Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and his delegation met with the head of the Roman Catholic Church on May 24 - the Day of Bulgarian Education and Culture and the Cyrillic Alphabet.
The Swiss Guards welcomed the Bulgarian Prime Minister in the Vatican with military honors. Boyko Borissov was ushered into the Apostolic Palace by papal nobles and by Georg Gaineswyn, the Pope's personal secretary and prefect of the papal home.
Before the audience with the delegation, the Prime Minister met with the head of the Roman Catholic Church. Prime Minister Borissov thanked Pope Francis for the warm reception in the Vatican and for the opportunity to celebrate the work of the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius. The Prime Minister presented an official invitation for visit of the head of the Roman Catholic Church to Bulgaria. Pope Francis accepted the invitation to visit our country in the near future. "In Bulgaria, for many centuries, different cultures, civilizations, and religions have coexisted. As a Balkan country and at the same time as a member of the European family, we are working tirelessly - during and after the Presidency of the Council of the European Union - for the integration of the countries and peoples of the Western Balkans into the European community, for peaceful dialogue and understanding between all religions and ethnicities in this part of Europe," is said in the invitation to Pope Francis.
Prime Minister Boyko Borissov presented the head of the Roman Catholic Church with a painting depicting St. Ivan Rilski and the cave in which he lived, a copy of the Four Gospels of Tsar Ivan Alexander and seedlings for 33 oil-bearing roses from Kazanlak. For his part, Pope Francis presented the Bulgarian Prime Minister with a plaque with clustered branches, which is a symbol of peace and conflict resolution. The Prime Minister accepted the Vatican's gift as an assessment of his work for the European integration of the Western Balkan countries.
After the audience, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov met His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolini, the Vatican Secretary of State. They both expressed their satisfaction with the excellent bilateral political dialogue and expressed the wish to deepen it.
The delegation in Rome, headed by Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, included representatives of the religious denominations in Bulgaria, the academic community and cultural figures. The audience with Pope Francis was attended by the Western and Central European Metropolitan of Bulgarian Orthodox Church Antony, the President of Bulgaria Academy of Science Academician Julian Revalski, the Rectors of the University of National and World Economy Prof. Staty Statev and of the Sofia University "St. St. Cyril and Methodius" Prof. Hristo Bondzholov, the director of the Institute for Historical Studies at the Bulgarian Academy of Science, Assoc. Prof. Daniel Vachkov, the director of the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra Naiden Todorov and the head of the National School of Applied Mathematics Teodosi Theodosiev. Their participation in the audience is a recognition of their achievements and is an expression of the importance that the Bulgarian government attaches to education, science and culture.