Pope Francis has begun a seven-day trip that will take him first to Havana, Cuba, then to Mexico.

The Alitalia jet carrying Francis and his entourage departed Friday morning from Rome's airport. First stop is Havana's airport, where Francis will meet for a few hours with the head of the Russian Orthodox church, Patriarch Kirill, in a ground-breaking step toward improving Catholic-Orthodox relations.

Francis will then visit Mexico, returning to Rome on Feb. 18.