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Wednesday, June 20, 2018, 

PM Zaev to attend audience with Pope Francis

PM Zaev to attend audience with Pope Francis

Skopje, 25 May 2018 (MIA) – Macedonian PM Zoran Zaev is attending an audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday.

Later in the day, the Macedonian PM is scheduled to meet with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy See's Secretary of State.

PM Zaev is heading an official Macedonian delegation to the Holy See to pay respects to Ss. Cyril and Methodius.

The delegation includes Vice-premier and Minister of Internal Affairs Oliver Spasovski; Culture Minister Robert Alagjozovski; State Secretary at the MFA Viktor Dimovski; Dane Taleski, foreign policy aide to the Prime Minister; and Director of the Commission for Relations with Religious Communities and Groups Darijan Sotirovski.

Yesterday, the Macedonian and Bulgarian delegations, led by PMs Zoran Zaev and Boyko Borissov respectively, attended a religious service and laid wreaths on St. Cyril's tomb at the Basilica of San Clemente in Rome, Macedonia's government said in a press release. 

The education mission of St Cyril and his brother Methodius has a special place in the history of Macedonia, as well as in the historical, spiritual heritage of other Balkan nations, such as the case with Bulgaria, Zaev said.

‘By joining our activities to celebrate the holy Cyril and Methodius, we reaffirm our sincere friendship and send to the world the humane message of the scholar’s mission for dialogue and mutual understanding,’ Zaev said.

Their mission is among the first to advocate an interconnection of various cultures and respect of diversities, a value we still cherish today, Zaev said.

Borissov noted the two brothers' role in the field of diplomacy.

"Coming here in front of the memorial plaque to Ss Cyril and Methodius, the place where our alphabet was consecrated, we have come back to diplomacy. I would describe the two brothers as diplomats.’ Borissov recalled how Cyril and Methodius convinced Pope Adrian II that the Slav alphabet was not inferior to other writing systems.

Bulgaria and Macedonia have shown that holidays should be celebrated together, rather than cause discord, he said.

Ss. Cyril and Methodius are credited with creating the Glagolitic alphabet that was used to translate the Bible in the Old Slavonic language and spread across Central and Eastern Europe.

Their work was essential to creating the Cyrillic alphabet now in use throughout much of Eastern Europe, and this earned them the title of Apostles to the Slavs and co-patron saints of Europe. mr/lk/16:21

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