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Pope celebrates 200 years of Eparchy with pilgrims from Slovakia

At the height of the Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis met with more than 1,300 Slovak pilgrims at the Vatican to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Prešov Eparchy, which for the past 10 years has been a sui iuris metropolitan see of the Greek-Catholic Church in Slovakia. 

Msgr. Ján Babjak thanked the pope for his welcome and explained that since the founding of Eparchy, Slovak Christians have suffered greatly. The pope then addressed them.

"The Greek-Catholic Church in Slovakia can be considered an expression of the beauty of the variety of ecclesiastical life forms, of that variety which 'does not harm the unity of the Church, but manifests it.'”

Pope Francis asked the Slovak pilgrims to take the example of the goodness, peace, humility and simplicity of the martyred bishops Peter Pavol and Vasil' Hopko and Metod Dominkin Trcka.

“You are worthy children of the evangelization carried out in full fidelity to the Apostolic See by the saints Patrons of Europe Cyril and Methodius.”

The pope explained to them that their Eparchy “has become the mother of a new ecclesial family.” They prayed together a Hail Mary in Slovak.

After observing for a few moments the image of the Blessed Mother that was given to him, the pope imparted the final blessing, bidding the pilgrims farewell.