2009-10-31 13:17:57

Pope: Bulgaria has a Vital Role in Construction of Europe

(31 Oct 09 - RV) Pope Benedict XVI reflected on the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin wall as he received the new Bulgarian Ambassador to the Holy See. RealAudioMP3

Nikola Ivanov KALUDOV, a graduate of the Moscow Diplomatic Academy, was welcomed by the Pope to the Vatican Saturday. No stranger to the eternal city, Ambassador Kaludov’s last posting was to the Italian Republic.

In his message written in French, the Pope immediately recalls John Paul II’s 2002 apostolic visit to Bulgaria which he said gave birth to a new phase in diplomatic relations between the two states.

Pope Benedict notes that this autumn we celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall which he says has enabled Bulgaria to choose democracy and return to free and independent relations with the entire European continent.

Located in the heart of the Balkans, Bulgaria is one of the oldest states in Europe, founded in 681. The Pope acknowledges the eastern European nation’s aspirations for increased integration within European Union of which it is a member state since 1 January 2007.

The Pope writes that in this process of European construction it is important that individual nations do not sacrifice their own cultural identity, but instead find ways to make it bear good fruit that will enrich the whole community.

Some 85% of the population are Orthodox Christians and 13% Muslims. Around 10% of the population are of Turkish origin while 3% are Roma.

Pope Benedict writes in his message that precisely because of its geographical and cultural situation, Bulgaria has undoubtedly an important role in building peaceful relations between countries which surround it, and in the defence and promotion of human rights.

This concern for the common good of peoples can not be confined to the borders of the continent,- continues the Pope - it is also necessary to pay attention to creating conditions for successful globalization. If it is to be experienced positively it must , indeed serve "the whole man and all men."

In this sense, an authentic development of man and society must include a spiritual dimension.

The Christian culture that permeates deeply your people is not only a treasure of the past to preserve, but also a guarantee of a really promising future

The invoking the intercession of the Virgin Mary and the Apostles of the East Saints Cyril and Methodius, sent his blessings and greetings to the Bulgarian people and its leaders.

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