On May 24, Bulgarian held its annual celebrations of the public holiday honouring Saints Cyril and Methodius, the Day of Slavonic learning and culture.
Throughout the country, parades and processions were held, with school pupils bearing banners, balloons and portraits of the two founders of the Cyrillic script, as well as giants of Bulgarian literature.
Among the processions was that in Bulgaria’s second city, Plovdiv, led by mayor Ivan Totev and Bulgarian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Nikolai.
At the Vatican, Pope Francis received in audience a delegation led by Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Marin Raykov.
“The Bulgarian state and people have developed and are developing the deed of the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius,” Raykov in his conversation with the Pope.
“This is our contribution to contemporary European identity,” he added, noting the significance of the traditional audience with the Pope.
The Bulgarian gift for Pope Francis was a copy of the binding of Cherepish Gospel and Pope Francis handed a bronze paper knife to the Bulgarian delegation.
In Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia, the underground museum at the St Sofia Basilica opened for the first time.
For the first month, admission to the museum will be free-of-charge and after that six leva (about three euro) a person. Development of the underground museum has cost close to two million leva and taken several years, to reveal layers of history dating back 1700 year.
The basilica is built over the remains of an older church from the time of the Roman city of Serdica, destroyed by invasions of Goths and Huns in the fourth century. In the second century CE, there was a Roman theatre on the site.
Visitors will be able to see Roman mosaics, the story of Sofia in pictures as well as the chapel of the tomb of the martyrs.
(Photos: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)