The first-ever meeting of the Roman pontiff and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church is scheduled for 12 Feb. in Cuba, both churches have announced.

RT reports that the subject of their conversation will be “persecution of Christians in the modern world”.

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia is the only patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox churches whom the Roman Pontiff Francis has not yet met. Kirill has planned a visit to Cuba, and Francis will stop there on his way to a planned visit to Mexico.

“The situation in the Middle East, in northern and central Africa and in some other regions where extremists are perpetrating genocide of Christians, requires immediate action and even closer cooperation between Christian churches,” Metropolitan Hilarion, foreign relations chief for the Orthodox Church, was quoted by RT as saying.