On the 26th of June, His Eminence Archbishop Anselmo Guido Pecorari, Apostolic Nuncio and Head of the Embassy of the Holy See in the Republic of Bulgaria, gave a reception on the occasion of the feast of the holy apostles Peter and Paul in the Sofia Hotel Balkan.

It was held in the presence of a high guest, His Eminence Cardinal Walter Kasper, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The reception was attended by representatives of the Catholic Church and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, ambassadors, diplomats and friends.

His Eminence, Archbishop Anselmo Guido Pecorari welcomed the attendees saying: "It is an honour and a pleasure for me to see you all gathered here on the National Day of the Holy See, which occurs on the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, and on which we celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Pontificate of Pope Francis. Your presence here this evening, while being certainly a sign of friendship towards me as Apostolic Nuncio to Bulgaria, is, above all, an act of respect and homage to the Holy See and to Pope Francis".

He further noted that "... we pay homage to all the Churches and Religious Confessions that are in fraternal relations with the Holy See and the Catholic Church." Then he presented the high guest, His Eminence Cardinal Walter Kasper: "He is no stranger to Bulgaria, having accompanied Saint Pope John Paul II during his visit here in 2002. His Eminence returned to Sofia and was conferred with an honour doctorate from the University of Sofia "St. Kliment Ohridski". During that occasion he also received "Stara Planina" Honour, from the President of Bulgaria Mr. George Parvanov".

His Eminence Cardinal Walter Kasper also welcomed the guests, stressing that it has been a pleasure for him to visit once again our country, with its old history and long-standing traditions, as well as important role this year, due to the presidency of the European Council. He stressed the importance of the European Union for Europe after the horrors of the Second World War and the idea of ​​building it as a peaceful space based on common values ​​and respect for human rights. "The Holy See's policy and diplomacy are aimed at supporting this project, where all countries will preserve their own historical heritage, their culture and customs..." Strong friendships between the members should be built, and the key to this is the dialogue. And diplomacy should help it, should build bridges, as dialogue means walking together. He also highlighted the migratory problem, the return of the old nationalism and pointed out that everything can be resolved through cooperation and solidarity between European countries. Finally, His Eminence expressed his hope that this reception for the national holiday of the Holy See, and the conversations will contribute towards strengthening the friendship between the nations and the religions that were present. And he wished peace to be with us.

Photos are provided by the Apostolic Nunciature.

Above: His Eminence Cardinal Walter Kasper, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, reading his greeting. Next to him is His Eminence Archbishop Anselmo Guido Pecorari, Head of the Mission of the Holy See in Bulgaria, Apostolic Nuncio.

Below: Moments from the reception