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The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Bulgaria to the Holy See, Kostadin Kodzhabashev, presented his credentials to Pope Francis on 16 November 2023

17 November 2023 News

After the solemn ceremony held in the Apostolic Palace, Ambassador Kodzhabashev held a 20-minute one-on-one meeting with Pope Francis, during which he conveyed the warmest greetings from the President, Mr. Rumen Radev. He briefly presented the main achievements of our country and its cultural-historical richness, and stressed his desire to work to intensify the bilateral dialogue with the Holy See in areas of mutual interest /political, cultural-religious, scientific-historical, etc./. He pointed out that Bulgaria had long been a kind of bridge between Eastern and Western Europe, a spiritual crossroads, a land of encounters and mutual understanding. Human and cultural values of different continental areas are concentrated here and have found acceptance and respect. For Pope Francis, Bulgaria is also a meeting place of many cultures, civilizations and religions, a bridge between Eastern and Southern Europe, an open door to the Middle East, a land with ancient Christian roots.

During the conversation, special attention was paid to the great work of the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius, declared by Pope John Paul II as co-patrons of Europe, who with their apostolic activity have become examples for us, and remain, after more than a millennium, inspirers of fruitful dialogue, harmony and fraternal encounter between churches, states and peoples. For Pope Francis, they are the Slavonic Apostles who have demonstrated three very important aspects of evangelization — unity (Greeks, Pope, Slavs), the conversion of evangelization into culture, which are closely linked, and thirdly, freedom in preaching.

At the end of the meeting, cooperation on new security challenges in Europe and the world, both bilaterally and within international organisations, was also discussed. Emphasis was placed on the extremely serious situation in Palestine and Israel — the Pope encourages the release of hostages and the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza. He continues to pray for those who are suffering and to hope for paths to peace in the Middle East and Ukraine.

After the meeting with Pope Francis, Ambassador Kostadin Kodzhabashev was received by the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and during the conversation a retrospective of the bilateral dialogue in the areas of mutual interest between Bulgaria and the Vatican was made and the common desire for its further upward development was expressed.

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