Pope Benedict XVI

The Christian faith is indissolubly intertwined with the history of Europe, and moves toward the political unity of the continent will fare better if its Christian roots are kept in mind, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope made this reflection when he addressed today delegations from Bulgaria and Macedonia, together with their delegations. The delegations’ visit to the Pontiff has become a tradition to celebrate the co-patrons of Europe, the brothers Sts. Cyril and Methodius, celebrated May 11 in the East and Feb. 14 in the West.

Bulgaria was represented by the chairwoman of the national assembly, Tsetska Tsacheva, and a Catholic-Orthodox delegation from the country.

“These two great saints remind that [Europe’s] unity will be firmer if it is based on [its] common Christian roots,” the Holy Father said. “In fact, in Europe’s complex history, Christianity represents a central and determinant element. The Christian faith has molded the culture of the Old Continent, and is indissolubly intertwined in its history.”

The Bishop of Rome emphasized the need for Europe to grow spiritually. And he said that the unity of the continent “represents a prospect of great hope.”

“Europeans are called to commit themselves to create conditions of a profound cohesion and an effective collaboration between nations,” he said. “To build the new Europe on solid bases it is not enough to appeal solely to economic interests, but, rather, it is necessary to begin from authentic values, which have their foundation in the universal moral law inscribed in every man’s heart.”

Macedonia was represented by its president, Gjorge Ivanov.

VATICAN CITY, MAY 23, 2011 (Zenit.org)