Roman Catholic leaders from Yugoslavia have held a church ceremony in the coastal town of Porec to mark the end to anomalies in state and church borders between Italy and Yugoslavia.
Roman Catholic leaders from Yugoslavia have held a church ceremony in the coastal town of Porec to mark the end to anomalies in state and church borders between Italy and Yugoslavia. For many years, there have been disagreements over the borders, and it was not until last October, with help from Pope Paul VI, that a common border was agreed upon.
SYNOPSIS: Porec, a picturesque town in Istra on the Adriatic coast, was the setting for the service. People from all parts of Istra attended the ceremony on Sunday (9 April), held in the Euphrasium Basilica built in the sixth century.
The historic church is famous for its inscriptions and mosaics, that have been dated as from the 4th century.
Many in the congregation had never had a chance to worship together before. The north of the Istra province had been divided since the end of World War II. One section was under Yugoslav Army jurisdiction, while the other was policed by Allied Forces administration, and more recently by Italian officials.
The Pope's special representative in Belgrade, Monsignor Michele Cechini, opened the service, speaking in Serbo-Croat.
The agreements on a borders were signed by the Italian and Yugoslav parliaments last year, and effectively re-organise several of the churches' episcopals in the area. Three main languages are spoken throughout the areas around the borders, and the changes mean that people speaking the same language are now aligned to a suitable episcopal.
The Bishop of Porec-Pulj, Bishop Dragutin Nezic, also took a major part in the proceedings. A choir then sang praises and thanks to God for the now prosperous agricultural area they live in. The country's main crops are wheat, maize, sugar beet, sunflowers and potatoes. In yugoslavia, about two-thirds of the population of just under 22 million belong to the Orthodox Church, and one-third to the Roman Catholic Church. Since it is a communist country, religion is separate from the State.