05/29/2019, 16.48
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Pope coming to Romania ‘as a pilgrim and brother’

Francis issued a video-message to the people of Romania on the eve of his visit to the country (31 May- 2 June). On Sunday, seven bishops martyred by the former communist regime will be beatified.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis issued a video-message to the people of Romania on the eve of his visit to the country from 31 May to 2 June.

In it, the pontiff says, “I come to Romania, a beautiful and welcoming country, as a pilgrim and brother". He highlights "The bonds of faith which unite us”, in particular “the bond which united Peter and Andrew" who brought Christianity to the country.

"Blood brothers, they shed blood for the Lord. And among you there have been many martyrs, even in recent times, such as the seven Greek-Catholic bishops whom I will have the joy of proclaiming Blessed.

“What they have suffered for, to the point of offering their lives, is too precious a legacy to be forgotten. It is a common heritage that calls us not to distance ourselves from the brother who shares it.”

"I come among you to walk together. We walk together when we learn to keep our roots and our family, when we take care of the future of our children and of our brother who is close to us, when we go beyond fears and suspicions, when we let the barriers that separate us from others fall."

During his visit to the Balkan nation, the Holy Father will stop in Bucharest, Bacău, Șumuleu Ciuc, Iași, Sibiu, and Blaj. This is his fifth trip outside of Italy in 2019.

At the briefing presenting the trip, Vatican Press Office interim director Alessandro Gisotti stressed the ecumenical nature of the visit to the predominantly Orthodox country where the Catholic Churches - Latin and Greek Catholic - were suppressed by the communist regime in 1948.

It is against this background, that on Sunday in Blaj, Transylvania, Francis will beatify seven bishops who were imprisoned and killed.

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