02/15/2004, 00.00
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Christian Europe: a laboratory for Eastern and Western unity

Vatican City (AsiaNews) -  Once again, prior to the Angelus, John Paul II has addressed the reality of Europe's Christian roots and the impossibility of uniting the eastern and western halves of the Continent, when only bearing in mind economic criteria. 

While in just a few months the European Union will admit some Eastern Europe countries (like Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, etc.), Christian Europe has been united in faith for centuries. This experience has allowed for an integration to occur among faith, culture and law and has made Europe a "laboratory" where "meaningful and lasting values have been established for all nations".

Below we report the pope's words spoken before the Angelus (translation by AsiaNews).


"Yesterday, Feb. 14, we celebrated the feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, the apostles of Slavic nations and Europe's patrons along with St. Benedict the Abbot. Evangelizing the Continent's eastern-central regions, these saints made lasting contributions in order to make Christian Europe walk well on its own two feet, both in the East and the West. In effect, just as it is impossible to think of European civilization without the work and heritage of the Benedictines, we cannot disregard the evangelizing and social work of the two holy Brothers of Salonika.    

During the last few months some Eastern European countries, where Sts. Cyril and Methodius carried out their work, have been involved in the political integration process throughout the continent. They are nations of a particular cultural and spiritual wealth: in these countries Christianity has made extraordinary efforts to bind people together cohesively, despite their peculiar characteristics.

Sts. Cyril and Methodius methods of evangelization thus have served as a model, whose work was inspired by the idea to unite the new believers in Christ, adapting the Slavic language to liturgical texts and Greco-Roman law to the customs of new peoples. (cf. Enc. Slavorum Apostoli, 12-13).  

The meeting of the Gospel with various cultures has made Europe a "laboratory" where meaningful and lasting values have been established for all nations. We pray so that, even in our time, Christ's universal message entrusted to the Church will be a light of truth and a source of justice and peace for all nations of the Continent and whole world.

We beg for the Virgin Mary's intercession and that of all the saints who are called patrons of Europe."  

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