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Pope Francis arrives in Bucharest for three-day visit to Orthodox Romania

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Pope Francis arrives in Bucharest for three-day visit to Orthodox Romania
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Pope Francis arrived in Bucharest on Friday at the start of a three-day pilgrimage to majority-Orthodox Romania — the first papal visit since John Paul II in 1999.

He was welcomed at Otopeni Airport by the country’s president, Klaus Iohannis and driven through the capital where crowds lined the streets to see his motorcade.

During his trip, Francis will celebrate mass at country's most famous Marian shrine, Sumuleu Ciuc, in eastern Transylvania and is scheduled to beatify seven Greek-Catholic bishops who were martyred during communist rule, when Catholics were brutally persecuted.

He will also meet the patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church in the latest of his foreign trips to poor countries where Catholics are a minority.

"I'm coming to you to walk together," Francis said in a video message released on the eve of his visit.

On his first day, Francis was expected to meet Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, whose Social Democratic Party, or PSD, was defeated during the European Parliament elections and whose leader, Liviu Dragnea, was taken to jail for corruption on Monday.