Novinite Insider » INTERVIEW | May 17, 2002, Friday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
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H.E. Vladimir Gradev was born in 1963, Doctor of Philosophy, in 2000 he becomes Associate Professor of Theory and History of Culture at Sofia University Kliment Ohridksi. He was appointed Bulgaria's Ambassador to the Holy See in 2001. Author of Termination of the road (Prekusvaneto na putya) and Powers of the Subject (Silite na subecta), he has written more than 40 articles. Gradev specialized in France, the Netherlands, Italy, speaks French, Italian English and Russian, married.

H.E. Vladimir Gradev answered questions of Milena Hristova

Q: Can you describe the Vatican's expectations of the Papal visit in Bulgaria?

A: The Vatican expects the Papal visit in Bulgaria with excitement and hope. This is the Holy Father's first visit abroad for the last seven months and it aroused certain interest. It is evident that this visit is very important for him, he is preparing intensively for it and even studies Bulgarian. In my opinion he and the Roman curia are unanimous and never before has our country enjoyed such a favorable climate here as at present.

Q: Will the Pope's visit stop the hints at Bulgaria's involvement in the unsuccessful assassination attempt on the Pope?

A: I really hope this will be the case. Nobody in the Vatican relates Bulgaria to organizing the assassination attempt on the Pope. I also think that everybody has already become fully aware of the fact that the Vatican has nothing to do with arrest and misfortunes of Antonov, this was the decision of the jurisdiction of a third country - Italy, which is independent and makes its own decisions for good or bad. In Rome this episode from the Cold War has entirely faded away and no longer casts any shadows over the relations with the Vatican.

Q: Are there any fears that the Head of the Roman Catholic Church will visit a predominantly Orthodox country?

A: No, I can definitely say that in the Catholic church there are no people who take a stand against the development of the dialogue with the Orthodox Christianity, quite the opposite. There is an honest willingness to do away with all remnants from the past and develop the dialogue between the Churches.

Q: What do you expect to be the Pope's message to the Bulgarian people?

A: I personally expect with interest the message the Holy Father will convey. According to the information available it will be made in Bulgarian, but I know nothing about its content. In all cases it will be connected with the mission of Sts Cyril and Methodius, patrons of Europe. The Pope will call on us to stay faithful to this mission and keep on looking for what unites us (for the Pope these are primarily the Christian values) in the diversity of lifestyles, traditions and cultures of our continent.

Q: What do you think will be the Papal visit's most important consequence?

A: In my opinion the visit is a great opportunity for Bulgaria to enter the third millennium with the doors of Europe and the whole world open. First of all it will show the world the place where the mission of the Slav apostles was preserved and passed on through the centuries. It is my conviction that we will be mature enough to benefit from all opportunities and will develop our cooperation with the Holy See and the Catholic Church in the religious, cultural and charity activities. Undoubtedly Bulgaria's improved image will reflect positively on the country's social and economic development.

Q: The Pope plans to beatify three Catholic priests who were executed in 1952 after being convicted of spying. What will the Bulgarians need in order to deal with the past?

A: We do not know yet enough about the recent past, I think it is still too close for us to go outside its shadow. Certainly it takes time, patience, lots of courage and just as much maturity for the historical memory to do its job. The beautification of the three martyrs in Plovdiv proves that the process can already begin and we may make peace with the past and start anew.
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