On the occasion of the Day of Pan-Slavic Educators, St. Cyril and St. Methodius, Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi had an audience with Pope Francis on Wednesday, where he emphasized the cooperation between Macedonia and the Holy See, saying both countries have unbreakable historic ties based on common historic, cultural and religious traditions.

“There is broad potential for enhancement of this partnership, both in bilateral and international terms, especially through the National and University Library “St. Clement of Ohrid” in Skopje and the Vatican Library, the countries’ archives, as well as by signing a bilateral agreement in the field of university education,” said Xhaferi.

He added that North Macedonia is a multiethnic, multicultural, and multi-confessional country, with a long tradition of interreligious tolerance and fostering of confessional freedoms, whereas religious communities and groups enjoy a high degree of mutual cooperation.

On his part, Pope Francis highlighted the importance of unity in the efforts to bring Europe together.

Macedonian Parliament Speaker presented the Pope with a very valuable gift from the Republic of Macedonia – the icon The Holy Mother – an Unwithered Rose, originating from the Eastern Macedonian village of Novo Selo. The copperplate icon was created on the Atonic Holy Mountain (Greece) in 1837, by Antim of Peloponnese, the most famous engraver and typographer of the 19th century Atonic Holy Mountain. The icon is the only preserved piece of this iconographic type.