Russian Patriarch: Bulgarian Priests Brought Christianity to Russia
Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev and Russian Patriarch Kirill have underscored the common cultural heritage of the people of Bulgaria and Russia during their meeting in Sofia Saturday.
On Saturday, Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, was received by the Bulgarian state leaders, including President Plevneliev.
During his meeting with the Bulgarian President, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church stressed the fact that Bulgaria and Russia share a common religious and cultural heritage as Eastern Orthodox, Slavic nations using the Cyrillic script, which was developed in the 9th century in the First Bulgarian Empire (681-1018 AD).
"The work of the holy brothers, St. Cyril and St. Methodius, laid the foundations for the cultural identity of the Bulgarian, Russian, and other Slavic nations, and the first missionaries in Russia, who brought the new Christian values, were the Bulgarian priests," the Russian Patriarch stated, apparently referring to the key role that Bulgarian clergymen in the Christianization of Kievan Rus, the first Russian state in the Middle Ages, in the 10th and 11th century.
The common history of the Bulgarian and Russian churches goes further as, between the 10th and 18th centuries a total of eight Bulgarian clergymen held top positions in the Russian Orthodox Church, such as Cyprian the Bulgarian, Bishop of Moscow in 1379-1406 AD, and Gregory Tsamblak, Bishop of Kiev in 1413-1420 AD.
Patriarch Kirill further declared that it is these cultural and spiritual ties that have survived throughout the ages, and that they motivated the heroism of the Russian soldiers in the Russian-Turkish War of 1877-78, in which the Russian Empire liberated Bulgaria from the Ottoman Turkish Empire.
Bulgaria's President Plevneliev said in turn that in the past 20 years that has been a revival of faith and Christian values in Bulgarian society and Bulgarian families, for which the Bulgarian Orthodox Church has certainly contributed.
Plevneliev and Patriarch Kirill have declared hopes for perpetuating the good traditions in the ties between the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, and the Russian Orthodox Church in order to keep strengthening Christian values.
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