West and Central European Metropolitan SIMEON welcomed and accompanied Pope John Paul II through the Orthodox Patriarchal Cathedral St. Alexander Nevski on behalf of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
In a brief speech he adressed the values taught by Sts. Cyrill and Methodij as gift of the Holy Spirit and common heritage of the Church in East and West.
Pope Visits Alexander Nevski Cathedral
Sofia, May 24 (BTA) - "We admire your feat, a feat becoming
an apostle. God bless you for health, peace and salvation," West
and Central European Metropolitan Simeon told Pope John Paul II
during the latter's visit to the Alexander Nevski Cathedral on
Friday morning. The Pope arrived here on a two-day official
visit on Thursday.
Metropolitans from the Holy Synod met the Pope in front of
the building. Upon his entrance, he blessed the laymen that were
in the cathedral at the time.
The Pope was then shown around the cathedral. He was moved
around on a platform. The Pope was shown the relics of Saint
Alexander Nevski and told curious details from the cathedral's
history by his hosts.
"Welcome to our small but very beautiful country and to our
Holy Bulgarian Orthodox Church which has been spreading the word
of God in the past 1,300 years or so," Metropolitan Simeon said
in his address. Bulgaria is celebrating the Saints Cyril and
Methodius whose legacy the Bulgarian people treasure until
today, he said.
During their time back in the 9th century, the Holy Brothers
were a bridge between the East and the West and they should
serve today as an example for unity in the Christian faith,
Simeon said about the two bothers who have been canonized by the
He stressed that the Bulgaria Orthodox Church , a good
keeper of tradition, has co-existed in peace and love with all
Metropolitan Simeon then gifted the Pope an icon of Apostles
Peter and Paul on behalf of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
"I want to thank you for this hearty welcome," the Pope
said. He then signed the guest book and autographed two other
On his way out, the Pope stopped to bless the icon of the
Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy was also in the
cathedral during the papal tour but he stayed away from the
In front of the cathedral, the Pope was greeted with chants
of "We are with you" and "Unity".
One of the bodyguards lifted a child and it was blessed by
24.05.2002 15:30 MEST