Pope Francis at Rome's Fiumicino airport on his way to Mexico for a week-long trip, on Feb. 12, 2016. He is scheduled to stop in Cuba for an historical meeting with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill.
Andrea Franceschini—Pacific Press/Corbis
By NBC News
February 12, 2016

When the pope and the patriarch come together for the first time today, one of Christianity’s most enduring divisions could edge closer to becoming ancient history.

The Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches have been at odds for over 1,000 years. Friday’s meeting in Havana — where Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill will sign a joint accord — could be a critical step towards helping heal the rift.

But while the Vatican billed the religious rendezvous as an “important stage” and sign of hope, the event could be more about symbolism than substance…

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