The annual reception, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, of the Embassy of the Sovereign Order of Malta to Bulgaria was held on June 27 2013 at the Grand Hotel Sofia.
Ambassador Camillo Zuccoli received more than 450 guests, representatives of the government, Parliament, diplomatic corps, Roman Catholic church and Bulgaria’s academic, cultural and artistic circles. Among the ambassadors and diplomats were representatives of 40 countries from all continents.
At the event, Zuccoli, on behalf of the Order’s Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing, bestowed high honours of the Order Pro Merito Melitensi: Grand Officer to Ivan Dimitrov, Director of State Protocol at Bulgaria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Commander to Dr. Andrea Cassini, deputy chairman of the management board and chief operating officer of Unicredit Bulbank; Officer to Dr. Vladislav Ivanov, of Bulgarian Academy of Science; and Cross to advocate Paulina Mihaylova.
Zuccoli also bestowed silver and three bronze medals of merit to four volunteers involved in the humanitarian activities of the embassy in Bulgaria.
The Sovereign Order of Malta this year celebrates the 900th anniversary of the first recognition of its sovereignty. The Order today is present in 120 countries.
Diplomatic relations with Bulgaria were established in 1994 and since the opening of the embassy in Sofia in 2005, more than 200 humanitarian initiatives in 83 different places in the country have been carried out.
Among those pictured are ambassador Zuccoli with a group of those honoured; with the Apostolic Nuncio, Mons. Bolonek and the Chief of State Protocol Ivan Dimitrov; with Defence Minister Angel Naidenov; and with the ambassadors of Poland and the Czech Republic; the ambassador of Italy; and the ambassador of Spain.