Sts. Cyril and Methodius Unite Catholics and Orthodox

Celebration Remembers First Slav Pope, John Paul II

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ROME, MAY 16, 2005 ( The Greek Embassy to the Holy See organized a liturgical celebration in honor of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, the evangelizers of the Slav peoples and co-patrons of Europe.

The ceremony last Wednesday was presided over by Metropolitan Archbishop Gennadios of the Greek-Orthodox in Italy, also exarch for Southern Europe, who prayed for the protection of the saints of Salonika, Greece, who are buried in Rome, and whom he described as «light of the Slavs.»

Some 100 people, the majority diplomats representing countries evangelized by the two saints, participated in the annual celebration, which has taken place since 1986.

In his address, Stavros Lykidis, Greece’s ambassador to the Holy See, alluded to «the memory of the roots of our religious, cultural and ethnic identity.»

He mentioned John Paul II, «first son of the great Slav nation clothed in the highest dignity of Roman Pontiff,» and his apostolic letter «Egregiae Virtutis,» which he dedicated to the brothers of Salonika.

Archbishop Piero Biggio, responsible for relations with Greece, Cyprus and Turkey, represented the Vatican State Secretariat at the ceremony.

Archbishop Biggio told ZENIT that «we are always seeking Christian unity and there certainly has been progress in what the Lord desires, which is ‘that they all be one.'»

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