The centenary of the Armistice at the close of the First World War was marked in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia at the annual Remembrance Sunday ceremony on November 11 2018, and with the pealing of the bells of the largest Bulgarian Orthodox churches in the city.
As is traditional in the Bulgarian city, tributes to the dead of the wars of the 20th century were paid at, respectively, the Commonwealth, German, Italian and French war graves in Sofia Central Cemetery.
The ceremony was addressed by the ambassador of the UK, Emma Hopkins, of Ireland, Michael Forbes, of Germany, Herbert Salber, of Italy, Stefano Baldi, and of France, Eric Lebédel. Other participants included US ambassador Eric Rubin, representatives of other European and Commonwealth countries, including South African ambassador Vanessa Calvert, and foreign envoys from other parts of the globe, as well as senior representatives of the Bulgarian Defence Ministry and individual armed forces, and the head of the European Commission office in Sofia, Ognyan Zlatev.
In their addresses, the ambassadors underlined that a century after the Armistice, countries, whether they had been allies or foes in the wars of the past, now stood together in the cause of peace.
At the Bulgarian Orthodox Church of St Mina, with November 11 as the saint’s feast day, a liturgy of thanksgiving for the end of the First World War was held. In a first for the city, Orthodox Church bells pealed at 1pm, as part of the global campaign to recall how church bells were rung to celebrate the end of the war.
In Paris, Bulgarian President Roumen Radev joined heads of state and government at a solemn ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.
(Photos: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)