Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák on Wednesday, November 14, invited Pope Benedict XVI to Slovakia on behalf of the government. Lajčák was taking part in an official visit to the Vatican.
“We would like to see him next year, when we [Slovaks] celebrate two important anniversaries – the 20th anniversary of the current state’s existence, and the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of Ss Cyril and Methodius to our territory,“ Lajčák said, adding that Slovakia would accept any timing for the visit that was convenient for the Pope. Lajčák also handed over an invitation from Prime Minister Robert Fico to the state secretary of the Holy See, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, to attend the beginning of the Ss Cyril and Methodius celebrations.
Lajčák said that the Vatican was ready to discuss the issue of the current Slovak state holiday marking Our Lady of Seven Sorrows (September 15), the TASR newswire reported. The Slovak government wants to abolish some of the country's existing state holidays in order to boost economic output. It proposes that if this religious holiday, which commemorates the patron saint of Slovakia, falls on a workday, it could be celebrated on the following Sunday.
Lajčák said that he explained the issue to his partners in the Vatican and received the answer that the Holy See is willing to discuss the matter and try to find a compromise. The day's status as a state holiday is part of a treaty signed between Slovakia and Vatican, TASR wrote.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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