Pope Francis Recalls Example of Ss Cyril and Methodius, Pope John XXII as He Visits Holy Synod, Prays Regina Coeli
103 - POLITICS - POPE FRANCIS - PATRIARCH NEOPHYTE
Pope Francis Recalls Example of Ss Cyril and Methodius,
Pope John XXII as He Visits Holy Synod,
Prays Regina Coeli
Sofia, May 5 (BTA) - Pope Francis recalled the example of Saints Cyril and Methodius, and his predecessor Pope John XXII as he visited the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and met with Patriarch Neophyte, and then prayed Regina Coeli in the St. Alexander Nevsky Square.
The Regina Coeli prayer was the first major event during the Pontiff's apostolic visit to Bulgaria that was accessibleе to Sofia residents and guests.
It is traditionally followed by over 100 million believers across the world every week.
Pope Francis said it was here, in Bulgaria, where he served as Apostolic Delegate, that Angelo Roncalli, the future John XXIII, "learned to esteem the traditions of the Eastern Church". In Sofia, he developed a special veneration for Our Lady of Nessebar and continued to venerate her until the day he died, the Pope said.
An icon of Our Lady of Nessebar was put up on the stage in Alexander Nevsky Square from which Pope Francis addressed the congregation, and the Pope prayed before the icon.
The Pope further said: "We can thank this land for the sage and inspired intuition of Good Pope John".
His final prayer was that Bulgaria might always be "a land of encounter" where people acknowledge and respect each other despite all cultural, religious and ethnic differences.
The example of Ss. Cyril and Methodius dominated the Pontiff's remarks as he met with Patriarch Neophyte and the metropolitans of the Holy Synod. He called the Holy Brothers "promoters of a united Europe" and said they showed the basis for a new art of living together, with respect for differences.
Patriarch Neophyte thanked the Pontiff for visiting Bulgaria. He also pointed out that "Jesus Christ alone is the head and captain of the Ship of the Single, Holy, Ecumenical and Apostolic Church, and in the present turbulent times it is our duty to guard His ship from any damage in order to save more human souls. We try to keep the Church that is 'with no speck or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and faultless' and do our best not to allow any compromises with faith. We are happy every time we hear other spiritual leaders share our conviction." LN/BR/