LVIV, Ukraine, JUNE 26, 2001 ( At a beatification Mass this morning, John Paul II appealed for the reconciliation of Slavic peoples, beleaguered by years of Communist and Nazi persecution and religious differences.

The Pontiff proclaimed two beatifications in the Lviv Hippodrome, in the presence of 300,000 people, according to the police -- 600,000, according to press agencies. An additional 28 beatifications on Wednesday will help mark the high point of his historic five-day trip to Ukraine.

One hundreds bishops concelebrated at today´s Mass. Many of them came from Hungary, Austria, Kazakhstan, Romania, Poland and Croatia.

Thousands of pilgrims from Poland -- about 60 kilometers (38 miles) away -- also attended. These regions of western Ukraine were part of Poland until World War II. Even today, most Ukrainian Catholics of the Latin rite are of Polish origin.

During the homily, delivered from a large platform in which the altar was placed, the Pontiff asked those present to "recognize the infidelities to the Gospel of not a few Christians of both Polish and Ukrainian origin living in these parts."

"It is time to leave behind the sorrowful past," the Holy Father said. "The Christians of the two nations must walk together in the name of the one Christ, toward the one Father, guided by the same Holy Spirit, the source and principle of unity."

"May pardon given and received spread like a healing balm in every heart," he continued. "May the purification of historical memories lead everyone to work for the triumph of what unites over what divides, in order to build together a future of mutual respect, fraternal cooperation and true solidarity. Today, Archbishop Jozef Bilczewski and his companions, Pelczar and Szeptycki, exhort you: Be united!"

To emphasize these values, the Pontiff proclaimed two new blessed, known for their charity.

Jozef Bilczewski (1860-1923), archbishop of Lviv of Latin-rite Catholics, "came to the aid of the needy, for whom he nurtured such a love that even beyond death he wanted to be with them, choosing to be laid to rest in the Janow cemetery in Lviv, where paupers were buried," the Pope said.

The other new Ukrainian blessed is Zygmunt Gorazdowski (1845-1920), founder of the Congregation of the Jozefitki Sisters.

The Holy Father referred to his "extraordinary charity [that] led him to dedicate himself unstintingly to the poor, despite his precarious health. The figure of the young priest who, disregarding the grave risk of infection, moved among the sick people of Wojnilow, and personally prepared for burial the bodies of those who had died of cholera, remained in the memory of his contemporaries as a living sign of the merciful love of the Savior."

The Pope continued: "And to you, who now stand with these generous servants of the Gospel, seeking to carry on their mission, I say: do not be afraid! Christ does not promise an easy life, but always gives the assurance of his help."

While in Lviv, John Paul II stayed in the archbishop´s palace of St. George, expropriated by the Communist regime from the Catholics, but returned by the government for the papal visit.

In the afternoon John Paul II had a special meeting with Ukrainian youth.

On Wednesday, the Pope will preside over 28 additional canonizations of martyrs. He returns to Rome in the afternoon.