On the eve of the day of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, on June 28, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Republic of Bulgaria, His Eminence Monsignor Luciano Suriani,

head of the Embassy of the Holy See in Bulgaria, gave a reception at Vivacom Art Hall Oborishte 5. It was attended by representatives of the Catholic church, of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, ambassadors, diplomats, cultural figures, journalists.

His Eminence Monsignor Luciano Suriani welcomed his guests and thanked them for respecting the holiday. Together with the invitation to the reception, information about the celebration and a brief presentation and reflection on the diplomatic service of the Holy See were sent in advance on his behalf to all invitees:

The Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul is usually the day on which the Apostolic Nunciature celebrates its feast day. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the election of Pope Francis. I take this opportunity for a brief presentation and reflection on the diplomatic service of the Holy See.

Since the first centuries of the Church, the Bishop of Rome made use of Legates or Representatives to maintain relations with the civil and religious authorities far from Rome, but also to deal with issues of common interest and resolve them. Over the centuries, papal diplomacy developed, defining itself more and more firmly, assuming its own physiognomy. More than three centuries ago, in 1701, the Catholic Church equipped herself with an Institution of its own, for the training of future diplomats of the Holy See: the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy. In it, priests who come from the five Continents prepare to carry out their service in one of the 110 Nunciatures, scattered throughout the world, or in the Secretariat of State. All this reveals the particular characteristic of the diplomatic corps of the Holy See; it is universal, as is the Church.

The Apostolic Nuncios safeguard the unity between the Bishop of Rome and the local Churches, seek to establish and strengthen the good relations with the other religious communities and are committed to cultivating relationships of sincere collaboration with the civil Authorities of the Country, in which they carry out their service, working above all for the defense of religious freedom and for the promotion of justice and peace. The problem of peace is not only one of the topics on the diplomatic agenda of the Pontifical Representatives, but it is the fundamental theme of all their activity; an issue that in itself gives importance and value to the diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Countries. There are situations in which the Apostolic Nuncios can offer their action as mediators in the solution of any problems or tensions between two or more States. Furthermore, the Holy See is present, usually as an Observer, in various International Organizations, committed to bringing the light of the Gospel and defending the dignity and rights of every human being.

Currently, the Holy See maintains diplomatic relations with 183 States. To these must be added the European Union and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Pope Francis, briefly summarizing the role of his Representatives, said in his first address to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See on 22 March, 2013: "One of the titles of the Bishop of Rome is Pontiff, that is, a builder of bridges with God and between people. My wish is that the dialogue between us should help to build bridges connecting all people, in such a way that everyone can see in the other not an enemy, not a rival, but a brother or sister to be welcomed and embraced!".

After the reception, on June 29, 2023, a Holy Mass was celebrated by the Apostolic Nuncio, together with the Bulgarian bishops, in the Catholic Cathedral "Saint Joseph" in Sofia. They prayed for Pope Francis, for peace in the world and for the needs of the country.

Photos: "Diplomatic Spectrum"