SOFIA, April 29 (Itar-Tass) — The Easter liturgy, performed by the primates of the Russian and Bulgarian orthodox churches at Sofia’s main cathedral, named after Alexander Nevsky, has turned into a veritable holiday of Bulgarian-Russian friendship.
The service was attended by thousands of Bulgarians and Russians, living in this country.
Patriarch Kirill recalled common “sacred chapters of our history”. “During the Ottoman sway and brutal humiliation of orthodox Bulgarians, it was the orthodox faith that inspired Tsar Alexander II to take a difficult decision: to launch a large-scale war so as to protect orthodox Bulgarians,” noted Patriarch Kirill.
He is sure that this sacrifice will never be forgotten, “since the sisterly aid delivered by Russia, was selfless; it had no political plot”. The patriarch emphasized that the two peoples are connected by the same faith and the same orthodox way of life.
“Now that I see bright and open faces, I understand that I’m among my brethren,” the Moscow patriarch noted. He was touched to the quick when he saw on Saturday in Plovdiv thousands of people who took to the streets and applauded the Russian patriarch. The Moscow guest expressed special gratitude to Bulgarian Patriarch Maxim, 97, admitting in fascination that he “has preserved the force of mind and the force of will”.
Patriarch Kirill laid down a wreath at the monument to Alexander II on Sunday, the last day of his three-day visit to Bulgaria. The monument was erected in the centre of Sofia with the inscription “To liberator Tsar from grateful Bulgaria”. The patriarch also visited the Russian town residence in Sofia, located at the ancient church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker where he was greeted by hundreds of fellow countrymen.