Skip to comments.Latin-Rite Cathedral Taking Shape in Bulgarian Capital
Posted on 12/26/2002 9:56:36 AM PST by NYer
>SOFIA, Bulgaria, DEC. 24, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The resurgence of a new Catholic cathedral in Sofia is due in no small measure to John Paul II's visit to the country.
Last May 23, the very day the Pope arrived in Sofia, the government approved the construction of the cathedral, dedicated to St. Joseph, in the historic center of the capital.
An Orthodox cathedral, a mosque and a synagogue are also located in the center of Sofia, near the headquarters of the Parliament and government, Vatican Radio noted.
The new building is located where once stood the old cathedral, destroyed by bombings during World War II. The ground floor is already completed.
"If the works continue at such a rapid pace, we will be able to celebrate next Christmas, 2003, inside the cathedral," said the parish priest, Capuchin Father Cristoforo Kujok.
He explained that the construction is being carried out thanks to the help of parishioners, the contributions of Aid to the Church in Need, and the U.S. bishops' conference.
Sofia also has a cathedral of Byzantine-rite Catholics dedicated to the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
VATICAN CITY, MAY 25, 2002 (VIS) - At 6:45 p.m. today Pope John Paul went to visit the Latin rite Catholic co-cathedral in Sofia, dedicated to St. Joseph, where he blessed a statue of Blessed Pope John XXIII as well as the cornerstones of what will be the new cathedral. There are 65,000 Latin rite Catholics in Bulgaria.
The original cathedral was built in 1878 for foreigners working on the last part of the tracks from Sofia to Istanbul for the famed Orient Express train. The church was destroyed by American bombs during World War II, on March 30, 1944. At the end of 1944 the church's theatre hall was consecrated, and has been used as a parish since then. In 1993 the parish, which consists of 4,500 families, was entrusted to the Friars Minor Capuchin. Work is scheduled to begin soon on the new cathedral.
«I greet you with affection in your co-cathedral dedicated to St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and patron of the Universal Church,» the Pope told the faithful gathered in the chapel, which has a capacity of 200 people. «My thoughts turn in the first place to Bishop Gheorghi Jovcev, to the priests and men and women religious and from here I wish to extend my greetings to all of the Catholic faithful of the Latin rite in the different localities of Bulgaria, especially to the children, to those who are sick and the elderly.»
«I am pleased,» John Paul II went on, «to learn that work on the new cathedral will soon begin not far from here, on the very site where there stood the ancient church destroyed by war. My prayer is that the variety of stones needed for building will be images of the 'living stones' that each of you is called to be, by virtue of your Baptism, 'built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ'.»