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Bulgaria: Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo visiting the Diocese of Nicopolis to mark 370th anniversary of foundation

Il cardinale Vinko Puljic

(Sofia) The Archbishop of Sarajevo, Cardinal Vinko Puljic, is visiting Bulgaria from today until 13 May to mark the 370th anniversary of the foundation of the Catholic Diocese of Nicopolis. The Cardinal will preside at the Eucharistic Celebration at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Pleven on Saturday, 12 May, and will visit the tombstone of Filip Stanislavov, the first bishop of the Diocese of Nicopolis, at the Pleven Regional Historical Museum. Cardinal Puljic has been invited to the celebrations for the Jubilee of the Diocese because the first Catholic missionaries who arrived in Bulgaria in 1595 were Franciscan missionaries from Bosnia. Indeed, the first Catholic bishop of Bulgaria, Petar Solinat, was from Tuzla (Bosnia). “This event – local bishop Mgr. Petko Hristov said – will be an opportunity for our Church to remember the journey we have made so far and see where we come from and where we want to go”. On Sunday, 13 May, the Archbishop of Sarajevo will celebrate Mass in the Cathedral of St Paul of the Cross in Rousse, the centre of the Diocese of Nicopolis, and will meet with the local and religious authorities of the city, located on the bank of the Danube River. In the afternoon, the clergy of Nicopolis together with the Cardinal will pray on the ruins of the ancient city of Nicopolis ad Istrum, whence the name of the diocese is derived. Cardinal Puljic’s visit to Bulgaria will end in the town of Belene with the veneration of the relics of Bulgarian bishop and martyr Blessed Eugene Bossilkov, who was shot dead by the communist regime.

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