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President: Coexistence of Different Religions and Ethnicities Is Integral Part of Life in Bulgarian Lands and Example of Understanding and Centuries-Long Wisdom

2023-09-04 19:19:00

Vidin is one of those remarkable cities where the temples of three religions coexist within metres. These triangles of understanding, of centuries of accumulated wisdom, may be an unusual sight in a world full of contradictions, but for the Bulgarian region, they are an integral part of our life, in which different religions and ethnicities have always coexisted fraternally. This is what President Rumen Radev said at today's inauguration of the synagogue in Vidin, restored as the Jules Pascin Cultural Centre.
 
In his speech, the President noted that the opening of the restored Vidin synagogue, which has acquired its authentic appearance, is an event that has been awaited for for decades. Only people who have seen with their own eyes the recent ruins of the temple can realise the enormous work that has been done, he added, highlighting the effort of the institutions, the local authorities and the skill of the restorers.  The long-awaited event becomes even more emotional and symbolic because it coincides with the 80th anniversary of the rescue of Bulgarian Jews, celebrated this year, the President further said. The official opening is part of the National Programme to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews during World War II, held under the patronage of the head of state.

Rumen Radev recalled that through its then numerous Jewish community, Vidin experienced the horrors of the darkest period in European history. But the city remembers those of its citizens who stood on the side of human dignity alongside the plethora of prominent public figures throughout Bulgaria, the President stressed. He added that by guarding and not betraying their friends and neighbours, it is these citizens of Vidin who have shown that Bulgarians are a people who value freedom and are part of the civilised world.
 
The head of state expressed his confidence that art in all its forms will unfold in the Vidin synagogue, which is starting a new life as a cultural centre named after Jules Pascin, the bright and talented artist whose roots are in Vidin. Let this unique temple be a bridge for the descendants of the Jewish community of Vidin to return to their roots, so that the bond between Bulgarians and Jews and the friendship between Bulgaria and Israel can grow stronger, the President further said.
 
The head of state also pointed out that the thousand-year-old Vidin river bank has been a meeting point for many cultures and civilisations. That is why, the President said, today we are not just reviving an architectural treasure, but we are awakening a tinge of the colourful fabric of the old urban society passing it on and bequeathing it to the generations to come.

In a video address, Israeli President Isaac Herzog also delivered a greeting on the occasion of the opening of the restored building, in which he underlined the historic friendship between Bulgaria and Israel.
 
Rumen Radev was accompanied by his wife Desislava Radeva.

The President also visited the Vidin Diocese and the Osman Pazvantoglu Mosque.

 

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