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Pope Francis To Visit Hungary, Slovakia In September

Pope Francis (file photo)

Pope Francis has announced plans to visit Hungary and Slovakia in September.

During a July 4 address to believers in Rome's St. Peter's Square, Francis confirmed his participation in the closing mass of a religious congress in Budapest on September 12, before travelling on to Slovakia the same day.

"I'm happy to announce that from September 12 to 15... I will go to Slovakia for a pastoral visit," Pope Francis said.

Francis will visit Bratislava, Presov, Kosice and Sastin, the Vatican said.

The head of the Catholic Church has long been expected for the September 12 Mass in Budapest, the Vatican said, adding that he has now accepted the invitation.

It did not comment on speculation that Francis could meet Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during his visit.

Spokesman Matteo Bruni said Francis had been invited by both the civil authorities and bishops of both countries.

Based on reporting by dpa, AP and AFP