Pope Francis became “the first pontiff to ever meet a patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, as the two Christian leaders set aside centuries of division in a historic encounter that was held in an unlikely setting: a room at the Havana airport” (New York Times, February 12, 2016). This session “was a landmark development in the 1,000-year schism that has divided Christianity” (Associated Press, February 12, 2016). The Vatican hopes this meeting will heal differences that have “divided East from West ever since the Great Schism of 1054 split Christianity. But Orthodox observers say Kirill’s willingness to finally meet with a pope has less to do with any new ecumenical impulse than grandstanding at a time when Russia is increasingly under fire from the West over its military actions in Syria and Ukraine” (ibid.). The Russian patriarch Kirill, spiritual advisor to President Vladimir Putin, may use this meeting to “present himself as the leader of Orthodoxy” (ibid.).
The Bible warns of a religious leader at the end of the age who will perform “great signs,” even making “fire come down from heaven” in order to deceive “those who dwell on the earth” (Revelation 13:13-14). This European religious leader, a false spiritual adviser to the military and economic strongman called the “beast,” also coming out of Europe, will extend his dominance over the entire earth but will meet his ultimate end with the beast when Christ returns (Revelation 17-19). The Bible makes it clear that “all the nations” will become drunk with this false religion and economic system (Revelation 18:3). Who will be the strong religious leader who deceives the world? God will reveal this in His time—until then, to learn more, watch our telecast, “Who Is the Prophesied ‘Man of Sin’?”