Pope John Paul II received Vladimir Voronin, president of the Republic of Moldova, the first encounter between the Pontiff and the top authority of the new Eastern European nation and the successor of Peter.

Moldova is one of the smallest and more densely populated countries of the former Soviet Union. Is also one of the most stable economically and politically. 

“The country that you represent,” said the Pope during the audience,  “has recently obtained freedom and therefore seeks support in order to overcome the inevitable difficulties, especially at the beginning.” 

“Moldova, given its location on the border between the Latin and Slavic worlds, must use dialogue as an essential instrument of action so that concrete possibilities of peace, justice and well-being flourish,” he added.

 “The Catholic community, although small in terms of numbers, is actively involved in this process.  I would like to emphasize that the Church in Moldova to carry out its evangelizing and charitable mission and that the State recognizes its juridical nature.” 

“It is essential that, without prejudice against anyone –the Pontiff concluded, - dialogue between the State and the Catholic Church continue in a fruitful way for the benefit of all of Moldavian society, while respecting the norms of democracy and the equality of all religious confessions.”