English translation of the article Inima Reginei Maria in Nr. 678 15-22 August, 2005 Formula AS Magazine

People of Romania and Bulgaria are starting to discover each other under the scepter of a noble, immortal heart - that of the most beloved crowned ruler of the 20th century in Europe: Queen Marie of Romania. As the events are marching inevitably towards the United Europe for the two nations, it seems that great sources of kindness and respect between Romanians and Bulgarians are being unveiled, as well as a great deal of touristic and cultural opportunities, unimaginable a couple of years ago, when Bulgarian newspapers used to frighten their readers with "the danger of the imperialistic Romania", or when many high-ranked politicians from Sofia were rather scolding of the UE leaders, asking that Bulgaria be untied from "Romanian waste".

Now a different story is being unraveled on the friendly shores of the Danube river. An initiative group was formed by people of the two nations, lead by oficials from Bran and Balcic (two of queen's prefered sites) city halls, together with "The Balkan Consulting Group" society, and "Albena Jsco" society. The group is organizing two "spiritual week-ends", around the dates of August the 15th, on the feast of the Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary (or, as they say in Romania, the feast of "The Great Saint Mary." t.n.*) and September the 8th, on the feast of the Nativity of The Blessed Virgin Mary (or, in Romanian, the feast of "The Little Saint Mary." t.n.*). These two spiritual excursions to Balcic (queen's summer castle in today's Bulgaria, where her heart was resting for a while, t.n.*), and Bran (old castle, connected with Vlad Tepes/Dracula, and offered to the queen by the town's inhabitants, t.n.*), defined as "spiritual tourism (pilgrimage, t.n.*) for those who know and love history." are meant to have as a theme the heart of Queen Marie. Initially her heart was buried in the "Stella Maris" ("Star of the Sea", in Latin) chapel, situated in the Balcic castle, on the Silver Coast of the "quadrilater" (see Note 1), and transferred after 1940 in the chapel of Bran. For the two four day each excursions, the planners of the events organized "celestial music" concerts played on harp, piano and flute, other performances with a romantic touch, visits to the Cape Caliacra, to the town and castle of Rasnov, to "Poiana Brasov" (poiana=meadow), etc. At Balcic, under the title of "Sonata at the Castle", there will be an evocation of the extraordinary personality of the "Queen of Light" - the author of this miniature-paradise on the Black Sea shore. At the same time, at Bran will take place the musical "Hymns to Mary, the Blessed Virgin" and a solemn opening mass for the newly renovated chapel "Stella Maris". One thing is clearly happening: the times where Romanians and Bulgarians ignored each other with serenity and, sometimes with irony have passed.

Ion Longin Popescu

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* - translator's note

Note 1: Explanation of the term "cadrilater" in Romanian, or quadrilater: Southern Dobruja (Dobrogea de sud or Cadrilater in Romanian) is an area of north-eastern Bulgaria comprising the two former administrative districts named for its two principal cities of Dobrich and Silistra. It has an area of 7565 km² and a population of 358,000. Dobruja or sometimes Dobrudja (Dobrogea in Romanian, Dobrudzha in Bulgarian, Dobruca in Turkish) is the territory between the lower Danube river and the Black Sea, which includes the Danube Delta and the Romanian coast.

First joined to modern Bulgaria at its restoration as a state in 1878, it was a part of Romania from 1913 until 1940. In 1940, Nazi Germany imposed Romania in the Treaty of Craiova to cede it to Bulgaria with a population exchange (the Romanian minority was forced to leave the south while the Bulgarian minority had to leave the north). The Treaty of Craiova was signed on 7 September 1940 between Romania and Bulgaria.