Pope Francis to Meet Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church Leader in the Vatican

By Mei Manuel, May 11, 2018 05:05 AM

Pope Francis(Screengrabbed)

On Wednesday, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis is scheduled to meet with the head of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Republic and Slovakia for the first time since the head's election in 2014.

The meeting is scheduled to occur on Friday during Archbishop and Primate of the Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church Metropolitan Rastislav's visit to Rome from May 9 to 11. Ratislav is also scheduled to meet Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unit according to the report of the Catholic News Agency. 

Ratislav currently presides over the Orthodox churches of Slovakia and the Czech Republic and is one of the leaders of the 14 self-governing bodies of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

This is not the first time Pope Francis reached out to other groups outside the Catholic Church. In 2016, he met up with the Russian Orthodox Church leader Patriarch Kirill. In 2013, he met Coptic Pope Tawadros II. He had also met up Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the 'first among equals' of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Pope Francis is also scheduled to join church leaders in a special ecumenical gathering in Bari, Italy to pray for the Middle East on July 7th. He had also asked the public to pray for peace in Syria in his traditional address at the Vatican on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Vatican did not reveal the details on what the two leaders may discuss during their meeting.

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