Pope Francis will be spending two days in Bulgaria, the European Union’s poorest member and a country with an unreceptive climate for migrants that conflicts with the pontiff’s view that reaching out to vulnerable people is a moral imperative.

Francis is expected to tour a refugee center during the visit that starts Sunday and address the Vatican’s complicated relations with the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

The pope’s trip opens with a meeting with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who leads a center-right coalition government that has three nationalist parties as partners. The government has called for strengthening EU borders to keep out migrants and installed a barbed-wire fence for that purpose at Bulgaria’s border with Turkey.

Pope Francis boards the airplane on the occasion of a three-day trip to Bulgaria and Macedonia at Rome's Fiumicino International airport, Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis boards the airplane on the occasion of a three-day trip to Bulgaria and Macedonia at Rome’s Fiumicino International airport, Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Francis plans a day trip on Tuesday to neighboring North Macedonia, the first by a pope to the former Yugoslav republic.

The airplane carrying Pope Francis' for the three-day trip to Bulgaria and Macedonia prepares to take off at Rome's Fiumicino International airport, Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
The airplane carrying Pope Francis’ for the three-day trip to Bulgaria and Macedonia prepares to take off at Rome’s Fiumicino International airport, Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
The airplane carrying Pope Francis' for the three-day trip to Bulgaria and Macedonia prepares to take off at Rome's Fiumicino International airport, Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
The airplane carrying Pope Francis’ for the three-day trip to Bulgaria and Macedonia prepares to take off at Rome’s Fiumicino International airport, Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis boards the airplane on the occasion of a three-day trip to Bulgaria and Macedonia at Rome's Fiumicino International airport, Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis boards the airplane on the occasion of a three-day trip to Bulgaria and Macedonia at Rome’s Fiumicino International airport, Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin looks through the airplane window on the occasion of Pope Francis' three-day trip to Bulgaria and Macedonia at Rome's Fiumicino International airport, Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin looks through the airplane window on the occasion of Pope Francis’ three-day trip to Bulgaria and Macedonia at Rome’s Fiumicino International airport, Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis boards the airplane on the occasion of a three-day trip to Bulgaria and Macedonia at Rome's Fiumicino International airport, Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis boards the airplane on the occasion of a three-day trip to Bulgaria and Macedonia at Rome’s Fiumicino International airport, Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
A woman looks at Orthodox icons in an open air market near the Alexander Newsky cathedral, ahead of an upcoming visit by Pope Francis, in Sofia, Bulgaria, Saturday, May 4, 2019. During his first visit to the Orthodox country of Bulgaria, on May 5 and 6, Pope Francis will visit the capital, Sofia, and the town of Rakovsky, which is home of the largest Catholic community in the Balkan country. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
A woman looks at Orthodox icons in an open air market near the Alexander Newsky cathedral, ahead of an upcoming visit by Pope Francis, in Sofia, Bulgaria, Saturday, May 4, 2019. During his first visit to the Orthodox country of Bulgaria, on May 5 and 6, Pope Francis will visit the capital, Sofia, and the town of Rakovsky, which is home of the largest Catholic community in the Balkan country. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Workers rest in front of stage ahead of an upcoming visit by Pope Francis, in Sofia, Bulgaria, Saturday, May 4, 2019. During his first visit to the Orthodox country of Bulgaria, on May 5 and 6, Pope Francis will visit the capital, Sofia, and the town of Rakovsky, which is home of the largest Catholic community in the Balkan country. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Workers rest in front of stage ahead of an upcoming visit by Pope Francis, in Sofia, Bulgaria, Saturday, May 4, 2019. During his first visit to the Orthodox country of Bulgaria, on May 5 and 6, Pope Francis will visit the capital, Sofia, and the town of Rakovsky, which is home of the largest Catholic community in the Balkan country. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
In this photo taken on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, a vendor selling Orthodox icons wait for customers at an open air market near the Alexander Newsky cathedral, in Sofia, Bulgaria, ahead of an upcoming visit by Pope Francis. During his first visit to the Orthodox country of Bulgaria, on May 5 and 6, Pope Francis will visit the capital, Sofia, and the town of Rakovsky, which is home of the largest Catholic community in the Balkan country. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)
In this photo taken on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, a vendor selling Orthodox icons wait for customers at an open air market near the Alexander Newsky cathedral, in Sofia, Bulgaria, ahead of an upcoming visit by Pope Francis. During his first visit to the Orthodox country of Bulgaria, on May 5 and 6, Pope Francis will visit the capital, Sofia, and the town of Rakovsky, which is home of the largest Catholic community in the Balkan country. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)
In this photo taken on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, priests talk near holy robes at the
In this photo taken on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, priests talk near holy robes at the “Sacred Heart of Jesus” church in Rakovsky, Bulgaria, ahead of an upcoming visit by Pope Francis. During his first visit to the Orthodox country of Bulgaria, on May 5 and 6, Pope Francis will visit the capital, Sofia, and the town of Rakovsky, which is home of the largest Catholic community in the Balkan country. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)
In this photo taken on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, a boy looks at a portrait of Pope John Paul II painted on an apartment block, reminiscent of his visit in 2002, in the town of Rakovsky, central Bulgaria, ahead of an upcoming visit by Pope Francis. During his first visit to the Orthodox country of Bulgaria, on May 5 and 6, Pope Francis will visit the capital, Sofia, and the town of Rakovsky, which is home of the largest Catholic community in the Balkan country. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)
In this photo taken on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, a boy looks at a portrait of Pope John Paul II painted on an apartment block, reminiscent of his visit in 2002, in the town of Rakovsky, central Bulgaria, ahead of an upcoming visit by Pope Francis. During his first visit to the Orthodox country of Bulgaria, on May 5 and 6, Pope Francis will visit the capital, Sofia, and the town of Rakovsky, which is home of the largest Catholic community in the Balkan country. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)
In this photo taken on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, vocal pedagogue Bernadeta Balabanska conducts the open air choir rehearsal at St. Archangel Michael church in the town of Rakovsky, central Bulgaria, ahead of an upcoming visit by Pope Francis. During his first visit to the Orthodox country of Bulgaria, on May 5 and 6, Pope Francis will visit the capital, Sofia, and the town of Rakovsky, which is home of the largest Catholic community in the Balkan country. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)
In this photo taken on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, vocal pedagogue Bernadeta Balabanska conducts the open air choir rehearsal at St. Archangel Michael church in the town of Rakovsky, central Bulgaria, ahead of an upcoming visit by Pope Francis. During his first visit to the Orthodox country of Bulgaria, on May 5 and 6, Pope Francis will visit the capital, Sofia, and the town of Rakovsky, which is home of the largest Catholic community in the Balkan country. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)
In this photo taken on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, tourists walk in front of Alexander Newsky cathedral, in Sofia, Bulgaria, ahead of an upcoming visit by Pope Francis. During his first visit to the Orthodox country of Bulgaria, on May 5 and 6, Pope Francis will visit the capital, Sofia, and the town of Rakovsky, which is home of the largest Catholic community in the Balkan country. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)
In this photo taken on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, tourists walk in front of Alexander Newsky cathedral, in Sofia, Bulgaria, ahead of an upcoming visit by Pope Francis. During his first visit to the Orthodox country of Bulgaria, on May 5 and 6, Pope Francis will visit the capital, Sofia, and the town of Rakovsky, which is home of the largest Catholic community in the Balkan country. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)
In this photo taken on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, a man rides a bicycle past a billboard that reads:
In this photo taken on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, a man rides a bicycle past a billboard that reads: “Welcome” in Bulgarian, in the town of Rakovsky, central Bulgaria, ahead of an upcoming visit by Pope Francis. During his first visit to the Orthodox country of Bulgaria, on May 5 and 6, Pope Francis will visit the capital, Sofia, and the town of Rakovsky, which is home of the largest Catholic community in the Balkan country. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)
In this photo taken on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, a child's drawing of Pope Francis is attached to a gate at the
In this photo taken on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, a child’s drawing of Pope Francis is attached to a gate at the “Sacred Heart of Jesus” church in the town of Rakovsky, central Bulgaria, ahead of an upcoming visit by Pope Francis. During his first visit to the Orthodox country of Bulgaria, on May 5 and 6, Pope Francis will visit the capital, Sofia, and the town of Rakovsky, which is home of the largest Catholic community in the Balkan country. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)
In this photo taken on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, a woman listens to an open air choir rehearsal at St. Archangel Michael church in the town of Rakovsky, central Bulgaria, ahead of an upcoming visit by Pope Francis. During his first visit to the Orthodox country of Bulgaria, on May 5 and 6, Pope Francis will visit the capital, Sofia, and the town of Rakovsky, which is home of the largest Catholic community in the Balkan country. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)
In this photo taken on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, a woman listens to an open air choir rehearsal at St. Archangel Michael church in the town of Rakovsky, central Bulgaria, ahead of an upcoming visit by Pope Francis. During his first visit to the Orthodox country of Bulgaria, on May 5 and 6, Pope Francis will visit the capital, Sofia, and the town of Rakovsky, which is home of the largest Catholic community in the Balkan country. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)

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