BRATISLAVA, January 12, (WEBNOVINY) — On the second day of his visit to the Vatican, Slovak Foreign Minister Mikulas Dzurinda was received by the head of the Roman Catholic Church. After a general audience on Wednesday, he officially invited Pope Benedict XVI to visit Slovakia. Dzurinda handed over to the Holy Father a gift from Slovaks, two crystal candleholders. The pope knew that next year Slovaks will celebrate the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of the Saints Cyril and Methodius to the territory of their ancestors and also knew that Slovaks would be grateful if he pays an apostolic visit to Slovakia next year, reported Dzurinda. The Holy Father thanked for the official invitation. Next year’s itinerary of pope’s visits is not known but the pope has not yet visited Slovakia since he entered office. His predecessor, John Paul II visited Slovakia three times.
Benedict XVI confirmed that Slovakia and the Holy See have good relations. In 2011, ten years will pass since the signing of the fundamental treaty between Slovakia and the Vatican. Dzurinda is visiting the Holy See at the invitation from his Vatican counterpart.
The Slovak foreign minister has also met with Dominique Mamberti, the Secretary for Relations with States of the Roman Curia. The two spoke about the tenth anniversary of the signing of the fundamental treaty with the Holy See and the path both countries passed since the act was sealed. Slovakia should have signed four partial agreements but so far only two of them were sealed – on education and pastoral service in the armed forces. After their approval, the Slovak government approved similar agreements also with other registered churches in Slovakia. The agreements on objections of conscience and funding of churches are waiting to be agreed-upon. The first was the reason why the second government of Mikulas Dzurinda fell apart in 2006.