Update6: 150,000 people greet Pope Francis during first day of historic visit in Romania

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Update 20.10h: The Inter-ministerial Committee for Security ‘Pope Francis’ visit in 2019 Visits’ states that more than 150,000 people attended the public events in Bucharest, during Pope Francis’ visit on Friday.

Update 19.47h: Pope Francis headed for Revolution Square, being saluted by the pilgrims gathered in large numbers in the streets despite the rain. The sovereign was cheered and applauded.

Update 18.00: Pope Francis has officiated the Divine Liturgy at the cathedral “St. Joseph” of the Roman-Catholic Archdiocese of Bucharest. Pope Francis was applauded by thousands of Romanians on arrival by popemobile, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cathedral in Bucharest.

Update 17.20: Pope Francis held a speech in Italian in front of a large audience in the national Redemption Cathedral. Pope Francis said the prayer Our Father in Italian.

Update 17.00h: Pope Francis has arrived at the National Redemption Cathedral and was welcomed with flowers, with bread and salt. The Pope saluted: “Christ is risen!” He was applauded by the pilgrims.

The Pontiff Sovereign was welcomed at the Cathedral by President Klaus Iohannis, Princess Margareta and Prince Radu, PM Viorica Dancila, ministers Ana Birchall, Carman dan, Ecaterina Andronescu, the speakers of the two chambers of Parliament, by former presidents of Romania, former Pm Victor Ponta and PNL leader Ludovic Orban.

Update 15.40h: Pope Francis arrives at the BOR Patriarchal Palace to have a private meeting with Patriarch Daniel and the Synod of the Orthodox Church. He is to deliver the second speech of the day.

The schedule on Friday includes:

15:45h – private meeting at the Patriarchy Palace;

16:15h – meeting with the BOR Synod and speech;

17:00h – prayer in the Orthodox Cathedral;

18.10h – Liturgy Mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cathedral. Sermon of the Holy Father.

Update 13.40h: Pope Francis has left the Cotroceni Palace after saluting the crowd present in the courtyard.

He is to meet in the afternoon the BOR Patriarch Daniel, at the Patriarchy Palace.

Update 13.20h: Pope Francis delivers speech at Cotroceni Palace, in the presence of President Klaus Iohannis and of all former presidents of Romania, except for Ion Iliescu. Attending the moment were also Romanian sports legends footballer Gheorghe Hagi, pugilist Leonard Doroftei (former world champion) and fencer Mihai Covaliu (former Olympic champion).

In his speech, President Klaus Iohannis has conveyed a message to Pope Francis, that Romanian society is responsive to his calls for solidarity and responsibility.

Update 12.25h: Pope Francis has arrived at Cotroceni Palace, being welcomed by President Klaus Iohannis and his wife Carmen Iohannis. The Pontiff Sovereign will have talks with the Romanian head of state and with Prime Minister Viorica Dancila.

At the welcoming ceremony were present the Chamber of Deputies Speaker Marcel Ciolacu and Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu.

Pope Francis has saluted the guard of honour: ‘Buna ziua!’ (Good Day).

The ceremony was attended also by children and youngsters from the National Students’ Council, the National Alliance of Students, children with the ‘Madrigal’ and ‘Campus Mundi’ choruses, scouts and the National Council of Deaf in Romania.

Update 11:33h: Pope Francis’ airplane has landed on Henri Coanda (Otopeni) Airport at 11.09h. Several thousand people have been waiting at the airport to welcome the Pontiff Sovereign, chanting ‘Vivat Papa’ and ‘Welcome’. Hundreds are waiting in the area of Kiseleff Blvd.

President Klaus Iohannis and his wife Carmen Iohannis have welcomed Pope Francis at the airport.

Pope Francis is accompanied by Cardinal Pietro Parolin – State Secretary, Kurt Koch – President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Giovanni Angelo Becciu – Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Leonardo Sandri – Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches.

Pope Francis was also welcomed by the Apostolic Nuncio in Romania – Miguel Maury Buendia, and by members of the Conference of Bishops in Romania, headed by Monsignor Ioan Robu, Metropolitan Archbishop of Bucharest.

The ceremony was attended by Metropolitan Nifon, Archbishop of Targoviste, and delegate of Patriarch of the Bucharest Orthodox Church (BOR) Daniel.

09. 20h: Pope Francis is to arrive in Romania on Friday, for a historic visit during May 31 – June 2. The apostolic visit of Pope Francis in Romania takes place twenty years after the visit paid by Pope John Paul II, in 1999, and is to take place under the urge ‘Let’s Walk Together’.

09:17h. The plane took off from Fiumicino Airport and will land on Otopeni Airport at around 11:30h.

08:50h. Pope Francis boarded the plane to Bucharest. Upon boarding the Alitalia aircraft, the Pontiff sovereign was the protagonist of a funny moment: when he turned around to greet those who remain at home, the mantle was blown by the wind and covered his face. The Pope smiled and then boarded the airplane.

Pope Francis will visit Romania during May 31-June 2 and will be present in Bucharest, Iasi, Blaj and Sumuleu Ciuc.

On Friday, upon arrival in Romania, Pope Francis will be welcomed by President Klaus Iohannis at Henri Coanda International Airport (Otopeni) at 11:25h, the official reception ceremony at the Cotroceni Palace will take place at 12: 05h.

Pope Francis’ visit to Romania is a historical and long-awaited one for thousands of people, and drastic security measures have been implemented for the event, and pilgrims are recommended to cooperate with volunteers and organizers.

Photos: TVR 1 public television captures

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