President Radev, Bulgarian and Russian Patriarchs Observe Bulgaria's National Holiday on Mt. Shipka

Sofia, March 3 (BTA) - "Mt. Shipka is a capital of historical dignity which thousands of courageous men left to us and which we should not waste," said Bulgarian President Rumen Radev on Mt. Shipka during observances of the 140th anniversary of Bulgaria's liberation from Ottoman rule. Bulgaria celebrates its national holiday on March 3.

Radev said that the bones of the fallen Russian soldiers and Bulgarian volunteers buried in the snowy mount were the foundations to Bulgaria's liberation and Russia's and Bulgaria's military glory. Mt. Shipka was the scene of one of the most decisive battles in the Russo-Turkish War of 1878.

"The defence of Mt. Shipka was one of the defining moments of the Russo-Turkish War," said Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia in an address on Mt. Shipka. He is paying a visit here between March 2 and 4 at the invitation of Bulgarian Patriarch Neophyte. "There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for the liberation of others," said Kirill, adding that thousands of Russians sacrificed their lives for fellow Orthodox Christians. He expressed hope that the spiritual closeness between the peoples of Russia and Bulgaria from 140 years ago will remain indestructible through time and will manifest itself in fraternal unanimity.

In his address Bulgarian Patriarch Neyophite said that the monument on Mt Shipka remains to this day one of the brightest symbols and monuments to the age old friendship between Bulgaria and Russia and of the Orthodox Christian unity.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov sent letters to the government leaders of Poland, Russia, Montenegro, Moldova and Ukraine in which he expresses the gratitude of the Bulgarian state and people for the participation of their fellow countrymen in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1978.

He said that Bulgaria valued highly the historical ties and traditional cooperation throughout the years with these countries.

Also, Borissov spoke by phone with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in which he expressed gratitude for the role of the Serbian people un Bulgaria's liberation in 1878. "We pay homage and we remember the heroism of the Serbian soldiers in the battles for Bulgaria's liberation," said Borissov. Vucic congratulated the Bulgarian Prime Minister on his country's national holiday.

In a phone conversation with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, Borissov expressed gratitude on behalf of the Bulgarian people for the participation of Finland in Bulgaria's liberation of 1878.

Prime Minister Borissov received congratulatory messages by his Russian and Turkish counterparts.

Source: Sofia