Pope Francis sent his greetings to the people of Bulgaria in a video message on Friday, May 2, 2019, ahead of his Apostolic Journey to the Balkan nation on May 5-6, 2019. The text of the message follows.
The Holy Father’s Video Message
Dear Sisters and Brothers of Bulgaria!
With God’s help, in a few days, I will be among you. To come to Bulgaria will be for me and for my collaborators a pilgrimage in the sign of faith, of unity and of peace.
In fact, your land is homeland of witnesses of the faith, since the time in which the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius sowed the Gospel there: a fruitful sowing, which has borne abundant fruits also in difficult periods of the last century. Saint John Paul II repeated it often, who so spent himself so that Europe would recover Christ’s liberating strength; and also so that it could take up again and breathe with its two lungs. In his footsteps, I will have the joy to meet His Holiness the Patriarch and the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Together we will manifest the will to follow the Lord Jesus on the path of communion among all Christians.
Beloved, my pilgrimage will be all together in the memory of the Holy Pope John XXIII who, in the close to ten years spent in Sofia as Apostolic Delegate, created with your people a bond of esteem and affection that still lasts. He was a man of faith, of communion and of peace. Therefore, I have chosen as the motto of the Journey the title of his historic Encyclical “Pacem in Terris – Mir na zemyata.” I ask you, please, to accompany me with your prayer. Thank you!
May God grant peace and prosperity to Bulgaria!
© Libreria Editrice Vatican[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]