His Holiness Pope Francis Receives President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev
The head of the Roman Catholic Church Pope Francis Friday gave an audience to President Roumen Radev and an official Bulgarian delegation he heads for a traditional visit for the Day of Bulgarian Education and Culture and of Slav Letters, May 24.
Radev told journalists he had an extremely interesting and open conversation with His Holiness. He said the visits to the Vatican are a sign of recognition of the contribution of Bulgarians to European civilization by preserving, spreading and continuing the work of the saintly brothers Cyril and Methodius, and it is Pope Francis' belief that this is a tradition which should be continued.
The Bulgarian delegation expressed satisfaction with the condition of relations between the Holy See and Bulgaria.
The two sides shared their concern about the numerous problems of the present day, exacerbating conflicts, humanitarian crises, human trafficking, particularly of children, and discussed the Pope's attitude to young people, how to encourage them to embrace the Christian values, which can help the world come together and address its problems, Radev said.
The Bulgarian head of State is to confer the Order of St. Cyril and St. Methodius on the Vatican's Head of Protocol, Monsignor Jose Avelino Bettencourt, for his contribution to the development of bilateral relations.
Approached to comment the fact that a Macedonian delegation was granted an audience with the Pope immediately after the Bulgarian delegation, Radev said that this has been a problem for a very long time. "I think that it deserves a just solution," said the head of State.
He voiced hope that with the new Macedonian government there will be a closer dialogue and problems with shared history will be resolved. "We have conditioned Macedonia's membership of EU and NATO on its good-neighbourliness agreement with Bulgaria and I hope that it will be signed," Radev added.
Attending the audience were First Lady Dessislava Radeva, Deputy National Assembly Chair Vesselin Mareshki, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Krassimir Karakachanov, Culture Minister Boil Banov, President's chef de cabinet Ivo Hristov, Bulgarian Ambassador to the Holy See Kiril Topalov, President's Chief Secretary Dimiter Stoyanov, National Library director Krassimira Alexandrova, Sofia University Rector Anastas Gerdzhikov, and head of the President's head of protocol Ivan Dimitrov.
Later the Bulgarian head of State met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin.
The Bulgarian delegation laid floral tributes at the monuments to Sts Cyril and Methodius and Ivan Vazov in Rome. BTA
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