BTA News

President Radev and Pope Francis Call for End to Bloody Wars in Ukraine and Gaza

Meeting on Thursday, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev and Pope Francis shared the view that the most serious challenge facing humanity nowadays is to stop the bloody wars in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip and the killing of thousands of innocent people. “This calls for awareness, reason and efforts from the entire international community to look for pathways to peace based on international law,” Radev told Bulgarian journalists in Rome after meeting with the pontiff earlier in the day.

The president was paying a traditional annual visit to Vatican City and Italy ahead of the Day of the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius, the Bulgarian Alphabet, Education and Culture and Slavic Literature (May 24).

Radev told the press: “I expressed a view just like his. It is time for reason, time to count on diplomacy, because we have seen that peace cannot be achieved solely by economic and military means. It is time for diplomacy.”

The president noted that Pope Francis has always shown warm feelings for Bulgaria and the Bulgarian people. “Earlier today, he wished us good health, peace and prosperity. The Pope is aware of our problems. He wished that we had more children – in the context of the general ageing of the population across Europe. The Pope is a man of profound scientific learning and extensive general knowledge. Talking with him is a pleasure.”

Radev also quoted Francis as saying that Bulgarian children should receive decent education and equally decent upbringing; they should be raised to know and respect their nation’s history, literature, language and culture. “He said, may your young people be more deeply rooted in Bulgaria, and may the knowledge they receive be oriented towards the future, so that your nation can be successful,” Radev noted.

The President went on to tell the journalists: “The Pope urged us to take better care of our elderly people, because they deserve respect. Everything we have, we owe to the elderly. When it comes to tradition, the national spirit and continuity, books are not enough. The most important kind of continuity is between the generations. Pope Francis said we should keep the relationship between the generations alive and make it stronger.”

During their meeting, the president gave the Pope an icon of the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius, who devised the earliest version of the Slavic alphabet in the 9th century. “He was very thankful, viewed it with obvious curiosity, definitely liked it,” Radev commented. The icon is a 19th-century original created by the Sofia School of Painting. In exchange, the guest received “an incredible lithograph showing the connection between the generations, a fallen man and a younger one reaching out his hand – the Pope urged us to treat each other this way”.