The Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre, was received today on a State Visit to Sofia by the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Rumen Radev. The meeting addressed many issues of mutual interest, including the ongoing excellent cooperation between Bulgaria and the Order of Malta – supported by 25 years of diplomatic relations – which has allowed the development of numerous medical and social programmes, and the challenge of migration. To celebrate this important anniversary from Bulgarian side, a commemorative stamp was issued, printed in 10,500 copies. This is the first state visit to Bulgaria since Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre was elected Grand Master in 2018.
“Thanks to the constant support offered by the Bulgarian authorities, our Embassy has been able to carry out an increasingly rich and diversified humanitarian activity which, especially in the last decade, has been characterized by dynamism and great diffusion throughout the Bulgarian territory” declared the Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta, recalling the important legacy left by Ambassador Camillo Zuccoli, who died prematurely nine months ago, who, as the Grand Master pointed out: “has always carried out his task with exemplary dedication, generosity and commitment”.
During the press conference, at the end of the meeting, the Bulgarian President underlined the important help given by the Order in Bulgaria: “We are at your side to work for a better world, through the spread of the values of solidarity and tolerance among those belonging to different religions. His visit is a very important moment for our relations. I hope that your work and commitment will inspire other states,” said the President.
The Grand Master, accompanied by Grand Chancellor Albrecht Boeselager and Grand Hospitaller Dominique de La Rochefoucauld-Montbel, then visited the National Assembly where he had a conversation with President Tsveta Valcheva Karayancheva. Also today the Grand Master will be received by the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church in Bulgaria, Neophyte; on the agenda also the meeting with the Grand Mufti, Mustafa Hadzhi. In the evening the visit to the Royal Palace of Vrana with Simeon II of Bulgaria.
Tomorrow the Grand Master will attend a mass celebrated by Monsignor Anselmo Guido Pecorari, Apostolic Nuncio to Bulgaria, and by Monsignor Christo Proykov, President of the Episcopal Conference. He will also visit a number of medical facilities, including a rehabilitation centre for children suffering from cerebral palsy, to which the Order will donate – in the presence of the President of the Republic, Mr Radev – a latest generation neurosensory stimulator, the first to be introduced in Bulgaria. Afterwards, Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre will visit a hospital specialising in respiratory diseases for the donation of an ultrasound machine. Bulgarian Health Minister Kiril Ananiev will be present for the event.
In Bulgaria, the Order of Malta supports numerous medical and social activities. In recent years, it has donated medical equipment such as defibrillators, spectrograms and incubators to numerous hospitals and delivered an ambulance to the main hospital in Iskrez. Through the Embassy, which has been operating since diplomatic relations were established, the Order has also donated clothing, basic necessities, teaching and educational materials to various schools, orphanages and institutions for the disabled and the elderly. The Order of Malta’s Embassy also organises numerous summer stays for orphaned or disabled children and regularly distributes meals to the homeless, the elderly, migrants and refugees.
Photo-Credit: Evgeni Dimitrov