VATICAN CITY, MAY 14, 2002 (Zenit.org).-John Paul II stated that he is traveling to Bulgaria to promote dialogue with the country´s Orthodox Church.
The Pope explained the purpose of his trip while receiving Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy and his delegation on Saturday, the feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius
Metropolitan Kalinik also attended this traditional meeting, and greeted the Holy Father on behalf of Patriarch Maxim.
“Although my visit to your country has a pastoral purpose, to confirm my Catholic brothers and sisters in the faith,” the Holy Father said, “my fervent desire is also to strengthen the bonds of Christian communion between the Catholic Church and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.”
“Our meeting will certainly serve to consolidate the Christian foundations of Bulgaria at a time when the old order has disappeared and a new life is taking shape in your country,” the Pope added.
John Paul II will visit Bulgaria from May 23-26. He will meet with Patriarch Maxim and the Sacred Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, as well as with the country´s highest authorities. The apostolic visit will culminate with the beatification of Bulgarian martyrs of Communism.