Following his meeting with Patriarch Daniel and the Permanent Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church on Friday afternoon, Pope Francis drove to the National Cathedral in Bucharest where he was welcomed by thousands.
Welcoming the pope at the entrance of the new Orthodox Cathedral, the Patriarch of Romania briefly presented the current construction works.
The believers applauded warmly when the two Christian leaders entered the cathedral for a short prayer and Easter songs.
Patriarch Daniel, in his welcome address to the pope, thanked for the for the support that constantly given to the Romanian Orthodox believers in Italy and in other countries, ‘where the Roman Catholic Church made available to the Romanian Orthodox communities 426 places of worship, 306 in Italy and 120 in other Western European countries.’
The faithful in the cathedral applauded enthusiastically when the patriarch concluded his welcome address by repeating his wish to the pope, “Ad multos annos!” (“May you live many years!”).
Ending his speech, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel presented the pope with a mosaic icon depicting Saint Andrew the First-Called, who is considered the Patron Saint of Romania and of the National Cathedral.
Pope Francis then spoke and explained what the Our Father can mean for Catholic and Orthodox believers as they journey together to unity.
‘That prayer contains the sure promise made by Jesus to his disciples: “I will not leave you orphaned” (Jn 14:18), and gives us the confidence to receive and welcome the gift of our brothers and sisters.’
After reciting the Our Father in Latin and singing Catholic Easter songs, Patriarch Daniel led the congregation in praying the Lord’s Prayer in Romanian.
Pope Francis was impressed by the Orthodox Byzantine choir Tronos singing the Katavasia of Pascha and other Easter hymns.
While exiting the Cathedral, Pope Francis bade farewell from the crowd addressing them the paschal greeting Christ is risen in Romanian: Hristos a înviat!
Photography courtesy of Lumina Newspaper / Mihnea Păduraru
Basilica.ro / Raluca Ene