The Press Office of the Romanian Patriarchate informs us:
On 8 June 2011, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel received Mr. Ernesto Riggio, mayor of Bivongi city, Calabria, Italy, in an audience, at the Patriarchal Cathedral. Rev. Valentin Ilieş, archpriest of Sicily of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Italy, and Mr. Francesco Passarelli, counsellor at the city hall of Bivongi, were also present.
Mayor Ernesto Riggio thanked for reception and pointed out the fact that since the moment the monastery dedicated to Saint John the Reaper of Bivongi was entrusted to the Romanian Orthodox Church for administration (July 2009), this one has become a place of prayer and pilgrimage for lots of about 60,000 Romanians settled in Calabria and the most important tourist point of the entire region. The Monastery – made up of a church in Byzantine style of the end of the 10th century, which the Italian authorities declared national monument last year – was visited by 15,000 tourists last year.
His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel thanked mayor Ernesto Riggio for the permanent support granted to the Romanian Orthodox monastic community in Bivongi locality and informed him of the intention of the Romanian Patriarchate to include the monastery in its pilgrimage programmes and promote it through Trinitas Television channel, as well as print an album and some other promotional materials at the publishing houses of the Romanian Patriarchate.
During the meeting, the mayor of Bivongi city handed over the Patriarch of Romania the official invitation to visit the city and the monastery of Saint John the Reaper during a future visit of His Beatitude to Italy.