HAVANA – Fidel Castro believes the “singular importance” of the meeting of Pope Francis with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill in Havana is the fact it awakens “hope” among the peoples of the world.
“Preventing the most brutal wars that could break out has undoubtedly been the fundamental goal of efforts by religious leaders of churches led by men like Pope Francis, pontiff of the Catholic Church, and his holiness Kirill, patriarch of Moscow and all Russia,” Castro wrote in a column published Monday in official media.
“Fighting for peace is the most sacred duty of all human beings, whatever their religion or country of origin, the color of their skin or their age,” the 89-year-old former Cuban leader said.
“Sadly, almost all religions have had to look on with regret at the destruction and terrible consequences of wars,” he said.
In that regard, Castro, who stepped down in 2006 due to illness, said “they have had to dedicate the greatest energy to those tasks.”
Fidel Castro and Kirill discussed such subjects as keeping the peace and the survival of mankind at a meeting last Saturday during the prelate’s visit to Cuba.
Official media later released a series of photos of that meeting, the first of Fidel Castro since the pictures published in September 2015 following his meeting with Pope Francis during the pontiff’s pastoral visit to Cuba.
Last Friday, Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill held a historic meeting at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, the first by a Catholic pontiff and a leader of the Orthodox Church since the Great Schism of 1054.