Pope Benedict XVI, Parliamentary Chair Discuss Importance of Bulgarian Saints

Diplomacy | May 23, 2011, Monday // 17:07|  views

Bulgarian Parliamentary Chair Tsetska Tsacheva (left) with Pope Benedict XVI during her papal audience for May 24, Bulgaria's national holiday. Photo by EPA/BGNES

The European dimensions and heritage of medieval scholars St Cyril and St Methodius were the main point of discussion between Pope Benedict XVI and Bulgarian Parliamentary Chair Tsetska Tsatseva, who is heading her country's delegation in the Vatican.

"The Saints Cyril and Methodius, whose spiritual and scholarly activities have also left their mark here, in the Vatican, make me felt proud to be Bulgarian. I wished Pope Benedict XVI to continue John Paul II's efforts into making fate accessible for the young people, for the whole world, and to build bridges of tolerance between people with different beliefs," Tsacheva said after the audience, as cited by the Bulgarian National Radio.

The Bulgarian Parliamentary Chair presented the Pope with a bronze sculpture representing St John the Baptist, as well as a painting of the famous St Alexander Nevski Orthodox cathedral in downtown Sofia.

The delegation launched Monday its three-day visit to Rome for observances of the Day of Slavonic Letters, May 24, celebrated also as the Day of Bulgarian Letters, Education and Culture.

The Bulgarian officials will attend on May 24 the ceremony at Vatican's Basilica of San Clemente paying tribute at the grave of St Cyril, one of the missionary brothers who created Slavonic's alphabet in the 9th century.

The officials will also attend a solemn service at the Sts Vincent and Anastasius Church on the Fontana di Trevi Roman square, which was offered in 2002 by the late Pope John-Paul II to the Bulgarian Orthodox community in Rome for their worship.

The Church of St Vincent and St Anastasius by the Trevi Fountain was formerly the parish church of the Quirinal Palace on the hill above. The palace was the official residence of the Popes until the unification of Italy in 1870.

On May 24, Bulgaria honors St Cyril and his brother St Methodius who compiled the first alphabet suitable for Slav languages in the Middle Ages. Their alphabet found the most enthusiastic followers in medieval Bulgaria and then evolved to become the Cyrillic script that is used today in Bulgaria, Russia and a number of other countries.

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Tags: Tsetska Tsacheva, Pope Benedict XVI, audience, saints cyril and methodius, st cyril, st methodius, Day of Slavonic Letters, May 24


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