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Priester-Märtyrer Kamen Vichev (1893-1952), Pavel Djidjov (1919-1952) und Yosafat Shishkov (1884-1952)



Pope John Paul II Says He Wishes to Pay Tribute to All Who Suffered for Their Faith During the Communist Regime

Plovdiv, May 26 (BTA) - The success of our earthly pilgrimage depends on whether we respond to God's love, the Pope said, serving mass in Plovdiv on Sunday. He added that the three priests beatified by him were fully aware of this truth. Together with a little more than 10.000 christians from Bulgaria, and groups from the neighbouring countries, Poland, Italy and even France the Pope celebrated the Holy Mass mainly in Bulgarian.

The Pope said that beatifying the three Bulgarian Catholic priests, he also wishes to pay tribute to all martyrs of the Eastern Orthodox faith during the communist regime. Their strong faith in Christ has brought together the two communities of the Christian Church in Bulgaria, the Holy Father said.

The Pope called on the Bulgarian Church to seriously consider the possibility of opening of a Catholic seminary in Bulgaria to train young priests.

At the beginning of the Mass the Pope greeted (Bulgarian Orthodox) Metropolitan ARSENIY of Plovdiv who attended the Holy Mass. He said his presence was a sign of hope that we may some day rejoice over full unification.

The Pope also addressed those professing the Islamic religion who also "worship, though in a different way, the only Almighty God".

The Pope also greeted the representatives of the state authorities, thanking them for their contribution and said that without this contribution his journey to Bulgaria would have been impossible.

Turning to the Mother of God icon placed at the altar, Pope John Paul II asked the Holy Virgin to watch over the Bulgarian people.