Thursday, January 15, 2009

Little Bulgarian princess baptised into the Orthodox faith

January 15, 1933 

 Queen Elena of Italy arrived in Sofia this evening to attend the Roman Catholic baptism of her granddaughter. The baptism, according to the rites of the Roman Catholic church, was to have taken place later this week.

Much to the queen's surprise -- and the surprise of many others -- the little princess, only forty-eight hours old, had been hurriedly baptized earlier in the day into the Orthodox faith. The princess, the first child of King Boris and Queen Giovanna, has been named Marie Louise, after Boris's devoutly Roman Catholic mother, Princess Marie Louise of Bourbon-Parma. 

There is no doubt that this baptism will cause great consternation at the Vatican, as Boris had agreed to raise his children Catholic. This agreement was a condition for approval of his marriage to Princess Giovanna of Savoy by the Pope. Pius would not allow Giovanna, a Roman Catholic, to marry Boris in an Orthodox service. Alexander Malinoff, who is president of Bulgaria's parliament, was named as Marie Louise's godfather, and he held her during the ceremony. 

Members of the court and the government were present for the baptism, as well as the king and queen. Later in the day, the Papal representative, Msgr Roncalli, visited the Bulgarian premier and made an official protest against the Orthodox baptism.

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