The pope and the patriarch are meeting for the first time today in Cuba and the event will mark a slight closing of Christianity's most enduring divisions
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.
And the meeting itself took two years to plan. The Western and Eastern Christian churches split over persistent theological disputes in 1054 — and formally separated in 1438.
The Eastern faction later became known as Orthodox Church — which now has 15 separate and equal congregations, Russian Orthodox being the largest.