Pope Francis Reflects On His First Trip To The Balkans

Tags: Currents Bulgaria, Macedonia, Middle East, Mother Teresa, Pope Francis, Vatican, World News

Currents News Staff

As is usual every time he returns from an apostolic journey, Pope Francis dedicated his General Audience to remembering his visit to Bulgaria and North Macedonia.

In Bulgaria he visited the throne of Ss. Cyril and Methodius, two great evangelizers from the nation.

“Even today there is a need for passionate and creative evangelizers,” he told the crowd in St. Peter’s Square, likening the legacy of Byzantine theologians to today’s Christian movement.

“This is so the Gospel may reach those who do not yet know it and may irrigate again the lands where ancient christian roots have dried up,” he said.

In North Macedonia, one of the most special moments for the Pope was his visit to Skopje, the birthplace of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. While there, he was impressed by the tenderness of the Missionaries of Charity to the most needy.

“They do it with tenderness,” he said of the religious congregation’s work with the nation’s poorest.

“Any times we Christians lose this dimension of tenderness, these sisters are sweet in tenderness and are charitable. They are charitable as it should be, without disguising it. However, when charity is done without tenderness and without love, it is as if we add a glass of vinegar to the works of charity,” he said.

Pope Francis also noted how North Macedonia has received hundreds of refugees from the Middle East.

Before concluding his General Audience, the Pope dedicated a few words in memory of Jean Vanier, who recently died.

Vanier founded the L’Arche communities, which take care of those with disabilities, which are present in more than 30 countries.