[WORLD NEWS ★★★]
POPE FRANCIS AND RUSSIAN PATRIARCH KIRILL TO MEET IN CUBA
(P1) The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, is to meet his Roman Catholic COUNTERPART, Pope Francis, during a historic visit to Latin America. The GROUNDBREAKING meeting is to happen in mid-February in Cuba.
(P2) The meeting between the heads of the two major Christian churches would be an UNPRECEDENTED move to MEND a MILLENNIUM-long RIFT between the Western and Eastern branches of the religion, which started with the GREAT SCHISM of 1054.
(P4) The meeting confirms Russia’s importance in the Christian world, according to Alexandr Avdeev Russia’s ambassador to the VATICAN. “The meeting between the two religious leaders is a confirmation of Russia’s role in Christian civilization,” he said.
(P5) PERSECUTION of Christians in the modern world is the main issue for the two leaders to discuss. Christians are suffering AT THE HANDS OF of groups ADHERING to radical Islamist IDEOLOGY in places like Iraq, Syria, and Somalia.
(P6) In addition to Cuba, Patriarch Kirill’s Latin American tour from February 11-22 includes Paraguay, Chile and Brazil. The meeting with Pope Francis will happen on February 12.
(P7) “The INTERSECTION of the travel routes allowed this meeting to be organized,” commented Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Foreign Relations Department.
(P8) “The situation in the MIDDLE EAST and in northern and central Africa requires immediate action and even closer cooperation between Christian churches.
(P9) “We need to PUT ASIDE our disagreements and join efforts to save Christianity in the regions where it is subjected to persecution,” he said.
(P10) Sergey Brun from the Museum of Russian ICONS said that the meeting could signal a possible improvement of relations between Russia and the West.
(P11) The pope will make a stop in Cuba on his way to Mexico.
(P12) The meeting has been in preparation for two decades and both Moscow and the Vatican agreed that some NEUTRAL country would be most suited for it.
(P13) In November 2014, Francis told Kirill: “I’ll go wherever you want. You call me and I’ll go.”
(P14) The Patriarch and the Pope are expected to sign a joint DECLARATION after the talks.
(P15) The Vatican called the meeting a “sign of good faith” and called on all Christians “to pray to God to bless the meeting.”
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Do you follow a religion? Which one?
- What are the most practiced religions in your country?
- Do you think that it is important for the leaders of different religions to talk to each other?
- Why are religions so often in conflict?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- At the hands of
- Put aside