Pope Francis heads to Cuba, Mexico
12 February 2016, 18:52
Rome - Pope Francis left Rome on Friday bound for Cuba, where he is to hold a historic meeting Russian Patriarch Kirill before continuing on to Mexico for a five-day visit.
Francis, 79, took off from Rome's Fiumicino airport shortly before 8:00am local time (0700 GMT) en route to Havana where he is due to have a two-hour private meeting with Kirill at Havana's Jose Marti airport.
The meeting is set to be the first encounter of the leaders of the two largest Christian churches in nearly 1,000 years.
After signing a joint declaration with Kirill, Francis will then fly on to Mexico on a trip that will take him to the country's southern and northern borders and other areas ravaged by drugs-related violence.