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Thursday, March 23, 2017
The Pope's birthday
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 The Pope would have preferred not to make a fuss - but his birthday was marked in Rome with many celebrations. The entire college of Cardinals, hundreds of bishops and thousands of priests gathered in Rome for the event. Around 40,000 well-wishers cheered the Pope during the Wednesday audience and sang Sto Lat - the Polish birthday song wishing him one hundred years. A large white birthday cake was brought in during lunch - attended by more than 300 dignitaries. Later in the day, he attended a concert with the London Philharmonic Orchestra playing Haydn's Creation. One guest was Russian priest Vladimir Kouchoumoff, representing the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II. Vatican insiders are wondering whether the meeting might result in a warming of Orthodox - Roman Catholic relations, and a possible invitation for Moscow for the Pope.
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