The audience of Boyko Borissov started with Pope Francis. The Bulgarian delegation was met with military honor by the prefect of the Papal House, Georg Genswain. Boyko Borissov and Pope Francis talked for about half an hour in four eyes. This is the second meeting of the Bulgarian Prime Minister in the Vatican after his visit in 2015.
The meeting started at 10.30 Italian time. Borissov presented to the pope the Bulgarian delegation on May 24, which includes representatives of spirituality, academics and cultural figures.
Prime Minister Boyko Borissov invited Pope Francis to visit Bulgaria.
“Bulgaria is working tirelessly during the presidency for the integration of the Western Balkan countries and for a peaceful dialogue in the region,” Borissov told the head of the Roman Catholic Church.
Borissov specified that it took at least five months for the preparation of such a visit by Pope Francis. The Prime Minister has expressed the Bulgarian people’s respect for the pope and the gratitude that the Catholic Church has blessed our writing.The pope told Borissov that he is very hardheaded. “You are very stiff with your invitations,” were his words to Borissov. The Prime Minister invited him to come by the end of the year. The date will be specified diplomatically. Several times Borissov told Pope Francis: “Pray for Bulgaria, pray for the Balkans.”
The Pope has promised until next year to visit Bulgaria, Romania or another Balkan state.
The Bulgarian delegation handed three presents to the head of the Roman Catholic Church. These are a copy of the unique four-gospel of Ivan Alexander, a painting by the artist Pavel Mitkov and 33 oil-bearing roses from Kazanlak. The gospel was made in 1355. Mitkov’s painting is an image of Sts. Ivan Rilski in front of his cave. And oil-bearing roses will be planted in Rome.
The Bulgarian delegation has been in Italy since yesterday when on May 24th, for the first time, Bulgaria and Macedonia, led by the prime ministers of both sides, worshiped together at St. Cyril’s tomb.