Skopje, North Macedonia, May 7, 2019 / 00:54 am
Speaking to North Macedonian authorities Tuesday, Pope Francis commended the country for its tradition of peaceful coexistence among its variety of cultures and religious and ethnic communities.
The country's patrimony is "the multiethnic and multi-religious countenance of your people, the legacy of a rich and, indeed, complex history of relationships forged over the course of centuries," he said May 7 at the Mosaique Hall of the presidential palace in Skopje.
Speaking to the authorities, civil society, and the diplomatic corps, Francis noted it is the first time a pope has visited North Macedonia. He pointed to the land's time under both the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, calling it "a bridge between East and West and a meeting-point for numerous cultural currents."
"This crucible of cultures and ethnic and religious identities has resulted in a peaceful and enduring coexistence in which those individual identities have found expression and developed without rejecting, dominating or discriminating against others," he said.