Vatican City (Monday, 09/22/2014, Gaudium Press) On September 20, Pope Francis received Latvia’s president, Andris Berzins, in a private and warm audience for about 20 minutes. The President presented the Pontiff with a formal invitation to visit his country in 2015, for the celebration of the 800 anniversary of the consecration of Latvia as “Terra Maria”.
|Pope Fracis receives Latvia’s President Andris
Berzins in the Vatican.
(Photo Presidency of Latvia)
This historic consecration was made ??by Pope Innocent III and it is recorded in a book that the President offered to Pope Francisco, which also gives an account of the evangelization of the country. Pope Francis, in return, offered President Berzins with a bas-relief in bronze representing the “Angel of Peace” and two copies of the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium.
In an official statement of the Republic of Latvia, published on September 19, mention is made to the invitation to Pope Francis and to an international conference on the anniversary of the consecration. The invitation is also extended to the Secretary of State of the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who met with President Berzins right after the audience with the Holy Father.
“Relations between Latvia and the Holy See are very good and stable, with a rich history,” described the Latvian government. And also added that “the role of Pope Francis is much appreciated in the world” and highlights the fact that “the Holy See was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of the Republic of Latvia after its creation in 1918”, and that the Catholic Church “has never recognized the incorporation of the Baltic countries in the USSR”. These reasons Latvia is particularly thankful to the Holy See since the gradual recovery of its independence in 1991 (GPE / EPC / AH)