Cardinal Parolin Meets Bulgarian Patriarch in Sofia
(Sofia) Cardinal Secretary Pietro Parolin is currently on a visit to Bulgaria. Yesterday morning a meeting with Patriarch Neofit of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Sofia, was followed by a meeting with the Bulgarian Prime Minister Bojko Borissov, with President Rossen Plevnielev and with the Grand Mufti of Bulgaria.
In the evening the Cardinal Secretary will give a speech for the occasion of the third anniversary of the election of Pope Francis and the 25th anniversary of the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Bulgaria and the Holy See. It was a step that followed immediately after the overthrow of the Communist dictatorship.
Patriarch Neofit thanked Cardinal Parolin for the "hearty reception" of Orthodox representatives in the Vatican. During the talks, the good relations between the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the Holy See were stressed. Every year, a Bulgarian-Orthodox delegation comes to the Vatican for the Feast of Saint Cyril and Methodius.
Cardinal Parolin spoke of the possibility to build upon the frequency of the mutual contacts, the relations and collaboration between Bulgarian Catholic and the Orthodox. Describing concrete situations, he identified the work with youth and care for the poor.
The meeting between Pope Francis and the Moscow Patriarch Kyrill as well as the Pan Orthodox Council, which is planned for June on Crete. Cardinal Parolin assured Patriarch Neofit, he would pray for the success of the Council.
He also spoke gratefully for the opportunity of young seminarians and theologians of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to be able to study at the Pontifical Oriental Institute and other Catholic study centers.
President Plevneliev awarded the Cardinal Secretary the Stara Plana, the highest order of the land. Plevneliev asserted that Bulgaria shares Pope Francis' concern for those suffering in the conflict in Syria and in the Ukraine.
About 85 percent of the Bulgarian population are Orthodox Christians, which includes almost all Bulgarians. About nine percent belong to Turkish ethnicity, four percent are Roma. The majority of the Turks and the Roma are Muslims.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi Bild: Radio Vatikan (Screenshot)