17 March 2013, 16:11

Pope Francis sends 1st tweet as @Pontifex

Pope Francis sends 1st tweet as @Pontifex

Delegations from 180 countries to attend Pope's enthronement Top-level delegations from 180 countries will attend the enthronement of Pope Francis I, scheduled to take place on March 19 at the Vatican. The ceremony is to be attended by Royals from Britain, Spain and Belgium. The U.S.

Delegations from 180 countries to attend Pope's enthronement

Top-level delegations from 180 countries will attend the enthronement of Pope Francis I, scheduled to take place on March 19 at the Vatican.

The ceremony is to be attended by Royals from Britain, Spain and Belgium.

The U.S. will be represented by Vice-President Joe Biden, Argentina - by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Brazil - by head of state Dilma Rusef.

The Russian delegation at the inauguration of the new Pope will be headed by State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin.

Pope Francis: all Vatican senior administrators will remain in their posts for now

Pope Francis said Saturday that he's decided that the heads of the various Vatican offices will keep their jobs for now, but he's not making any definitive appointments.

Francis wants "a certain period for reflection, prayer and dialogue before [making] any definitive nomination or confirmation," the Vatican statement said.

The official Mass to inaugurate Francis as the bishop of Rome - and leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics - takes place Tuesday.

More than 150 foreign delegations are expected to attend the ceremony, among them and headed by is the Russian State Duma spokesperson Sergei Naryshkin and US Vice President Joe Biden.

On March 20 Pope Francis will meet with the representatives of other Christian churches. Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople and Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church are among them.

'I would like a poor Church, and for the poor' - Pope Francis

Pope Francis, giving his clearest indication yet that he wants a more austere Catholic Church, said on Saturday that it should be poor and remember that its mission is to serve the poor. Francis, speaking mostly off-the-cuff and smiling often, made his comments in an audience for journalists where he explained why he chose to take the name Francis, after St. Francis of Assisi, a symbol of peace, austerity and poverty.

He called Francis "the man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man", and added: "Oh, how I would like a poor Church, and for the poor."

Since his election on Wednesday as the first non-European pope in nearly 1,300 years, Francis has signaled a sharp change of style from his predecessor, Benedict, and has laid out a clear moral path for the 1.2-billion-member Church, which is beset by scandals, intrigue and strife.

He thanked the thousands of journalists who had covered his election but invited them to "always try to better understand the true nature of the Church, and even its journey in the world, with its virtues and with its sins".

He urged journalists to seek "truth, goodness and beauty" in the world and in the Church.

Francis has set a forceful moral tone and given clear signs already that he will bring a new broom to the crisis-hit papacy, favoring humility and simplicity over pomp and grandeur.

He recalled how on Wednesday night, as he was receiving more and more votes in the conclave, the cardinal sitting next to him, Claudio Hummes of Brazil, comforted him "as the situation became dangerous".

After the voting reached the two-thirds majority that elected him, applause broke out. Hummes, 78, then hugged and kissed him and told him "Don't forget the poor", the pope recounted, often gesturing with his hands.

"That word entered here," he added, pointing to his head.

While the formal voting continued, the pope recalled: "I thought of wars .... and Francis (of Assisi) is the man of peace, and that is how the name entered my heart, Francis of Assisi, for me he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects others."

It was the latest indication that the pope wanted the worldwide Church to take on an austere style.

On the night he was elected he shunned the papal limousine and travelled on a bus with other cardinals. He went to the Church-run hotel where he had been staying before the conclave and insisted on paying the bill.

Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, has also urged Argentines not to make costly trips to Rome to see him but to give the money to the poor instead.


Orthodox flock of Rome: hopes are high for the new Pope

The Russian Orthodox parish in Rome has high hopes for cooperation and dialogue with the new Pope Francis, Father Antoni Sevruk, rector of the Russian Orthodox Church of Saint Catherine the Great Martyr in Rome, told the Voice of Russia.

The Saint Catherine Church at the Russian Embassy is a ten-minute walk from the Holy See and enjoys the warmest ties with its Catholic neighbors, says Father Antoni.

"I had a chance to meet with former Pope Benedict XVI a couple of times, and I particularly remember our last meeting when Benedict asked me a lot about our Church and community, social and charity work. I saw that he was really into it. Actually, the windows of his study overlooked the Saint Catherine Church."

Recently, the number of Orthodox communities has grown in Italy and now they account for about 60.

The country doesn’t have that many Orthodox churches but Catholic priests are always happy to provide a venue for Orthodox services.

Now Orthodox believers are a little bit concerned about potential changes linked to the new Pope.

Francis is said to read Dostoevsky and has often visited Orthodox services in the Russian Orthodox Annunciation Cathedral in Buenos Aires. The Pontiff is also known as an advocate of the Orthodox Church in Argentine’s government, says Father Antoni.

"People are now anticipating the Pope’s first homily scheduled for Sunday. Sure, we need time get to know the new Pope better. We have every hope that he will continue Benedict’s polices in terms of interreligious dialogue."

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk will head the delegation of the Moscow Patriarchate at the enthronement of the Pope Francis. The ceremony is scheduled for March 19.

On March 20, the new Pontiff will meet his guests from the Moscow Patriarchate.

Pope Francis to visit predecessor Benedict XVI on March 23

Pope Francis will visit his predecessor Benedict XVI on March 23 for the first time since his election, the Vatican said on Saturday.

The new pope, former Argentinian cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, will travel by helicopter to the papal summer residence Castel Gandolfo where Benedict has been staying since his historic resignation last month.

The two men will have lunch together at the residence outside Rome, the Vatican said.Benedict, 85, last month became the first pope to resign for 700 years when he ended his eight-year reign saying he was no longer up to the rigours of the job.

Francis was a surprise choice in this week's conclave triggered by Benedict's resignation.The two men know each other well. Bergoglio, 76, is believed to have been runner-up to the German in the 2005 election.

‘I took the name of Francis of Assisi’ – Pope Francis

Pope Francis says that at the conclave that made him Pontiff he rejected a choice of proposed names and named himself after Francis of Assisi, who was a great champion of the poor and peace.

He spoke about this at an audience with some 5,000 international reporters held at the Vatican on Saturday.

His Holiness also said that one of the cardinals at the conclave specifically urged him to mind the world’s poor.

Ahead of the audience, the Vatican’s press service said the Pope sees the media as an instrument of evangelization.

Voice of Russia, AFP, TASS, RIA, CNN

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