Preserve and Strengthen Christian Roots of Europe


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(22 May 10 - RV) Preserve and strengthen the Christian roots of Europe was Pope Benedict XVI's call to delegations from Bulgaria and Macedonia.

The Pope received the Prime Minister of Bulgaria and then the speaker of parliament of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, this morning for the Solemnity of Saints Cyril and Methodius, patrons and evangelists of the Slav peoples of Europe.

In his address to the Delegation from Bulgaria Pope Benedict emphasized the relevance of the teachings of Holy Brothers of Thessaloniki for society today. Bulgaria, he said, "is called to be faithful and preserve the precious heritage that unites all those, both Orthodox and Catholics, who profess the same faith":

He said "As Christians, we must preserve and strengthen the intrinsic link between the Gospel and our respective cultural identities, as disciples of the Lord, in mutual respect of different church traditions, we are called to witness to our common faith in Jesus in who we achieve salvation. "

The Pope noted it is important "not to undermine what is authentic in different cultural traditions." Instead, he stressed, "because faith in Jesus shows us the splendour of Truth, it gives man the capacity to recognize true good."

The Pope then spoke about the extraordinary work of evangelization of Saints Cyril and Methodius

"Through tireless work of evangelization, implemented with true apostolic zeal, Saints Cyril and Methodius providentially rooted Christianity in the soul of the Bulgarian people, so that it is grounded in gospel values, which always reinforce the identity and enrich the culture of a nation. "

Speaking to the delegation from Macedonia, the Pope focused on the fruit of Saints Cyril and Methodius who always trusted in God:

"They knew suffering, deprivation and hostility, but endured all with invincible hope and unwavering faith in God." "In the trials and joys - the Pope said - they always felt God's presence"

Finally, looking forward to the Feast of Pentecost on Sunday he concluded: "According to the outpouring of the many gifts of the Holy Spirit, the more we love and we give ourselves to others, the more the Spirit can come to the aid of our weakness, showing us new ways forward."