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Pope Francis says there are plans for a possible second meeting with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. That would come after their historic 2016 encounter in Cuba became a landmark in mending relations severed by the 1,000-year-old schism that divided Christianity. Speaking to reporters Monday while traveling home from Greece, Francis said he planned to meet next week with the Russian church’s foreign envoy “to agree on a possible meeting” with Patriarch Kirill. He noted that Kirill is due to travel in the coming weeks but also said he was “ready to go to Moscow” even if diplomatic protocols weren’t yet in place. 

Pope Francis says he accepted the resignation of the archbishop of Paris because the monsignor could no longer govern effectively thanks to the “gossip” about his relationship with a woman a decade ago. Francis was asked en route home from Greece about the surprise decision announced on Thursday. It came only days after Archbishop Michel Aupetit put his fate in Francis’ hands following French media reports about what he said was an “ambiguous” relationship with a woman. French media reports also cited governance problems as a possible reason underlying Francis’ decision. Aupetit was 70, five years short of the normal retirement age for a bishop.

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Pope Francis is wrapping up his visit to Greece by encouraging its young people to follow their dreams and not be tempted by the consumerist “sirens” of today that promise easy pleasures. He met with students at a Catholic school in Athens in his final event of a five-day visit to Cyprus and Greece that has been dominated by his concern for the plight of migrants seeking entry to Europe. Francis briefly struggled to keep his balance on the steps while boarding the plane bound for Rome on Monday when caught by a gust of wind and was helped on board by an aide. 

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Pope Francis has warned that the “easy answers” of populism and authoritarianism threaten democracy in Europe and called for fresh dedication to promoting the common good. Francis used a speech in Greece, the birthplace of democracy, to address Europe at large, arguing that only robust multilateralism can successfully address the pressing issues of the day, from protecting the environment to the pandemic. On the same day Francis warned about the populist threat to Europe, right-wing populist leaders met in Warsaw and declared they will work more closely together to defend their sovereignty at the European Parliament. In Athens, Francis is also met with Archbishop Ieronymos, the head of Greece’s Orthodox Church, to mend ties between their churches.

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Pope Francis was heckled by an elderly priest as he arrived for a meeting in Athens with the head of the country’s Orthodox church. The priest shouted: “Pope, you are a heretic!” three times as Francis arrived at the residence of the head of Greece’s Orthodox Church, Archbishop Ieronymos. The protester fell to the ground as police led him away, and Francis appeared not to notice as he walked into the residence for his private meeting with the Orthodox leader. However, inside the residence the two leaders could not have been more friendly or in synch in their shared concern to protect the environment and migrants. During Francis' trip, the leaders of two churches renewed a promise to overcome centuries of mistrust and competition for influence.

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An Orthodox and Catholic priests arrive at the Archbishopric of Greece for Pope Francis visit in Athens, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. Pope Francis warned Saturday that the "easy answers" of populism and authoritarianism threaten democracy in Europe and called for fresh dedication to promoting the common good. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

A clergy sex abuse survivor whose courage to go public and resolve to hold abusers and their enablers accountable was remembered by his brother as someone who inspired and strengthened survivors from around the world. Phil Saviano died Sunday at age 69 after a battle with gallbladder cancer and was honored at a funeral Mass Friday at St. Denis Catholic Church in Douglas, Massachusetts. It was the very church where he was first sexually molested at age 11 in the 1960s by a now-deceased parish priest. His brother, Jim Saviano, said Phil brought hope, dignity, strength and rebirth to victims of abuse.

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Pope Francis has denounced the “indifference” that the West shows migrants as the Vatican confirmed at least a dozen asylum-seekers would be transferred from Cyprus to Italy. The Vatican said the Rome-based Sant’Egidio Community had arranged to bring the would-be refugees to Italy in the coming weeks. It said 12 would be transferred. Earlier, the Cypriot Interior Ministry had thanked Francis and the Holy See for an initiative to relocate 50 asylum-seekers, calling it a recognition of the Mediterranean island nation's inability to continue to absorb migrants and refugees. Francis held a Friday evening prayer service with migrants in the Church of the Holy Cross in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus. 

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Pope Francis is urging Greek Cypriots and breakaway Turkish Cypriots to resume talks on reunifying the Mediterranean island nation. At the start of his visit to Cyprus, Francis says threats and shows of force are only prolonging the “terrible laceration” its people have endured for nearly a half-century. A weary-looking Francis made the appeal as he arrived in the ethnically divided Cypriot capital at the start of a five-day visit that will also take him to Greece, a similarly Orthodox majority country on Europe’s eastern edge. Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded following a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Only Turkey recognizes the Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence in the north.