Friday, March 27, 2015

Pope Francis to Visit Temporal Seat of the See of St. Stephen

Vatican City 27 March 2015 (ORCNS) - Pope Francis will make a pastoral visit to Florence, Italy, the traditional temporal seat of the Traditional Old Roman Catholic Patriarchate of St. Stephen, on the 10th of November this year. Florence was part of the Margraviate* of Tuscany, a sub-division of the Kingdom of Italy in Charlemagne's Holy Roman Empire, the temporal "arm" of the Church. Before its collapse, the Margraviate's territory included Parma, Piacenza, and Brescia. Florence then grew into a powerful City-State, with rule eventually consolidated in the powerful Medici banking family. They were made Dukes of
Florence by the Pope and eventually Grand Dukes of Tuscany. Under the Napoleonic era, from 1801-1807 the region was known as the Kingdom of Etruria. (Both Etruria and Tuscany refer to the same region and derive from its ancient inhabitants, the Etruscans.)  The Holy Roman Empire was forced into dissolution in 1806. After the fall of Napoleon in 1815, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany was revived as a satellite of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It eventually was annexed into the new Kingdom of Italy and now is a province within the Italian Republic. The patrimony of Etruria and its capital of Florence is perpetuated today as a treasured legacy of the Patriarchal See of St. Stephen. That legacy descends from the earliest Margraves of Tuscany and Kings of Italy in the Holy Roman Empire. The visit of Pope Francis to this important Italian city coincides with the 5th National Ecclesial Congress of the Italian Episcopal Conference, held 9-13 November. The theme of the Congress is "A New Humanism through Jesus Christ."

* A Margraviate, or March, is a territory similar to a Duchy, often in a border region. It is ruled by a Margrave (feminine, Margravine). The title of Margrave is also the origin of the French title of Marquis and the Italian title of Marchese.  

Pope Expresses Solidarity with Families in Iraq and Nigeria

Vatican City, 27 March 2015 (VIS) - Pope Francis has a constant concern for the situation of Christian families and other groups of victims who have been expelled from their homes and villages, particularly in the city of Mosul and the Nineveh plains, many of whom have taken refuge in the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan. The Pope prays for them and hopes they can return and resume their lives in the lands and places where they have lived and built good relationships for hundreds of years.

In this coming Holy Week, these families are sharing together with Christ the unjust violence of which they have been made victims, participating in the suffering of Christ himself.

In a desire to be close to these families, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, is returning to Iraq as a sign of nearness, affection, and unity in prayer with them.

The families of the Diocese of Rome, united with their bishop in the feeling of nearness and solidarity with these families, through a special collection in the parishes, are sending the traditional Easter cakes in the shape of a dove (colomba cake) to share the joy of Easter and as a herald of good based on the faith in the Resurrection of Christ.

The Holy Father, moreover, makes himself present in a concrete way with a tangible sign of solidarity. Not wanting to forget the suffering of the families in northern Nigeria either, he has also sent a similar sign of solidarity through the local Bishops? Conference.

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