At the Audience of President Rumen Radev with Pope Francis, the Holy Father Wished Bulgaria and the Bulgarian People Health, Peace and Prosperity

2024-05-23 16:21:00

The Bulgarian head of state was received by the head of the Roman Catholic Church on the occasion of the Day of the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius, of the Bulgarian alphabet, education and culture and of Slavic literature - May 24

During the audience of President Rumen Radev with Pope Francis on the occasion of the Day of the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius, of the Bulgarian alphabet, education and culture and of Slavic literature - May 24, the Holy Father wished health, peace and prosperity to Bulgaria and the Bulgarian people. The head of state met with the Supreme Pontiff, together with the delegation led by him, which includes representatives of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church in Bulgaria, public figures, cultural and musical artists. As part of his visit to the Vatican, the Bulgarian President also held a meeting with the State Secretary of the Vatican, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

May your young people be more firmly rooted in Bulgaria and may the knowledge they receive be directed to the future, so that your people succeed. Pope Francis sent this message during his conversation with President Rumen Radev. The head of state pointed out that Pope Francis wished that more children would be born in Bulgaria and that they would receive a decent education linked to upbringing, so that they would grow up with respect and knowledge of Bulgarian history, literature, language and culture.

The best continuity in traditions and national spirit is between generations, and that is why Pope Francis wished us to keep alive and strengthen the relationship between generations, Rumen Radev stressed. According to the Holy Father, it is necessary to take more care of the elderly because they deserve respect. In connection with this, Pope Francis presented the president with a lithograph showing precisely the relationship between generations, in which a young person is depicted giving a hand to an older person to help him stand up.

The biggest challenge facing humanity today is to stop the bloody wars in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip and the slaughter of thousands of innocent people, President Rumen Radev emphasized in response to a journalist's question. This requires awareness, a lot of common sense and the efforts of the entire international community to look for ways to peace based on international law, the head of state said, adding that this was a common position during the audience. It is time for reason and diplomacy, because we have seen that peace cannot be achieved with economic and military means alone, the president added.

The head of state presented the Holy Father with an original icon of the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius from the second half of the 19th century. The icon is the work of painters from the Sofia School of Icon Painting and is painted with natural paints, coloured with natural dyes. In the work, Saint Cyril holds a scroll with the Bulgarian alphabet, and Saint Methodius holds a book written in Bulgarian letters - "In the beginning was the Word".

In response to a journalist's question about an invitation to a meeting issued by the President of the Republic of North Macedonia Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova, who is also on a visit to the Vatican and the Italian Republic, Rumen Radev defined as a positive sign that the president of the North Macedonia showed an aspiration for a meeting at the highest level. The president pointed out that the meeting did not take place due to the programs of the two delegations, but expressed hope that it would happen in the near future. I have been saying for a long time that only through dialogue will we strengthen mutual trust, Rumen Radev pointed out and reminded that it is the turn of the president of  North Macedonia to visit our country, and such an invitation has so far been made at the highest level.

Bulgaria expects from North Macedonia a change in rhetoric as soon as possible and finally an end to the language of hatred, the head of state emphasised. North Macedonia must show that it really wants to be part of a united Europe by fulfilling all the requirements that are presented by the EU, as it was for every member country, said Rumen Radev.

After the audience with Pope Francis, President Rumen Radev visited the "San Clemente" basilica, where the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius served for the first time in the Slavic language. The head of state attended the Divine Liturgy celebrated at the central altar of the basilica by His Eminence Western and Central European Metropolitan Anthony. Later, the president will also visit the Basilica "Santa Maria Maggiore", where in the 9th century Pope Adrian II blessed the Bulgarian alphabet. In Rome, Rumen Radev will pay tribute to the monument of the Patriarch of Bulgarian literature, Ivan Vazov. During his visit to the Vatican and the Italian Republic, the Bulgarian head of state was accompanied by his wife Desislava Radeva.



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