Bulgarians Joined by Russian, Ukrainian Envoys in Honoring St. Cyril in Rome
For the first time in history priests and representatives from Bulgaria, Russia, and Ukraine have honored together the author of the Slavic alphabet, St. Cyril, at his resting place in Rome, Italy.
Representatives of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and of the Bulgarian government traditionally honor St. Cyril with a service in the San Clemente Basilica in Rome every year on May 24, the Day of Slavic Script and Bulgarian Culture and Education.
The 2010 memorial was attended by a Bulgarian delegation led by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, and was served by the Bishop of Vidin, Dometian, who was joined by Russian and Ukrainian priests this time.
“We have set a nice new tradition. Up until now it was always the Bulgarian priests who served on their own the service in honor of St. Cyril. It is in this way that the Russians and the Ukrainians are recognizing the fact that it is us, the Bulgarians, who are the keepers of the work of the holy brothers, St. Cyril and St. Methodius,” said Bozhidar Dimitrov, Minister for Bulgarians Abroad, as cited by the Bulgarian National Television.
Dimitrov revealed that the Russian and Ukrainian orthodox churches made the decision to join the Bulgarians in honoring the memory of St. Cyril in the Rome basilica late Sunday night. He said the Bulgarian government had invited the Macedonian state to participate as well but the latter had refused. Yet, the Minister believes that eventually the Macedonians are going to join in the celebrations together with Bulgaria and the other Slavic Orthodox nations rather holding a separate service in Rome to honor the holy brothers.
Russia’s Ambassador to the Vatican, Nikolai Sadchikov, was also present at the service, which is the first appearance ever of a senior Russian diplomat at the celebrations of May 24, the Day of Slavic Script and Bulgarian Culture, in Rome.
A number of Bulgarians living in Italy and other European countries as well as Russian pilgrims also attended the service at the San Clemente Basilica, which has been provided by the Vatican for the services of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Rome.
The Bulgarian state delegation paid their respects to the work of St. Cyril at his grave in the San Clemente Basilica.
Borisov made wishes for good health and success to all Slavic peoples, and called upon the Bulgarians to remember and preserve the work of the holy brothers, St. Cyril and St. Methodius.
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