The mission of Pope John XXIII in Bulgaria
The mission of Pope John XXIII in Bulgaria

Nesebar is proud to be one of the places where "the Bulgarian Pope" Monsignor Roncalli, as it was his name, arrived in Bulgaria on April 1925 as an apostolic visitor with the mission to act as a political mediator interlinking the diplomatic relationships and religions in the country. Intentionally his diplomatic career started from Bulgaria and therefore he was called by the locals '"The Bulgarian Pope" and "The Good Pope". 

For the 10th years of living in the country Monsignor Roncalli devoted humanic efforts and generous help and support the progress and revival of the nation. He became a Patriarch of Venice and as from 1958 he was the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church under the name John XXIII. Upon his arrival in Bulgaria Ronalli developed a charity to the refugees from Aegean Macedonia and Thrace. Not by chance the first canteen /dining room/ was opened in Nesebar upon his overall supervision. The gentle and tolerant gestures to the people were embarked with many positive actions Monsignor Roncalli did during his stay in Bulgaria and after. He played a huge role and supported the suffered people during the big 1928 earthquake in the town of Chirpan. At that time he lived in Plovdiv. Monsignor Roncalli had close relations with the Bulgarian Tsar Boris III, other Bulgarian politicians, public officials and scientists.  He succeeded to overcome the dogmatic obstacles before the wedding of the Italian Catholic Princess Giovanna and the Bulgarian Orthodox Tsar. In 1962 in his role as Pope John XXIII he blessed the marriage of the last tsar of the Bulgarian Kingdom and politician in the newest history of Bulgaria - Simeon Sax-Coburg-Gotha with the Spanish aristocrat Dona Maria G√≥mez-Acebo y Cejuela.  It is visible from an official diplomatic correspondence of Roncalli with Rome that he used to ask the Vaticans officially to reduce the unbearable reparations, which Bulgaria had to pay after the First World War and he succeeded. Roncalli made no difference between Catholic and Orthodox people. The greatest gesture to Catholism was to summon the Second Vatican Council that reformed the entire vision of the church towards the world then. Monsignor Roncalli support the Bulgarian delegation during the negotiations in Paris Peace Conference in 1946. At the same time Roncalli used his connections and power to neutralize the anti-Bulgarian propaganda and the intentions of the Greek government to seize Bulgarian territories. 

On 27th April 2014, the first Sunday after the Resurrection of Christ, Pope John XXIII was canonized a Saint.