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Monday, May 24, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 22 MAY 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received in separate audiences first Boiko Borissov, prime minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, then Trjako Veljanoski, president of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Both men, each leading a delegation, have come to Rome for the commemoration of Sts. Cyril and Methodius.

  In his address to the Bulgarian delegation the Holy Father noted how "on her path to full integration with other European nations Bulgaria is called to promote and bear witness to the Christian roots that derive from the teachings of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, which today are still as relevant and important as ever. Bulgaria is, then, called to safeguard and remain faithful to the precious heritage which unites people - both Orthodox and Catholics - who profess the same faith in the Apostles and are united by a common Baptism. As Christian we have the duty to reinforce the intrinsic bond that exists between the Gospel and our respective cultural identities. As disciples of the Lord we are called, while showing mutual respect for the various ecclesial traditions, to a shared witness of our faith in Jesus in Whose name we obtain salvation".

  Benedict XVI expressed the hope that his meeting with the prime minister will represent "a reason for ever closer and more fraternal relations", and he encouraged the Bulgarian people "to persevere in the aim of building a society founded on justice and peace".

  In his remarks to the delegation from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Holy Father recalled how "the fruits of evangelisation of Sts. Cyril and Methodius were truly abundant. They experienced suffering, privation and hostility but they bore everything with unshakeable faith and invincible hope in God. It was with this strength that they strove to help the people entrusted to their care, safeguarding the texts of Scripture (indispensable for the celebration of the liturgy) which they translated into old Slavonic using a new alphabet, subsequently approved by the Church authorities.

  "In moments of trial and joy", the Pope added, "they felt that God accompanied them daily experiencing His love and that of their brethren. We too understand that when we feel loved by the Lord, and know that we return this love, we are enveloped and guided by His grace in everything we do. Thanks to the effusion of the multiple gifts of the Holy Spirit, the more we know we are loved and give ourselves to others, the more that Spirit will come in succour of our weaknesses, opening new roads for our activities".
AC/                                    VIS 20100524 (440)

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