The Greek-Catholic Bishop of Cluj-Gherla, Right Reverend Florentin Crihalmeanu, has said on Friday that the visit of Pope Francis to Romania, scheduled to take place in May 2019, has been postponed due to the EU summit in Sibiu on May 9. The visit will still take place, but most likely sometime in July-September, ‘Știri de Cluj’ reports.
“What we know at the moment is that a visit will be paid to Romania. We know that the visit was scheduled for May, but given the May 9 summit, the government and presidential administration have said they could not organise two close visits. As a result, at the end of this month, the Apostolic Nunciature is to tell us how the Pontiff Sovereign’s visit has been established or reprogrammed. What we know is that the visit is not only in Bucharest, but also in other important cities in our country, but the schedule is not yet set. Of course I want to bring him to Cluj … ,” Bishop Florentin Crihalmeanu said.
The same website reads that sources from the Diocese of Cluj-Gherla say the Pope’s visit to Cluj is almost sealed, but some details are still to be agreed upon in relation with the Government.
Cardinal Francesco Monterisi was present in Cluj for several days to attend the unveiling of Cardinal Iuliu Hossu’s statue in the city, and he has met the authorities. Monterisi has attended on Friday the unveiling of the busts of Metropolitans Nicolae Ivan and Bartholomew Anania, in front of the Metropolitan Cathedral.
According to the sources, the delegation from Rome had the purpose of organizing the Pope’s visit in 2019.
Pope Francis is the second Pontiff Sovereign to visit Romania. The first one was Pope John Paul II in 1999. He was the first Pontiff sovereign in history to visit an Orthodox majority country since the great schism of 1054.
At the time, Pope John Paul II said he was glad to visit Romania, which he called the “Garden of the Virgin Mary”.
In May 2018, reacting to the information revealed by the Romanian PM Viorica Dancila, during her meeting with Pope Francis in Vatican, that the Pontiff Sovereign will pay a visit to Romania next year, the spokesperson of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bucharest, Francis Dobos, said that the announcement of such a visit was to be made simultaneously by the Holy See and the Romanian Presidency.
PM Viorica Dancila invited Pope Francis to pay a visit to Romania during the visit paid to the Vatican in early May and the Pontiff Sovereign said “I will come at the beginning of next year.”