John Paul II Honors Those Who Endured Persecution

VATICAN CITY, MAY 25, 2002 (VIS) - Following his visit to St. Joseph's Latin rite cathedral in Sofia, Pope John Paul went to the Byzantine-Slav rite cathedral dedicated to the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Before entering the cathedral, whose capacity is 150 people, the Pope blessed a bell and several cornerstones destined for future churches. He also crowned an image of Our Lady of Malko Trynovo, patroness of Christian unity.

«I affectionately greet your Apostolic Exarch Christo Proykov,» said the Pope, «and I fraternally embrace Exarch emeritus Metodi Stratiev, who endured persecution and prison together with the three Assumptionist priests whom I shall proclaim Blessed tomorrow in Plovdiv.»

The Holy Father extended his greetings to all the priests and faithful of the exarchate and saluted with «special affection the Carmelite nuns and the Sisters of the Eucharist, remembering particularly those among them - alive here on earth or already in heaven - who during the period of communist domination experienced long confinement in the choir of the Church of St. Francis, keeping alive the ideals of their consecration and supporting through prayer and penance the fidelity of Christians to their Lord.»

The Pope then remembered «with admiration and gratitude the figure and work of the Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop Giuseppe Roncalli, Blessed Pope John XXIII, who prayed in this cathedral and did so much for the life of the Byzantine-Slav rite Catholic Church in Bulgaria. May this relic of him, which I have brought as a gift from Rome, be kept and venerated in the soon-to-be built church which, in accordance with your desire, will be dedicated to his name.»

Vatican Information Service
25. mai 2002

av Webmaster publisert 27.05.2002, sist endret 27.05.2002 - 14:41