Saturday, February 24, 2007

President of Romania pledges to pursue religious tolerance

LONDON - 23 February 2007

The Embassy of Romania in London and The Three Faiths Forum held a reception recently to mark the accession of Romania to the European Union and the forthcoming Third European Ecumenical Christian Assembly in Sibiu, Romania, European Capital of Culture 2007, in September, writes Peter Jennings.

The reception was hosted by Mrs Raduta Matache, Chargé d'Affaires at the Embassy of Romania and Sir Sigmund Sternberg, co-founder, The Three Faiths Forum. The Papal Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Faustino Sainz, was among the guests.

Mrs Matache read a special message from the President of Romania, Traian Basescu, in which he stressed that membership of the European Union: "Will give to Romania the opportunity to confirm its European vocation and to strengthen its determination in the pursuit of democracy and religious tolerance."

Mrs Matache welcomed Princess Elena and her husband, Alexander Nixon, to the reception. Princess Elena is the daughter of King Michael I of the Romanians, who is now aged 85 and lives in Switzerland. Deposed by the communists on 30 December 1947, he is the last surviving head of state from the Second World War. King Michael I is a great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria.

In a message read on behalf of the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, leader of the Church of England delegation to the Assembly in Sibiu, emphasised: "There is no flourishing democracy or functioning market without a firm moral and ethical foundation. People of all faiths need to be working hard at the project of building such a foundation for the future of Europe."

Mr Wolfgang Ischinger, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, that currently holds the Presidency of the European Union, warmly welcomed Romania and Bulgaria, its newest members.

© Independent Catholic News 2007

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