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Pope Absolves Bulgaria Of Assassination Involvement

By Digital Journal Staff     May 24, 2002 in Technology
SOFIA (voa) - Pope John Paul II told Bulgaria's president Friday he never believed that Bulgaria was involved in any way in the attempt to kill him in 1981.
According to Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov, the pope says the so-called "Bulgarian connection" - an alleged link between Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca and authorities in Bulgaria - has done a great injustice to the Bulgarian people.
Bulgarian secret agents were suspected of working with the Soviet KGB in 1981 - a time when John Paul's support for the pro-democracy Solidarity union in Poland alarmed Moscow. Three Bulgarians who allegedly helped the Turkish gunman who shot the pope were acquitted by an Italian court for a lack of evidence.
The pope also met in Sofia today with the patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Christian Church. He offered Patriarch Maxim and the Bulgarian Orthodox community the use of a church in Rome.
John Paul II, leader of the world's Roman Catholics, said he hopes his trip to Bulgaria will help heal the rift between the Vatican and the Eastern Orthodox Church. Bulgaria has only a tiny Catholic minority.
During his visit the pope is also expected to meet with Jewish and Muslim leaders, as well as Bulgarian political figures. On Sunday he will hold an outdoor mass in Bulgaria's second largest city, Plovdiv, during which he will beatify three Catholic priests executed by the Communists in 1952.
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