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Dear People of Romania,

In my thoughts and in my heart I am already among you, as I look forward to coming soon to your country and visiting a land illustrious for its civil and ecclesial traditions.

I rejoice as I think of meeting my dear and venerable brother, His Beatitude Patriarch Teoctist and the Bishops of the Holy Synod, the priests, deacons, religious and all believers.

I also eagerly look forward to embracing the beloved sons and daughters of the Catholic Church, both Latins and Greek-Catholics, their beloved Pastors and all the faithful.

I take this opportunity to greet His Excellency the President and the authorities of the State, who have the challenging yet exciting responsibility of guiding the Romanian people to the conscious and mature exercise of the fundamental value of freedom.

All of you, men, women and children, the elderly, the sick and the young people of Romania, the Pope of Rome embraces you!

I shall come to you with a desire to proclaim once more, together with your Pastors, the Gospel message which has had, and continues to have, immense importance in the history, the culture and the religious life of the Romanian people. I come, not to propose empty and short lived illusions, utopias which cannot endure or sterile arguments about earthly power, but only Him who is God's Truth, Jesus Christ our Lord, who died and rose again for the salvation of the world. I look forward to seeing you soon!

From the Vatican, 6 May 1999


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