His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met with the President of Italy,Sergio Mattarella,who was visiting Moscow,on 12 April.During the talks at the Danilov Monastery,headquarters of the Russian Orthodox Church,the spiritual leader of more than 100 million souls in Russia,Ukraine,Belarus and the diaspora,remarked that:
The Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church can and should do everything to make the world a more peaceful place;to decrease the level of confrontation between East and West so that we again feel ourselves belonging to one cultural environment,which we call Europe.
I think our shared convictions-Pope Francis' and mine-are that today the religious factor should contribute to reconciliation of people in the European continent and spiritual union among them.*
In the joint declaration signed by Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis following their historic first meeting of a Catholic and Russian Orthodox primate in Havana,Cuba on 12 February 2016,they summoned Catholics and Orthodox to work together fraternally in proclaiming the Good News of salvation and to give shared witness to the Spirit of truth in these difficult times:
We call upon Christians of Eastern and Western Europe to unite in their shared witness to Christ and the Gospel,so that Europe may preserve its soul,shaped by two thousand years of Christian tradition.