15 November 2018, The Tablet

Pope to visit next year, says Bucharest archbishop

The Pope is to visit Romania in 2019, according to a senior church leader, but will not take part in joint liturgies with its Orthodox Church, owing to worsening ecumenical ties since St John Paul II’s pilgrimage in 1999. 

“When John Paul II was in Romania, there was a very good relationship with Patriarch Teoctist, which the Pope was happy with,” said Archbishop Ioan Robu of Bucharest, vice-president of the country’s bishops’ conference. “Today, I do not imagine it will be possible to hold joint liturgies and prayers. Since 2008, things have changed in the Orthodox Church – the current Patriarch Daniel has not encouraged a presence at Communion and prayer services with Catholics or other confessions.”

The archbishop unveiled plans for the visit in an interview with Italy’s ACI Stampa news agency at the close of the Romanian bishops’ ad limina Rome visit. He said details of the Pope’s itinerary were being negotiated with the Romanian government.

Meanwhile the Vatican confirmed the dates of the Pope’s visit to Morocco next year. At the invitation of King Mohammed he will visit the country on 30-31 March, and the trip will take in Rabat and Casablanca.

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