Pope Francis arrives in Georgia, delivers address to authorities

Pope Francis has arrived in Georgia at the start of a three day trip to the Caucasus which will also take him Sunday for a brief visit to Azerbaijan, Radio Vatican reports.

On Friday, Georgian government, civil and religious leaders and members of the Catholic community turned out at Tbilisi’s international airport to greet the pontiff, whose plane touched down shortly before 3:00 pm local time.

Meeting national authorities and members of the diplomatic corps in Tbilisi, Georgia Friday, Pope Francis described the Caucasus nation as a “blessed land, a place of encounter and vital exchange among cultures and civilizations” which, since the 4th century, “discovered in Christianity its deepest identity and the solid foundation of its values.”

The Pope was speaking at the Presidential palace shortly after his arrival in the Georgian capital.  In his address, he recalled his meeting in the Vatican last year with President Giorgi Margvelashvili and thanked him for the invitation to visit his country whose values, expressed “in culture, language and traditions,” he said, place it fully “within the bedrock of European civilization.”

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