Page last updated at 12:07 GMT, Friday, 14 November 2008

Photo reveals frail Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro with Metropolitan Kirill, reportedly pictured on 20 October
Fidel Castro has not been seen in public for more than two years

The first photograph of former Cuban President Fidel Castro to be seen in five months has been published on the website of the Russian Orthodox Church.

It shows the 82-year-old, leaning on the arm of a senior church official, looking frail but alert.

The church said it had been taken on 20 October, at the consecration of a new Orthodox cathedral in Havana.

Mr Castro has not been seen in public since July 2006, when he underwent emergency intestinal surgery.

He has since appeared only in official videos and photographs.

Cuban state media covered the meeting of Mr Castro with the Russian Orthodox Church's top foreign relations official, Bishop Metropolitan Kirill, last month but did not release any images.

The photograph is the first published since 17 June, when state-controlled media showed images of him chatting to Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez.

On Wednesday, a new book by Mr Castro was presented at a ceremony in Havana attended by ministers and party officials. He was not present.

The book, Peace in Colombia, explores Cuba's role in efforts to end Colombia's long-running civil conflict.

Mr Castro's brother, Raul, formally took over the Cuban presidency earlier this year.

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