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Bulgaria: Orthodox liturgy with Pope Francis’s gift. Patriarch Neophyte, “may our good relations continue in peace and mutual respect”

The celebrations for the translation of the relics of Pope St Clemens and the Holy Martyr St Potitus, donated by Pope Francis to the patriarch in his capacity as the metropolitan bishop of Sofia, went on in Sofia this morning, with a divine liturgy in the early Christian basilica of St Sofia, officiated by Neophyte, patriarch of Bulgaria.

After yesterday’s solemn procession, ended with the Vespers, today as well, the Day of St Sofia for the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the patron saint of the city of Sofia, many Orthodox devotees went to the Eucharistic celebration. There were the president of the Republic, Rumen Radev, the Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova, the president of the Municipal Council, Elen Gerdzikov, the Bulgarian Ambassador to the Holy See, Bogdan Patashev, as well as delegates from the Patriarchate of Moscow and the Rumanian Orthodox Church, and the delegation of the Catholic Church of Bulgaria, which included mgr. Christo Proykov, president of the Bulgarian Bishops’ Conference, the newly-appointed auxiliary bishop of Sofia, mgr. Rumen Stanev, the apostolic administrator of the diocese of Nikopol, mgr. Strahil Kavalenov.

Patriarch Neophyte warmly greeted mgr. Christo Proykov, president of the Bulgarian Bishops’ Conference, saying thanks for the precious gift of the relics and recalling the other fragments of common saints given by Pope John Paul II and by Pope Benedict XVI in 2002 and in 2006. “The testament of the faith of the saints and martyrs of Christ is a clear proof of our good relations – Neophyte said – which are still in place and will continue to exist in peace, in mutual understanding and respect”.

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