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The President gave the Pope a hand-made New Testament published in 2008 and a letter from Patriarch Daniel.
President Basescu paid an official visit to the Vatican on Friday, being welcomed by Pope Benedict XVI in his private library. At the end of the talks Basescu stated that he had a unique meeting that will remain in his heart for the rest of his life, being convinced he will never experience a similar feeling ever again: “The meeting with Pope Benedict XVI will remain a sentimental, not a political event, in which I met a man, a Pope, stronger than the one I met in 2008 at the Gandolfo Palace. I had the feeling that I had before me a Pope that had but one message: “I want you to be good.” A man whose words, intelligent phrases, were only saying that he has something to communicate for the future,” the Head of State said, being quoted by Mediafax. “The fact that my visit was not cancelled made me understand Pope Benedict XVI’s respect for ecumenism. I understood the hand extended by Catholic Christians to Orthodox Christians. I gave Pope Benedict XVI the message of Romanian Catholic and Orthodox Christians. A message of solidarity, respect, a message of understanding,” Basescu added. He stated he had the honor of meeting one of the contemporary world’s greatest theologians and philosophers. “And I have the feeling that the 47 exceptional books he wrote are only the beginning. The feeling of today’s meeting is that I met a Pope better than us all and ready to impart his goodness forever,” the President added.
In what concerns the relations between Romania and the Vatican, Basescu pointed out that they are excellent and “have a high frequency and at the highest level and it couldn’t have been otherwise so long as the Vatican, through the voice of Pope Benedict XVI, has supported the Romanians living in Spain, Italy, France and in other countries.”
At the end of the meeting, Traian Basescu and Pope Benedict XVI exchanged gifts, the Head of State receiving from the Pope an anniversary medal. In his turn, the President gave the Pope a hand-made New Testament published in 2008, pointing out that this book is important for the Orthodox religion in Romania, being done under the supervision of the Patriarchy. “It’s an extraordinary gift, thank you. My gift is somewhat smaller,” Pope Benedict stated. At the same time, Basescu gave the Pope a message from the His Holiness Daniel, the Romanian Orthodox Church’s Patriarch. The Presidency did not disclose the contents of the message. After meeting the Pope the Head of State met secretary of state Tarcisio Bertone. At the same time, he laid a bouquet of flowers at the San Pietro Basilica and observed a moment of silence at the grave of Pope John Paul II.
Meeting Romanians in Italy
Traian Basescu also met on Friday the representatives of the Romanian community in Italy, at the Romanian embassy in Rome. According to a communiqué posted on the Presidency’s website, Basescu told them that “after the Romanians’ sacrifices in 2010” Romania is currently economically stabilized and has no problem borrowing the money it needs to pay off its debts. According to the Head of State, the level of debts in Romania is one of the lowest in the EU, “because for the past two years we haven’t taken a single Euro from the EU or from the Fund. We are making agreements, but we are not taking the money because we can handle it on the market.” In conclusion, he stated that Romania will “definitely” not have a recession this year. “It will register economic growth, of course not as high as we would have wanted (…) but Romania is moving forward,” the President pointed out.