“Only God and Hajduk Live Forever”: Pope Francis Gets Another Introduction to Religion of Dalmatia

Daniela Rogulj

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This is not the first time Pope Francis has been introduced to Hajduk Split.

President of the Primošten Volunteer Fire Department Josip Jadrijević and Mayor of Primošten Stipe Petrina were part of the private audience lucky enough to meet with Pope Francis on Wednesday afternoon at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, reports Dalmatinski Portal on October 11, 2017. 

The young firefighter, who also helped fight the wildfires in Dalmatia this summer, opted to gift the Pope something original – a Hajduk jersey and a helmet from the fire department engraved with the name Pope Francis. 

Mayor Stipe Petrina took advantage of this sacred opportunity as well and gifted the Pope with an image of the Virgin Mary made of Primošten lace and crafted over three months, and a cap made from lace by designer Dina Kolar. The Hajduk jersey, without a name, was given by the club’s management for this occasion. 

Jadrijević explains why he chose these particular gifts.

“The helmet is a symbol of our firefighters, so it is a logical gift, and Hajduk is Dalmatia.”

Jadrijević adds that he did not know until the afternoon before that he would be chosen among millions to meet the Pope. 

“I wasn’t aware of the protocol, I just had a big wish, and we ‘d got it. I still can’t believe it,” Jadrijević recalls.

But what we are very curious to know: How did Pope Francis react to receiving the Hajduk jersey?

“He laughed from the heart. He was really interested in what the club was doing. I deliberately handed over a folded jersey, and the Pope opened it, inspected it, and then looked at the coat of arms and asked me about Hajduk. I told him they are the champion of Dalmatia. And then he asked me how they played, to which I replied that they might be better off with God’s help. He surprised me with a prompt, warm reply: Then we will pray,” Jadrijević said with a smile stretched across his face. 

Jadrijević admits that he was so shaken to meet the Pope that he was sorry he could not tell him how much Hajduk actually is religion in Dalmatia. 

“I’m sorry that I did not tell him that by us, we say ‘Only God and Hajduk live forever.’ But I believe that there will be more opportunities in life,” he adds.

The meeting lasted less than two minutes, but it will be one they will remember forever. 

This is not the first time Pope Francis was introduced to Hajduk. Back in September 2016, the Pope was presented with a “Hajduk Lives Forever” scarf at St. Peter’s Square. You can read the story here

Translated from Dalmatinski Portal


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