT OF THE DECLARATION SIGNED IN HAVANA ON PATRIARCH KIRILL AND POPE FRANCIS
«The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy spirit be with you all» (2 Cor. 13:13).
1. By the will of God and Father from Whom proceeds every gift, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy spirit, the Comforter, we, Francis, Pope of Rome, and Kyrill, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, met today in Havana. We give thanks to the Trinity praise to God for this meeting, the first in history.
2. Our fraternal meeting took place in Cuba at the crossroads between North and South, East and West. This island is the symbol of the aspirations of the «New world» and the dramatic events of the history of the twentieth century, we draw our word to all the peoples of Latin America and other continents.
We rejoice that today there is rapidly developing Christian faith. Powerful religious potential of Latin America, its centuries-old Christian tradition, realized in the life experience of millions of people, are the key to a great future of this region.
3. Meeting away from the old disputes of the Old world, we feel especially strongly the need for joint work of Catholics and Orthodox, called with meekness and fear to give to the world report in our hope (1 Pet. 3:15).
4. Thank God for the gifts we have received through the appearance into the world His only begotten Son. We share a common spiritual Tradition of the first Millennium of Christianity. Witnesses of this Tradition are the Holy mother of God, virgin Mary, and the saints whom we honor. Among them — the countless martyrs who showed their faithfulness to Christ and become the «seed of Christianity».
5. Despite the common Tradition of the first ten centuries, Catholics and Orthodox Christians for almost a thousand years deprived of communion in the Eucharist. We divided the wounds inflicted in the distant and recent conflicts of the past, divided and inherited from our predecessors by differences in the understanding and explanation of our faith in God, one in Three Persons — Father, Son and Holy spirit. We mourn the loss of unity caused by human weakness and sinfulness, which occurred in spite of the high-Priestly prayer of Christ the Saviour: «that they all may be one, as Thou, father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may all be one» (Jn. 17:21).
6. Aware of the numerous obstacles to be overcome, we hope that our meeting will contribute to achieve the God-commanded unity for which Christ prayed. Let our meeting will inspire Christians all over the world with a new zeal to call upon the Lord, praying for full unity of all His disciples. She is in a world that expects us not only of words but of deeds — a sign of hope for all people of good will.
7. Resolve to do all that is necessary to overcome the historically inherited differences, we want to combine our efforts for a testimony of the gospel of Christ and the shared heritage of the Church of the first Millennium, jointly responding to the challenges of the modern world. Orthodox and Catholics should learn to be accept the evidence of truth in those areas in which it is possible and necessary. Human civilization has entered a period of epochal change. The Christian conscience and pastoral responsibility not allow us to remain indifferent to the challenges requiring a joint response.
8. Our gaze is directed primarily to those regions of the world where Christians are persecuted. In many countries of the Middle East and North Africa are our brothers and sisters in Christ exterminated whole families, villages and towns. Their temples are subjected to barbarous destruction and looting shrines desecrated, monuments — destruction. In Syria, Iraq and other Middle East countries we observed a mass Exodus of Christians from the land where began the spread of our faith and where they have lived since Apostolic times, together with other religious communities.
9. We call on the international community to take urgent action to prevent further marginalization of Christians from the Middle East. Raising their voice in defence of Christians persecuted, we feel compassion and the suffering of the adherents of different religious backgrounds, victims of civil war, chaos and terrorist violence.
10. In Syria and in Iraq, this violence has claimed thousands of lives, leaving without shelter and livelihoods of millions of people. We urge the international community to unite to end the violence and terrorism, and at the same time using dialogue to promote the early establishment of civil peace. Required large-scale humanitarian aid to the suffering people and the many refugees in neighbouring countries.
We ask all who can influence the fate of all the abductees, including Aleppo metropolitans Paul and John Ibrahim, abducted in April of 2013, to do everything necessary for their immediate release.
11. Wassalaam prayers to Christ, the Savior of the world, about the establishment on earth of the Middle East peace, which is «the right» (ISA. 32:17), strengthening the brotherly coexistence between its diverse peoples, churches and religions, the return of refugees to their homes, about the healing of the wounded and the repose of the souls of the innocent victims.
We appeal to all parties that may be involved in the conflict, with a fervent appeal to the goodwill and sit down at the negotiating table. At the same time, it is necessary that the international community use all possible efforts to defeat terrorism through common, joint, coordinated action. Encourage all countries involved in the fight against terrorism, to responsible, informed action.
We urge all Christians and all believers in God by fervent prayer to the Creator and Caretaker of the world, that He saved His creation from destruction and prevented a new world war. For peace to be durable and reliable, requires special efforts to return to the common, uniting us values based on the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
12. We admire the courage of those who gave their lives testify to the truth of the gospel, preferring death to a renunciation of Christ. Believe that the martyrs of our time, originating from different Churches, but United by common misery, are the key to the unity of Christians. To you, suffering for Christ, drew his word by His Apostle: «Beloved! …as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, rejoice, and in the revelation of His glory you may rejoice and joy» (1 Pet. 4:12-13).
13. In this alarming era of interreligious dialogue is necessary. Differences in understanding religious truths should not prevent people of different faiths to live in peace and harmony. In the current context religious leaders have a special responsibility for the upbringing of his flock in the spirit of respect for the beliefs of those who belong to other religious traditions. Absolutely unacceptable the attempts to justify criminal acts of religious slogans. No crime can be committed in the name of God, «because God is not the God of confusion, but of peace» (1 Cor. 14:33).
14. Indicating the high value of religious freedom, we give thanks to God for the unprecedented revival of Christian faith, which happens now in Russia and in many Eastern European countries, where for decades was dominated by atheist regimes. Today, the shackles of militant atheism is reset, and in many places Christians can freely practice their faith. For a quarter century here built tens of thousands of new churches, hundreds of monasteries and theological schools. Christian communities are wide and social charitable activities by providing diverse assistance to the needy. Orthodox and Catholics often work side by side. They defend the common spiritual foundations of human community, witnessing to gospel values.
15. At the same time, our concern is the situation in so many countries where Christians increasingly face the restriction of religious freedom and the right to testify about their beliefs, live in accordance with them. In particular, we see that the transformation of some countries in a secularized society, is alien to every memory of God and His righteousness, entails a serious danger to religious freedom. We are concerned about the current restriction of the rights of Christians, not to mention discrimination against them, when some political forces, guided by the ideology of secularism, which is so often becoming aggressive, tend to drive them to the margins of social life.
16. The process of European integration that began after centuries of bloody conflicts, was perceived by many with hope, as a pledge of peace and security. At the same time, we caution against such integration that does not respect religious identity. Being open to contribution of other religions in our civilization, we are convinced that Europe needs in fidelity to her Christian roots. Encourage Christians of Eastern and Western Europe to come together to witness for Christ and the gospel, that Europe has retained its soul, formed by two thousand years of Christian tradition.
17. Our opinion is addressed to people who are in a difficult situation, living in extreme poverty and destitution at a time when material wealth of mankind grow. We cannot remain indifferent to the fate of millions of migrants and refugees knocking at doors of rich countries. Unrestrained consumption typical of some developed countries, is rapidly depleting our planet’s resources. Growing inequality in the distribution of earthly goods increases the sense of injustice imposed system of international relations.
18. Christian Churches are called to advocate the claims of justice, respect for traditions of peoples and effective solidarity with all who suffer. We Christians must not forget that God «hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and weak things of the world God chose to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world and afflicted and nothing meaningful has God chosen, to bring to nought things, in order that no flesh may boast before God» (1 Cor. 1:27-29).
19. The family is the natural center of human life and society. We are concerned about the crisis of the family in many countries. The Orthodox and Catholics sharing the same view of the family, called to testify about the family as a path to Holiness, manifesting the fidelity of the spouses in relation to each other, their preparedness for the birth and upbringing of children, solidarity between generations and respect for the afflicted.
20. The family based on marriage as the act of free and faithful love between a man and a woman. Love binds them together, teaches them to accept each other as a gift. Marriage is a school of love and loyalty. We regret that other forms of cohabitation are equal now with this Union and sanctified biblical tradition ideas about parenthood as a special vocation of men and women in marriage are displaced from public consciousness.
21. We want to encourage everyone to respect the inalienable right to life. Millions of babies are denied the chance to be born. The voice of the blood of unborn children cries out to God (Gen. 4:10).
The proliferation of so-called euthanasia leads to the fact that the elderly and sick begin to feel an excessive burden on their loved ones and for society as a whole.
We Express our concern about the increasingly widespread use of biomedical reproductive technologies for the manipulation of human life is an assault on the foundations of human existence, created in God’s image. We consider it our duty to remind you of the sanctity of Christian moral principles based on respect for the dignity of the person who is called to a life consonant with the will of its Creator.
22. We want to draw today is a special word to Christian youth. You who are young should not bury the talent in the earth (Matt. 25:25), but to use all God gives you the ability to approval in the world of the truth of Christ, for the realization of the gospel commandments of loving God and neighbor. Don’t be afraid to go against the tide, defending the truth of God, which is not always consistent with modern secular standards.
23. God loves you and each of you expects you to be His disciples and apostles. Become the light of the world, that others, seeing your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven (Matt. 5:14-16). Nurture children in the Christian faith, tell them this precious pearl of faith (Matt. 13:46) that you received from your parents and ancestors. Don’t forget that «you are bought with a price» (1 Cor. 6:20) — the price of death on the cross the God-man Jesus Christ.
24. Orthodox and Catholics are United not only the common Tradition of the Church of the first Millennium, but also the mission of preaching the gospel of Christ in the modern world. This mission requires mutual respect between members of the Christian community, excludes any form of proselytism.
We are not competitors but brothers: from this understanding we must proceed in all our actions in relation to each other and to the outside world. We urge Catholics and Orthodox in all countries learn to live together in peace, love and likeminded one toward another (ROM. 15:5). You should not use improper means to force believers to move from one Church to another, neglecting their religious freedom and their own traditions. We are called to bring to life the Testament of the Apostle Paul and «preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s Foundation» (ROM. 15:20).
25. I hope that our meeting will contribute to reconciliation where there are tensions between Greek-Catholics and Orthodox. Today it is obvious that the method «Uniatism» of previous centuries, suggesting the conversion of one community in the unity with another through its separation from his Church, is not the way to restore unity. At the same time, the Church community, which was the result of historical circumstances, have the right to exist and to take appropriate actions to meet the spiritual needs of its faithful to seek peace with neighbours. Orthodox and Greek-Catholics in need of reconciliation and finding a mutually acceptable form of coexistence.
26. We mourn the confrontation in Ukraine, which claimed dozens of lives, caused immeasurable suffering to civilians, which has plunged society into deep economic and humanitarian crisis. Call on all parties to the conflict to prudence, social solidarity and active peacemaking. Call on our Churches in Ukraine work for the achievement of public consent, to refrain from participating in the conflict and not support further development of the conflict.
27. We hope that the schism among the Orthodox believers in Ukraine will be overcome on the basis of existing canonical norms, that all Orthodox Christians of Ukraine will live in peace and harmony, and the Catholic community of the country will contribute to our Christian brotherhood was even more obvious.
28. In the modern world is multifaceted and at the same time United by the common fate of the Catholics and Orthodox are called to fraternally carbothioate for the proclamation of the gospel of salvation, for General certificate of moral dignity and freedom of man, «Yes the world may believe» (Jn. 17:21).
This is a world in which rapidly undermined the spiritual foundations of human existence, is waiting for our a strong Christian witness in all areas of personal and social life. From that, can we, in a watershed era along to bear witness to the spirit of truth, depends the future of humanity.
29. In fearlessly proclaiming the truth of God and the saving Good news so help us the God-man Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, spiritually strengthens us with His unerring promise: «fear Not, little flock! For it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom» (LK. 12:32).
Christ is the source of joy and hope. Faith in Him transforms a person’s life, what gives life meaning. This experience has convinced all those about whom you can say the words of the Apostle Peter: «Once you were not a people but are now the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now have obtained mercy» (1 Pet. 2:10).
30. Filled with gratitude for the gift of understanding, manifested in our meeting, we address with hope to the blessed Mother of God, crying out to Her the words of the ancient prayer: «Under Your mercy we take refuge, o virgin Theotokos». May the blessed virgin Mary for Their intercession would strengthen the brotherhood of all, Her honor, lest they by God in a particular time were assembled in peace and unity in the one people of God, may be glorified the name of the consubstantial and Indivisible Trinity!