During his visit to Bulgaria, Pope Francis blessed the memory of Ss. Cyril and Methodius, the medieval missionaries who spread Christianity throughout the Slavic lands.

Ss. Cyril and Methodius are patrons of Europe, whose prayer, dedication and apostolic promotion are examples for us and remain, a millennia later, to inspire fruitful dialogue, harmony and brotherly ties between churches, countries and peoples, Pope Francis said in his sermon in the Bulgarian capital.
The Pope visits Macedonia on Tuesday. The two countries celebrate Ss. Cyril and Methodius, while at the same time arguing over whether they were Bulgarians or Macedonians. The treaty Zoran Zaev signed with Boyko Borisov in 2017 established a commission that will mandate joint celebration of historic figures, including the missionary brothers.

The Pope’s remarks in Sofia were also notable for his warning about the demographic dearth, which Francis said reveals the lack of faith in the future. The Pope also made a strongly pro-immigrant message. Bulgaria and especially Macedonia helped put an end to the 2015/16 migrant crisis by closing the borders and putting an end to the Balkan migrant route.

I respectfully suggest that you not close your eyes, your hearts or your hands, in accordance with your best tradition, to those who knock at your door, Pope Francis said.