Vatican City, May 08, 2009 - The Holy Father has sent a Message to Archbishop Ioan Robu of Bucharest, Romania, for celebrations taking place to mark the tenth anniversary of John Paul II's visit to that country from 7 to 9 May 1999. The Message was delivered by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States and the Pope's special envoy to the event.

In his Message the Pope praises the current initiative, which has been promoted by the Catholic Church in Romania, the Romania Orthodox Church and the State, saying that it "brings together the Catholic and Orthodox faithful of that country which, for its geographical location and its long history, for its culture and its traditions, has a unique ecumenical vocation inscribed in its very roots".

The Pope expresses the hope "that believers in Christ will not only treasure the memory of those unforgettable days, but that, drawing from the teaching of my venerated predecessor John Paul II, they will commit themselves to seeking courageous ways to face together the great challenges of our time. I am thinking particularly of the defence of human life at every stage, protection of the family, respect for creation and promotion of the common good. Furthermore, making the wishes of the beloved John Paul II my own, I invite people to pray that, as soon as possible, we may achieve the full fraternal communion of all Christians, both of the West and the East".


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