Sovereign Military Hospitaller
Order of St John of Jerusalem of
Rhodes and of Malta

Reception on the occasion of the feast of Blessed Gerard

02/11/2022

On October 11, the Embassy of the Sovereign Order of Malta held a reception at Sofia Hotel Balkan on the occasion of the feast of Blessed Gerard. The event was attended by many ambassadors, members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of the Presidency, the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the academic and cultural elite of Sofia. Among the guests were three bishops from the Catholic Church in Bulgaria – Mons. Hristo Proykov, Mons. Strahil Kavalenov and Mons. Rumen Stanev, as well as priests and nuns. In her speech, H.E. Ambassador Ursula Hoffter Zuccoli pointed out that “the last two years have been extremely difficult, first because of the pandemic, and then because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we all had to get used to the fact that peace in Europe can no longer be taken for granted.” In her words, “this has been a complex and challenging period for the world, but also for the Sovereign Order of Malta”. The Ambassador recalled that “the Sovereign Order of Malta continues to be close to the needy, to the homeless, to the poor and above all to the children of the Family Residential Centres”. She stressed that “last winter the Embassy distributed 1500 food packages to needy people in Sofia, Northern Bulgaria, municipalities of Mezdra and Cherven Bryag”. Together with Caritas, a hot lunch was distributed to homeless people at the Women’s Market and a children’s camp was organised for over 100 children from family-type accommodation centres during the summer. At the end of his speech, Ambassador Hofter Zuccoli presented awards to Father Jaroslaw Babik, parish priest of St. Joseph Parish in Sofia, to Dr. Dancho Penchev, Director of the Regional Health Service-Sofia, to Mr. Roberto Santorelli, President of Confindustria Bulgaria, to Mrs. Carla Bernasconi and Mr. Fabio Bondini for their contribution to the implementation of the activities of the Order of Malta in Bulgaria. Three volunteers – Christian Liebich, Gergana Bogdanova and Radoslav Georgiev – were also awarded a special medal for their volunteering during the Covid-19 pandemic.