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Home arrow newsitems arrow New Russian Ambassador Soltanovsky to EF on CoE Entry 20th Anniversary: Renew Trust via Culture+?

New Russian Ambassador Soltanovsky to EF on CoE Entry 20th Anniversary: Renew Trust via Culture+?

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 24 February 2016
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/-  Can "Dialogue" and "Culture" help restore much needed "Trust" at the PanEuropean area through CoE, as New Russian Ambassador/Permanent Representative Ivan Soltanovsky told "Eurofora" that he hoped to help develop in Strasbourg ?

 

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He  said that after opening, earlier Today, together with CoE's Secretary General Thornbjorn Jagland,  a landmark Exhibition resuming 20 Years of PanEuropean dimension for the CoE, since the Historic accessionn of Russia, back on 1996, (to which "Eurofora"s co-Founder had the chance to assist : See relevant Publications at "TCWeekly" from those unfprgetable events, including a brief but topical statement that gave us the f. Foreign Minister Yevgeni Primakov, etc).

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On this occasion, official letters exchanged between Jagland and the Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, were made public, in which CoE's re-elected Chief, a former Prime Minister of Norway and Nobel Peace prize Committee Chair, stressed Russia's role as "an Indispensable member" of the "Pan-European Community" for "Dialogue and Cooperation", as well as the "Vital role" it played "over the years" "in shaping CoE's responses to New Realities on the Continent"., since its accession, which "was an important milestone in the Pan-European  reach of our organisation", (and "not just a Romantic" but also a Real-Politic issue, as he added, smiling).

 

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Lavrov reminded from the outset that CoE's enlargement to Russia "eliminated Dividing Lines inherited from the "Cold War" era",  and expressed the "Hope" that, "in the present Challenging situation of our Continent", CoE's role could be "Strengthened", as "one of the Pillars of European Architecture", also in view of "creating a Common Economic and Humanitarian space, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean", with "Equal and Integral Security". In particular, CoE's activities are demanded mainly in 3 Fields: "Human Rights, including Protection of National Minorities and eradication of statelessness" ; "Countering Extremism, Aggressive Nationalism, Racial and Religious Intolerance" ; and "developpment of Youth Cooperation, InterCultural Dialogue", as well as "preservin the Identity of European Civilisation".


Both didn't elude critical points for discussion : F.ex. Jagland mentioned "NGO Legislation", while Lavrov pointed at "double standards and selective attitudes that undermine (CoE's) ...principles".


In this context, the experienced New Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Russia, who served for several years also as Head of the Foreign Ministry department for European/International Organisations, (including, f.ex., OSCE, etc), stressed to "Eurofora" that his main aim in coming tp serve at the CoE in Strasbourg is, most of all, to contribute into "Restoring Trust".


In parallel, Ivan Soltanovsky would also like to "Open a Dialogue", including "with the ECHR",  including both Human Rights and other CoE's key issues Today.


At another, differend point, he didn't shy away from an "Eurofora"s question about the current prospects for an eventual rapprochment or cooperation of PanEuropean CoE also with China, at least in certain areas of common interest, (which is the only UNO Security Council's permanent member without an official Status at the CoE, while, on the contrary, both USA and Canada, etc. have been granted a Special Status, precisely, since Russia's Accession, already as early as since back on 1995-1996). In this regard, "I know that I have to pay an official visit", as New Ambassador, "also to the Japanese representation", he observed, and smled surprized when "Eurofora" reminded him that he should also do the same about Mexico...


But, perhaps one among the most Important Factors for the Saint-Petersbourg born, European-minded Russian diplomat, was, Today, "Culture", (as also his Wife enthousiasticaly agreed).

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Indeed, already, it's 2 superb Musical pieces of Piano (one from a Western and another from a Russian compositor), played by the Young Galina Zhukova, a Professor of Music at Saint Petersburg, whch opened the official Inauguration of the Exhibition for the 20th Anniversary of Russia's accession to the CoE, (after a weekly tour of concerts that she was invited to hold mainly in France).

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And it's a beautiful, Modern Painting picturing a cosy Moscow square full of Lights and Trees, where People could feel good to meet and exchange after daily work, as it was pointed out, that Russia gave as a Gift to the CoE.

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Obviously, all this Fits well with Lavrov's above mentioned, concluding reference on CoE's particularly "demanded" potential, also about "Preserving the Identity of the European Civilisation".


(+UPDATED:) A move which was, later-on, spectacularly boosted also by the subsequent Liberation of Palmyra, a key UNESCO's World Cultural Treasure, from the Extremist Islamist Terrorist of ISIL's atrocious BeHeaders, even of Defenseless and innocent Civilian People, which was notoriousy obtained by Syria with the Help of Russian special forces. Evenmore when the Restoration of the (partly Destroyed by Explosions) Historic Monuments of Palmyra is due to be realized by the World-Famous Saint Petersburg "Hermitage" Museum Experts, as it was anounced shortly afterwards.


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Meanwhile, the 1996-2016 Exhibition opened Today at CoE's Committee of Ministers' anti-chamber, added, in parallel, a spectacular Historic overview of Key Events and Political Personalities who marked, in one way or another, the End of the 20th and the Beginning of the 21st Century by developing a real and fully-fledged Pan-European Dimension through the CoE:


Artfuly associating Authentic Documents, Texts and Original Photos (from Press Agency "Tass" or CoE's Archives) on Historic Pan-European events, with High-Tech "3D" Digital Representations of nowadays Russia, this Exhibition on the "20th Anniversary" of what was probably the Longest ever Accession process in CoE's History, topicaly revives Memories of Hopes for Stable Peace, really fruitful Cooperation (including on High-Tech, Air-Space, Education or other Strategic areas), and a Strong "Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals" Mountains, as former long-time French President De Gaulle notoriously used to say.

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From Grobatchev's dreams about the creation of "a Common European House", together with the then CoE's Secretary General Catherine Lalumiere, (with whom "Eurofora"s co-Founder started to work at the PanEuropean Press Sector), to former Foreign Minister Primakov's sober but sharp figure during and after Russia's Accession into the CoE, (which brought us also the USA, with a Special Status : Comp. Supra), through Yeltsin's jokes with Chirac and Kohl, particularly at the 2nd Heads of State/Government Summit back on 1997 in Strasbourg, which eyed the creation of a "Trilateral" Top Link between Franco-German and Russian Leaders, (both accompagnied by Lenni Fischer's Presidency of CoE's influential Parliamentary Assembly : Comp. various Fischer's INTW to "Eurofora"s co-Founder, published then mainly at "TCWeekly"), followed, long afterwards, up to the 1st ever Presidency of the CoE by Russia on 2006-2007, with the unforgetable Ambassador Alexander Orlov, and Foreign Minister Lavrov in full diplomatic action, from Strasbourg to Moscow and vice-versa, as well as to the 2008-2009 etc. cooperation of so Differend Political Personalities such as CoE's former Secretary General Terry Davis (a Socialist) and CoE Assembly's President Réné Van der Linden (a ChristianDemocrat) with Russian President Vladimir Putin, followed by his notorious Friend Dmitry Medvedev after the beginning of the Jagland era at the Head of the CoE, (including on 2011, etc), which extended until now to various Jagland - Putin meetings (f.ex. on 2013, etc) until recently, (with the omni-present Vladimir Loukine, inter alia also Human Rights' representative of Russia, almost always strolling around several key events, from Strasbourg - both at the CoE and EU Parliament- to Paris, Moscow or Kiev, etc: Comp. various Loukine statements to "Eurofora"s co-founder through the years), without forgetting Dumas' President Naryshkin's 2015 Hommage to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the Liberation from NAZIsm on 2015, which was celebrated both in Moscow and at the CoE in Strasbourg, (Comp. Naryshkin replies to "Eurofora" Questions at another occasion and NewsReport on the 2015 Liberation Anniversary event here), etc.

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However, the most unforgetable Human figure for us is that of someone that we were positively surprized to find among the 20th Anniversary Exhibition's Photos :  The 1st Ambassador/permanent Representative of Russia to the CoE, Yevgeny Prokhorov, who had been atrociously killed in an ill-elucidated crash of his car against a Tree in his way Home after several CoE and Embassy meetings, including one with the then Secretary General Daniel Tarschys from Sweden, to which we had participated, together with a few other Journalists, and where Prokhorov was so kind that he had even offered us his own chair, that we obviously declined, thanking him. Prochorov was a hard nut to crack and start speaking to, before mutual Trust could be established, but after that, he was a Wonderful and Efficient Diplomat for useful Press Contacts, with a good Human personality, and he had just been elected as future ECHR Judge for the next 9 Years.

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But, back on 1998, in the middle of the so-called "S300" Defensive Sol-Air Missiles' Crisis between Cyprus and Turkey, (particularly disliked by the Turkish Military for their Long range Radar capacities, able to cover all Cyprus, without being Hindered by the continuing illegal Occupation of part of its Territories by Ankara's Foreign Invasion Army since 1974), which had been bought from Russia by the long-time former Cypriot President Clerides, (an experienced ChristianDemocrat who promoted the island's Accession into the EU and afterwards  supported a "Yes" Vote for a controversial Plan attributed to former UN SG Koffi Annan, but in fact prepared by others in teh aftermath of 9/11, even if it was rejected by a 2/3 Majority at a Popular Referendum), i.e. in an exceptional Context of Tension, when even CoE's Officers asked us, (as simple Journalist in Strasbourg !) if we knew how Cyprus planned to Import the S300 Defense Missiles, while turkish Warships were Blocking Transports, at the same moment that a Turkish collegue from Strasbourg, visiting the Island had just published that Nicosia would try  to bring those Machines in small pieces due to be re-assembled afterwards, (etc), the Russian Ambassador was burn alive in strange circumstances.


It was a unique and unprecedented incident, without anything similar ever happening neither in Strasbourg, nor in Brussels or in Geneva, etc. We knew well the Road where he was killed : It was just a very Quiet and Safe pathway, to the point that, in the Past, we had used it in order to show to our Small Child how to drive a Bicycle ! But it was also quite Isolated, and, overNight may be a bit spooky. What is important were the many interesting and accurate Facts about the concrete circumstances in which the deadly car incident really took place, which were described to us, in an exclusive INTW, by the only known then 1st Hand key Witness : the Chief of the FireFighters' team which arrived on the spot to erase the Fire and try to get the Driver out of the Burning Car which had, for Unknown yet reasons, crashed on a Tree at the side of the road, curiously without even leaving any traces of attempts to put a Brake in order to avoid that, (something which, nrmaly, was easy and natural). Most of this INTW (which took place even Before any Official Investigation from the local Authorities starts, the Firefighters' Chief having told us that we were the 1st person to whom they spoke on that incident) was published at the Press Agency MPA.


But what wasn't yet ever published at all, was a Strange Event which followed, shortly afterwards : Suddenly, in the Biggest Local Newspaper of Strasbourg, the "DNA", was published a Short mention of that Tragic Incident, exceptionaly, not by one of its own Journalists, but signed by a former Collegue, a Free Lance Journalist from Bulgaria, who was sometimes covering the CoE here, sometimes working in Brussels or elsewhere, either for the Press or in the Translation business. Astonishingly, that small Article claimed, (without any known proof), that the Victim would have been too "drunk", clearly insinuating that  this might explain everything. However, when we had seen Ambassador Prokhorov, some Hours before, he was absolutely sober and efficient-looking. Moreover, when we asked the Writer of that Strange Article how she knew whether the Victim has been "drunk" as she claimed, or not, she revealed us that, in fact, she personaly didn't know, neither had ever seen anything of that kind, but, that, on the contrary, she had been told that by a former Director of CoE's protocol, who was, then, the most High-graded CoE Official from ...Turkey !


I.e. the Country whose regime was, then, notoriously ready to do Anything in order to Hinder that Russia - Cyprus cooperation on the Defensive Missiles "S300", including in Strasbourg or anywhere else, (Comp. Supra): An obvious Contradiction of Interests, (a "Crisis" at that moment), which obviously makes the Lobby which spread such Rumors against the Victim, particularly Untrustworthy and even Suspect.


Naturaly, we don't know art  all whether any key information related to that "S300" Defensive Missiles' Crisis of 1998 might have arrived, or not, in Strasbourg, but these Strange Facts (which have not been published before), deserve to be known by the Public and all those interested in that exceptional Tragic and ill-elucidated affair, do that it was our Duty not to conceal them.

(../..)
 

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("DraftNews", as already send to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors, earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version might be Published asap).


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Benedict's "Source" to revitalize Europe : - "The World needs Hope", Pope says, calling to relaunch E.U. via Human Rights !

Paris - Lourdes - Strasbourg : 12 - 17 September 2008.

The vital need to re-launch Europe can be succesfully met by defending fundamental Human Rights of the People, said Pope Benedict XVI in his 1st speech in France, at his meeting with President Nicolas Sarkozy, who currently chairs the EU.

Sarkozy replied by welcoming Christian and other religions' contribution to indispensable Public Debates on crucial issues which affect Human Dignity, Europe, even Humankind, as BioGenetics.

- "When Europeans will see and personally experience that the inalienable Rights of the Human Person .., those of their free Education, their Family life, their Work, ..their Religious Rights, ..are respected and promoted, then, these Europeans will fully understand the greatness of the European construction and will be actively involved in it", Benedict XVI stressed.

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- "It's important that during France's EU Presidency, there is, indeed, a desire for the Church to contribute to protect Human Person's integrity, and I think that there is also a growing Conscience, beyond any polemics, to defend Human Rights, and, thus, contribute to ensure respect for Human Dignity", added to "EuroFora" the Pope's Spokesman, Vatican's Press Director Federico Lombardi.

- "Nobody really told us here that Lisbon Treaty was good for this or that reason to the People. They only told us that we "had" to ratify it, and tried to scare us, but failed", said 2 Irish pilgrims to "EuroFora", after 2 Majority Abstentions in 1999 and 2004 EU Elections and 3 "NO" to Referenda in France and the Netherlands in 2005, followed by the Irish "No" in 2008, during a Decade of EU Crisis since the controversial Turkey EU- bid (1999-2008).

More than .."224 cases of Murders, Torture, "Disappearancies" or Destructions" by "agents of Turkish Security forces", where all those responsible for so heavy Crimes still remain scandalously unpunished, despite regular condemnations of Ankara by Strasbourg''s European Court of Human Rights from 1996 to 2008, were examined the same week by CoE's Ministers, who decided to launch a fresh call "urging" the Turkish Authorities to end this dangerous "virtual Impunity" of criminals, without comparison to European countries.

- "Why not Ukraine, instead of Turkey ?", asked EuroFora a Journalist from "Kiev : the city where it's enough to cross the streets in order to realize that it's a European town", as Sarkozy recently said, before solemnly declaring this week, together with Ukranian President Jushenko and EU Commission's chair Baroso, EU's "recognition that Ukraine is a fully European Country, linked to Europe by culture and History".

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Europe's "Christian roots" and Values, with "openess and mutual respect" to other cultures and beliefs, were highlighted by Sarkozy in harmony with Benedict XVI.

The Human person should be protected "from his inception until his natural death", added the Pope, faithful to BioEthic principles defended by his predecessor and collaborator, John Paul II, of topical importance in France, Europe and the World today, as Sarkozy announced :

- "Fast and important progres in Genetic Science and procreation raise delicate BioEthical Questions to our Democracies", which "involve our view of Humans and Life, and can lead to Social Mutations. That's why they cannot remain only a business of experts", hestressed.

- "It's Politician's responsibility to set a proper framework for such Public Debates", as "France will do on BioEthics in 2009". "Religious and Philosophic traditions must take part, with their ideas and centuries' long experience : A positive Laicity is an open invitation to Dialogue", he said.

- "France engaged in Europe at another Debate on how to make Financial Capitalism more moral", and the "Social doctrine of the Church fits well what is at stake in modern Globalized Economy"

- "But, a "Real Dialogue is not for an elite of a Globalized world : It penetrates deep into the People : That's why Churches should actively participate : .. It's bringing New Oxygen to Public Debates", stressed Sarkozy.

- "Democracy must not be cut off Reason", which is "compatible with Faith", thanks to "the meeting between Christianism and Greek philosophy ", he added, referring to Pope's views. "It means to advance with logic arguments, search what's best and respect common principles of thinking :... It's an everyday need for Public Administration and the Political Debate", he added.
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Pope Benedict's 1st visit to France looked like the start of a brillant, manifold demonstration that this was well-founded and could become true in the lives of the People : After its Theoretical foundations unfolded at a "speech to the world of Culture", inaugurating Bernadins' cultural centre, and its dogmatic instrument shaped at an address to the Clergy in the Historic Notre Dame' Cathedral, he started to resolutely reach out to the People :

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The move went upwards like Bach's music : Begining with a call to more than fifteen thousand enthousiastic Youngsters gathered at Notre Dame's parvis with overnight celebrations, it gained strength in an impressive open-air Mass at Paris'central Invalides'area facing Alexander III's bridge, attended by more than 150.000 people, French Prime Minister Fillon, many Ministers, Foreign Ambassadors, etc, and culminated in a series of pan-European Mega-meetings at Lourdes 150th anniversary, together with all French Bishops, EU Commission's vice-Chairman Barrot, and some 200.000 enthousiastic People from all over Europe and beyond : After a Sea of Lights astonishingly braved Saturday Night's rain, an open-air mass at riverside fields among Pyrenees' Mountains Sunday Morning, was followed on Monday by a Sea of "Compassion" to those facing Health or Life threats, surrounded by an endless gathering of People, whose gigantic dimensions obviously surprised the organisers..

Meanwhile, Benedict had the occasion to speak to the French Priests at Notre Dame of Paris, and with the Bishops at Lourdes, where they prepare a crucial November plenary meeting, due to take important decisions on imminent EU debates and choices about Europe's identity, BioEthics, etc.
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- "A new way of thinking about Laicity has become necessary", agreed the Pope with President Sarkozy at Elysee. While keeping the "distinction between Politics and Religion, to guarantee Citizens' Liberty", "religion is important for shaping Consciousness and contributing, together with others, to create a basic Ethical Consensus in society".

- "Searching Essential realities", (as "God" for christians), needs "Speech : "Logos" in greek, i.e. Reason", "able to shape a Community","with creative work transforming Human History". But "Dialogue" is instrumental for "Reason", because it's the way to "search" for Truth", in "Liberty", according to Greek Platonic Philosophy, with Socrates' dialectics. "Reason" implies "Spirit and Liberty", hence the polyphonic "Music" of "Dialogue", in a responsible, "well balanced" way, to avoid "destruction".

Starting with a "Dialogue between christians and intellectual or artistic movements" highlighted at Bernardins' Cultural Center. with former Presidents Chirac and Giscard d'Estain, UNESCO's chair Anastassopoulos, etc., as well as representatives of Muslim Communities, (including a separate Turkish), after contacts with Jews at Vatican's Embassy, the Pope turned towards the People :

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To French Priests : "Church built on the rock" !
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- Speaking to thousands of French Priests at Notre Dame's Cathedral, Benedict highlighted a solid "Church built on the Rock" of conscious and active persons, transmitting "a lively, energetic and sharp" "God's Speech, actively working on Human History".

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"Praying together" with "representatives of Christian Churches and ecclesiastic communities", (as Orthodoxes, Armenians, Protestants, etc), he called "to reinforce the Unity of the church", against "any form of Division", around Holy Spirit', "the Word","Christ's Justice", and "Love" to fellow- humans : Essentials which "resume all holy scripts", as he said.

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To Young People : "New Horizons"
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To some 15.000 enthousiastic Young People at Notre Dame's parvis, along Seine's river, Benedict spoke about "the Energy of the Holy Spirit" and "the Mystery of the Cross" : - "The Holy Spirit opens New Horizons to Human Intelligence .. and makes it conscious of the real greatness of Christ's sacrifice, dying and resurecting for World's life".

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Some "may slander you as crazy, laugh at you, or even persecute you. But, "the Holy Cross is a symbol of God's love", and "givesmoral strength" : "Witness of People's pains, it's at the same time, a precious, unique expression of their Hopes", he told them at Paris' dawn.

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Invalides' plateau : "People chosen to become God's friends"
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At the 1st open-air Mass in Paris' center area of Invalides, facing the Grand Palais, along the river Seine, during an impressive gathering of more than 150.000, French Prime Minister Fillon, Ministers Alliot-Marie, Bachelot, Dati, Jouyet, Assembly's President Accoyer, Senate's Chair Poncelet, former 1st Lady Bernadette Chirac, former Prime Minister Raffarin, many foreign Ambassadors, and other political personalities were present. (While earlier, from the Socialist opposition, Paris' Mayor Delanoye, artist Robert Hussein a.o. assisted at the Elysee meeting).

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But the "Entry Song" focused on the "People chosen to become God's Friends". The September 11 mass was Dedicated to "Saint Chrysostomus, that great priest of Constantinople", with his "wonderful eloquence and great courage to face challenges", who "made out of despaired and godless people, a people of brothers", opening a possibility to "become all one complete entity", as Pope Benedict reminded.

- "Reason never enters in real contradiction with Faith", stressed Pope Benedict, who prepared his speeches for France during a short Summer rest at Brixen/Bressanone's Seminar, whose Library honors both "Faith and Science".. - "We must use not only our Reason, but also our Faith" : "Get away from Idolatry", "cupidity", "avidity for money, power or even knowledge deviating from essential aims", and other "falses appearances". and "build your Home on the Rock", "with the force that Holy Spirit gives to those who let it act in them", he said to the People of Paris.

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Benedict at Lourdes : - "Become Light (even) in the Dark !"
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- "Our World needs Hope", stressed Pope Benedict, addressing an impressive TorchLight procession at Lourdes' sanctuaries, where a Sea of Lights held by Hundreds of Thousands of People gathered at Pyrenee's Mountains from all over Europe astonishingly kept their flames despite a heavy Rain at a windy Dark Night...

- "150 years earlier (1858 - 2008), ..here, in the cave, ... a simple young girl, Bernadette .. saw a Light". "The everyday life of her Family was, however, made of Misery, Sadness, Sickness, Misunderstandings, Rejection and Poverty... It was hard to live in Jail". Today, "we think to all Human Beings who suffer : The innocent Victims who face Violence, War, Terrorism, Hunger, Injustices, Catastrophes, Hate and Oppression, Violations of Human Dignity and of their fundamental Rights, of their Liberty to act and think. We also think to those who face Familial problems, sufferings from Unemployment, Sickness, Infirmity, Isolation, or their situation as Immigrants, without forgetting those who suffer and die for the name of Christ", he said.

- "But the Shadows of the Earth, did not hinder Sky's Light to shine : <<The Light shines in the Dark>>" ..."A Way full of Light opens in Human History even in its Darkest moments" : ..."As Night falls, Christ tels us : <<- Keep your Lamps alight !>>."Hold a Light while walking in the Night .. sums up our condition as Christians on their way : "We need light, and we are called to become Light !", Benedict stressed to People setting in motion Lights, Flags and Songs with enthousiasm.

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"<<- She looked at me as a Person, who speaks to another Person>>, the poor girl had noted."Light emerges from such a Dialogue", stressed the Pope : "A small Flame called Hope, Compassion and Tenderness dwells inside those who return after being moved by Lourdes' experience". "Christ .. entrusts us with the Mission to let the Light of Charity shine : To make of our Prayers an Act of Love to our brothers and to Fraternal Charity", he concluded.

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(../..)

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