Pope Francis Arrives in Bulgaria

Pope Francis arrived Sunday on an apostolic journey to Bulgaria at the invitation of the Bulgarian authorities and the Interritual Bishops' Conference of Bulgaria. He came with a delegation of 35 of the highest representatives of the Holy See. 

He was met at the government terminal of Sofia Airport by Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. The Prime Minister thanked him for for accepting to visit Bulgaria. The Pope's first words were "I truly pray for peace." 

After that the two had a one-on-one meeting in the VIP lounge of the airport followed by a public exchange of gifts: an emroidered icon of Ss. Cyril and Mothodius, an omophorion, which is a vestment traditionally used by Eastern Orthodox bishops, and an eternal rose and Bulgarian yoghurt for the Pope, and replicas of pontiffical medals for the Prime Minister.

From the airport Pope Francis headed for the President's Office where he was met with an official ceremony by President Rumen Radev. Also attending the ceremony were Parliament Chair Tsveta Takayancheva, Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva, Vice President Iliana Iotova and Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova.

This is the 29th apostolic journey of Pope Francis after he headed the Roman Catholic Church in 2013. 

The Pontiff will be in Bulgaria until May 6 when he will leave on a visit to Northern Macedonia. He is accompanied by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri and Cardinal Kurt Koch.



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