Virtual Papal Visit Spurs Cheers in Moscow Cathedral

From the Vatican, a Satellite Linkup to 6 Countries

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 3, 2002 ( John Paul II´s visit-by-video to a Moscow cathedral prompted a five-minute-long burst of applause from the 1,000 young people gathered to watch him on three gigantic screens.

A multi-city connection by satellite put the Pope in touch Saturday afternoon with youth in Moscow; Valencia, Spain; Athens, Greece; Strasbourg, France; Budapest, Hungary; and Vienna, Austria.

John Paul II presided over the event from Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, accompanied by 8,000 people. Most of them were university students, with whom he prayed the rosary before the image of the Virgin of Loreto.

In Moscow´s Catholic cathedral, Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz called out: «Holy Father, we await you in Moscow!»

John Paul II, on his end, responded in Russian, «Da svidania.»

With the video meeting, the Holy Father aimed to encourage the youths to build a new Europe, inspired by the religious and cultural heritage of Christianity.

«Only new men and women can renew history,» the Pope said. He believes that the construction of a new society is a key challenge posed by the upcoming World Youth Day in Toronto. He invited his young listeners to attend that July 18-28 event.

The Bishop of Rome appealed to his young listeners to promote «the dialogue between faith and culture in the universities, so that the leaven of the Gospel will stimulate and sustain university research and study spiritually and morally.»

Shortly before the Holy Father´s arrival, a white-haired university professor from Moscow offered his testimony to the young people gathered in the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, as well as to those listening via satellite.

Anatoly Fiodorovic Jotov, philosophy professor at Moscow State University, recalled that in September 2000 he was in Rome for the Jubilee celebration of university professors.

«I then understood to what degree it is dangerous for science to be devoid of ethics,» he said. «Scientific thought, deprived of its moral foundations, produces a yet more terrifying monster than the dream of reason.»

«Precisely for this reason, I asked the Church to be baptized,» the professor said.

The virtual meeting with the Pope was preceded in the Russian cathedral by a concelebrated Mass presided over by Archbishop Kondrusiewicz and dozens of priests.

The Russian archbishop made an appeal for Christian unity. He explained that the euro demonstrates that unity is possible in economic and political terms, but that it should take place first and foremost in the name of spiritual values.

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