The Pope has promised his support for the manuscript by Peter Bogdan to be available for exhibition in Bulgaria

The Pope has promised his support for the manuscript by Peter Bogdan to be available for exhibition in Bulgaria
Image: Vatican Media

It was a very warm visit, a warm and cordial reception, Bulgaria’s President Rumen Radev said after his meeting with Pope Francis on May 27. A Bulgarian delegation led by the head of state had an audience with the head of the Roman Catholic Church today. President Radev is on a visit to Rome to pay tribute to Sts Cyril and Methodius, the ninth-century missionaries and founders of the first Slavic alphabet, who were sanctified there in the 19th century.

"This is our third visit, we continued to exchange views with the Pope in various fields - not just politics. The Pope's message to the Bulgarian people is for health, well-being, education. The Pope wants our churches to become closer," Radev added. .

The fact that every year on May 24 a Bulgarian delegation is received at the highest level is an important sign of recognition for Bulgaria - for its role and place in the world and cultural space.

Pope Francis is very well aware of the modern processes, he lives with them and takes an active part in all modern problems, Radev said.

"Apart from the modern scourge of statehood - the corruption that exists in the church as well, he shared what his grandmother said. You know that she introduced him to the Bulgarian yogurt. His grandmother told him - "The devil enters the man through the pocket." Radev said.

"I gave to the Pope a composition that has a very strong charge of unifying symbolism," the President said. He presented Pope Francis with an icon of a home triptych from the Tryavna school. It depicts the Holy Mother of God with holy guardians of the home. There are symbols of Christian art used by the Catholic community in Bulgaria.

Unlike the previous time, now the Bulgarian delegation has received access to the Vatican Library. The President was presented with the manuscript of the document, which mentions the history written by Peter Bogdan.

This is an event of great importance for Bulgaria - for its history. An extremely strong message for freedom, for honour, for the awareness of a nation," he said.

The history written in Latin by Petar Bogdan is believed to have been created around 1667 - 1668 or about a century before the Slavo-Bulgarian History of Paisii Hilendarski. In 2017 the manuscript was found in the library in Modena.

Last year, the manuscript was sheduled to be on display for a month at the Presidency and then at the National Library, but that was cancelled due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

Radev said the Pope had promised his support for the manuscript to be made available for exhibition in Bulgaria.

In front of journalists, Radev refused to comment on domestic issues. However, he clarified that he signed the decree on the dismissal of the head of the State Agency for National Security (SANS) while he was in Bulgaria.

Asked about the professional qualities of the new management of SANS, Radev said:

"The new management of SANS will prove its qualities with work and activity. You see it was a problem for our national security, when SANS serves certain parties and individuals and does not serve the national interest. That's why there are no results in our fight against high-level corruption, so, as they themselves admit, for years, foreign spies have been operating in Bulgaria and many other things, such as turning a blind eye to huge violations, turning a blind eye to huge corruption scandals, without any actions taken."

Radev said he had not been told that caretaker Minister of Interior, Boyko Rashkov, had been denied access to classified information. "By law, all ministers gain access to classified information upon their appointment," the head of state said.

Asked whether the Portuguese presidency had proposed foreign experts to join the Bulgaria-North Macedonia joint commission on historical issues, Radev said: "We do not need any mediators. No one knows our history better than we do. It depends on us - on a constructive, open dialogue. The right step is one - in Sofia for a bilateral dialogue, and we must look for a sustainable and irreversible solution.

Rumen Radev also spoke today with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin. Later in the day, the head of state will attend a Divine Liturgy at the Basilica of San Clemente.

This year, for the first time, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev and President of the Republic of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski, travelled to Rome together. The two are expected to make statements later today.

President Radev: Our joint trip with Pendarovski to Rome is a wonderful occasion to renew the dialogue between the two countries

As part of the tradition, around May 24 - the Day of the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius and the Bulgarian alphabet, education and culture and Slavic literature, a delegation from our country met with the Pope. This is the third meeting in the Vatican between the Bulgarian President and the head of the Roman Catholic Church. In May 2019, Pope Francis was in Bulgaria.

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