The civil and religious history of Slovakia has been written with the contribution of heroic and dynamic witnesses of the Gospel. My wish is to pay grateful tribute to them all.
I am thinking of course of the glorious brothers from Thessalonika, Saints Cyril and Methodius, the Apostles of the Slavic peoples. To these we now add Bishop Vasil' Hopko and Sister Zdenka Schelingová. All of them have left behind a rich harvest of good in the Slovakian cultural heritage. The history of this land indeed can be seen as a history of faithfulness to Christ and to his Church.
In the near future your country will become a full member of the European Community. Dearly beloved, bring to the construction of Europe's new identity the contribution of your rich Christian tradition! Do not be satisfied with the sole quest for economic advantages. Great affluence in fact can also generate great poverty.
Only by building up, not without sacrifices and difficulties, a society respectful of human life in all its expressions, that promotes the family as a place of reciprocal love and growth of persons, that seeks the common good and is attentive to the needs of the weakest, will there be guarantees of a future based on solid foundations and rich in goods for all.
My desire is to embrace - at least in spirit - all the sons and daughters of Slovakia, together with the representatives of national minorities and of other religions.
Please know that the Pope is thinking of each one of you and is praying for you all.
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