On June 23, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Sovereign Order of Malta - H. E. Mr. Camillo Zuccoli, and his wife gave a reception on the occasion of the day of St. John the Baptist - the patron saint of the Order.

The event gathered many guests in the garden of Grand Hotel Sofia, including the papal nuncio, ambassadors and consuls of many countries, ministers and deputy ministers, MPs, mayors, senior officials of the state administration and of various religious communities in Bulgaria, directors of hospitals with which the Order cooperates, journalists and friends.

At the reception H. E. Mr. Camillo Zuccoli awarded the Order Commander pro Merito Melitensi to the Director of Directorate "Religions" at the Council of Ministers, Mr. Emil Velinov - recognition and evaluation of his activities for the development of harmonious and warm relations between the State and all religions present in Bulgaria. The daughter of the Italian ambassador pulled a lottery winning participant in the Lent charity campaign of the Order raising money for children in need of food.

The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta is the oldest order of chivalry in the world; as a state-like entity it has a status of observer at the UN and diplomatic relations with 106 countries. Its official holiday is celebrated on June 24 - the birth of St. John the Baptist.

The photos are provided by the Embassy of the Sovereign Order of Malta.

Above: H. E. Mr. Camillo Zuccoli, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Sovereign Order of Malta and the Director of Directorate "Religions" at the Council of Ministers Mr. Emil Velinov with representatives of religious communities in Bulgaria.

01. H. E. Mr. Camillo Zuccoli awards the Order Commander pro Merito Melitensi to the Director of Directorate "Religions" at the Council of Ministers, Mr. Emil Velinov
02. With the Ambassador of Argentina - H. E. Mr. Alberto Trueba and his wife
03. With the Ambassador of Spain - H. E. Mr. José Luis Tapia Vicente
04. With the Ambassador of Italy - H.E. Mr. Marco Conticelli, his wife and their daughter Valentina
05. With the Ambassador of Korea - H. E. Mr. Shin Boonam and his wife
06. The Ambassador of Brazil - H. E. Ms. Ana Maria Sampaio Fernandes and guests at the reception
07. The daughter of the Italian ambassador pulls the winning participant in the Lent charity campaign of the Order raising money for children in need of food in disaster areas on the planet.
08. Guests at the reception