New Roman Catholic pope formally enthroned

ROME -- Pope Francis I has been formally enthroned as the new head of the Roman Catholic Church during a ceremony in Rome on Tuesday.

(Tanjug)
(Tanjug)

Hatred, envy, and pride defile life - instead guard the people and love, was his first message to believers.

The ceremony was attended by the heads of state and governments of almost 200 countries, the representatives of almost all Orthodox Churches, Jewish and other religious communities, as well as nearly one million Catholic worshipers who flocked to Rome from all over the world.

The Serbian delegation was led by President Tomislav Nikolić and the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Archbishop of Cetinje and Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral Amfilohije.

The enthronement of the new pope was also attended on behalf of the Islamic Community of Serbia by Mufti Muhamed Jusufspahić.

The pope greeted the guests and in his short sermon gave several messages with multi-dimensional meaning open not only to Christians but to all people of good will.

Tuesday's ceremony was held on the feast of St. Joseph, which, as mentioned by Francis I, was also the birthday of his predecessor, Benedict XVI - who did not attend the ceremony.

In a short speech in Italian, the pope urged his followers to be the guardians of all that is created, to preserve the beauty, the people, to be kind to every person, particularly toward children, the elderly and those who, as he said, are the most vulnerable and often on the margins of our hearts.

The new head of the Catholic Church, who took his papal name from Francis of Assisi, the patron of the poor, also said that people should practice honesty and friendship, trust and the good, and that all this was entrusted "to man, the keeper of God's gifts".

"Let's not allow the world to be marked by signs of destruction and death," he said.

The ceremony lasted an hour, less than all previous enthronements. Pope Francis is the first coming from Latin America - however, he comes from a family of Italian immigrants to Argentina and holds citizenships of both countries. He is also the first Jesuit on the throne of St. Peter.

It is expected that the pope will meet with representatives of the Orthodox Churches and with Patriarch Bartholomew, who is the first ecumenical partirarch to attend a papal enthronement.