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Pope to beatify martyrs during visit to Romania

VATICAN (CNS): During his May 31 to June 2 visit to Romania, Pope Francis will beatify seven bishops of the Eastern-rite Romanian Catholic Church, who were martyred during a fierce anti-religious campaign waged under the communist regime, and stop at six destinations, including a popular Marian shrine in the Transylvanian region.
 
His visit to the predominately Orthodox country will be his 30th foreign trip after visiting Morocco in late March and Bulgaria and Macedonia in early May.
 
The pope is slated to visit the capital, Bucharest, the cities of Bacau, Iasi, Sibiu, Blaj and the Marian shrine in Sumuleu Ciuc, a neighbourhood of Miercurea Ciuc and an important place of pilgrimage for Hungarian Catholics, especially on Pentecost, which is on June 9.
 
The trip will include visits to the Romanian Orthodox and Roman Catholic cathedrals, celebration of a Latin-rite Mass and an Eastern-rite Divine Liturgy, as well as separate meetings with political leaders, young people and families, as well as members of the Roma community.
 
The overwhelming majority of Romania’s 20 million inhabitants—almost 82 per cent—say they belong to the Romanian Orthodox Church, led by Patriarch Daniel. About six per cent identify as Protestant and over four per cent as Catholic, belonging either to the Romanian Catholic Church—an Eastern rite—or the Latin rite.

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