Pope Francis and Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow called on Christians today to pray that God would not allow a World War III.
“We exhort all Christians and all believers of God,” they wrote in a joint declaration, “to pray fervently to the providential Creator of the world to… not permit a new world war.”
Pope Francis has previously warned against a “piecemeal” third world war. “Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war,” he said in September of 2014, “one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction.”
Francis and Kirill pointed to the basic values of the Gospel as the solution for violence. “In order to ensure a solid and enduring peace, specific efforts must be undertaken to rediscover the common values uniting us, based on the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The joint declaration also condemned the persecution of Christians, abortion, attacks on the family, and honored the sacrifice of Christian martyrs.
They signed the joint declaration in Cuba after a two hour meeting. Their meeting was historic: it was the first meeting between a Catholic pontiff and Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow in nearly a 1000 years since the Great East-West Schism in the 11th century. Pope Francis reportedly greeted Patriarch Kirill saying, “Brother, finally!”