Pope Francis will find a very different Romania from the one John Paul II saw in 1999

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The pope will travel to Romania from May 31 to June 2 to foster relations with the Orthodox community as well as meet Catholics from various traditions. 

The situation is very different from that which John Paul II encountered in 1999. When he traveled to the country, the then patriarch Teoctist accompanied him in various ceremonies; and both the Orthodox and Catholic faithful greeted them in the streets asking for unity. 

Spokesperson, Catholic Archdiocese of Bucharest

“Now he will find a Romania very different from that of twenty years ago.”

At present, the Vatican's relations with Daniel, the new patriarch, aren't as warm. In spite of this, the pope will meet him and will give a speech before the main authorities of the Romanian Orthodox Church. 

Spokesperson, Catholic Archdiocese of Bucharest

“The Catholic sensibility is that of wanting to bear witness to the faith together. It is a matter of our Catholic identity, Latin, Eastern, Greek or even Orthodox, and not about growing at the expense of others or in opposition to others.”

Interestingly, during this trip the pope will visit four cities to meet pilgrims from all of Romania's Catholic traditions. 

Spokesperson, Catholic Archdiocese of Bucharest

“Romanian speaking Latin-rite Catholics; Hungarian speaking Latin-rite Catholics in Transylvania, at the Marian shrine of Sumuleu Ciuc; and also Catholics of the Greek-Catholic Church martyred during communism, which the communists tried to erase, which will be visited in Blaj.”

On the last day in Blaj the pope will beatify 7 Greek Catholic bishops that were persecuted and martyred, during the Soviet repression. They had refused to break with Rome or cease Catholic worship in Romania. Subsequently they were all threatened, arrested and murdered between 1950 and 1970. 

The motto of Pope Francis' journey is “Let's Walk Together.” It is an invitation to the Orthodox community of the country, but also to the Romanian Catholics who adhere to many various traditions. 

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