Receive Breaking News updates as they occur
Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill kissed each other and sat down Friday for the first meeting between heads of the Eastern and Western churches in nearly a thousand years. The 79-year-old Francis, in white robes and a skullcap, and Kirill, 69, in black robes and a white headdress, exchanged kisses and embraced before sitting down smiling for the historic meeting at Havana airport. Francis, 79, stepped off a plane in the sunshine and shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro on the tarmac at Jose Marti airport before heading into the meeting with the leader of the powerful Russian branch of the Orthodox church.
Married or not, straight or gay, you and your sweetheart will be welcome in Lourdes, the town in southwestern France that has attracted "miracle" seekers for a century and a half, officials said Friday. "Come to Lourdes to say I love you," beckons a flyer put out by the Lourdes diocese, touting a "couples weekend" as part of efforts to boost dwindling visitor numbers. "The miracle of Lourdes is that of the encounter," said the rector, Reverend Andre Cabes, recalling the town's founding "meeting" -- the moment 158 years ago when peasant girl Bernadette Soubirous experienced an encounter with the Virgin Mary, according to Church doctrine.
HAVANA (AP) — With a hug and an exclamation of "Finally!" Pope Francis met Friday with Patriarch Kirill in the first ever meeting between a pontiff and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, a historic development in the 1,000-year schism that has divided Christianity.