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Pope Francis visits Romania's cultural capital

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By Daniel Bellamy  with Reuters
Pope Francis visits Romania's cultural capital

On the last leg of his trip to Romania, the pope visited the city of Iasi in the province of Moldova.

Around 100,000 faithful had gathered in what is Romania's cultural capital to welcome him.

During his three-day trip, Pope Francis has been keen to narrow the divide between the country's Catholics, who are mainly ethnic Hungarian, and the majority of Romanians, who are Orthodox.

He also had a message for both populations to put past differences behind them.

Back in 2015, Romania was angered at a Facebook post by Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban. Bucharest said the post suggested Romania's Hungarians should gain their own autonomy.

Twenty years ago the Romanian government had prevented Pope John Paul from visiting the Transylvania region because of those tensions with the mostly ethnic Hungarian population.

Before the First World War ended in 1918, Transylvania had been a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.