2nd Bulgarian Bishop Challenges Holy Synod Vote

Society | November 13, 2012, Tuesday // 12:05|  views

Eleven out of a total of fifteen Bulgarian Metropolitan bishops have been exposed as collaborators and agents of the country's former Communist State Security. The picture is a collage of Vladmir Doychinov.

Bulgaria’s Veliko Tarnovo Bishop Grigoriy is withdrawing his signatures from the protocol of the Saturday sitting of the Holy Synod which elected the interim patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

On November 10, Varna Bishop Kiril received support from 7 of the 12 attending metropolitans in a secret vote, making him the interim head of the Church. The decision that Kiril is to also serve as interim Sofia metropolitan bishop was made at the same meeting, which was chaired precisely by Grigoriy.

In an open letter to the Holy Synod, sent Tuesday and published on the official site of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, the Veliko Tarnovo Bishop informs that he is withdrawing his signatures over the growing criticism against the Church, particularly for violating the Holy Synod’s Code in selecting the interim patriarch and Sofia metropolitan.

He writes that he was firmly insisting for his signatures to be deleted and made invalid.

Plovdiv Bishop Nikolay, on his part, announced Monday his official position on the selection of Kiril.

He sent an open letter to the Holy Synod as well, stating he intended to keep silence for 40 days and to skip attending the Synod's meetings. Nikolay also voices alarm about the sitting and the election being conducted in violation of the Code.

The other candidate for the position, vacant after the recent demise of Bulgarian Patriarch Maxim, was Sliven metropolitan bishop Yoaniky.

Kiril will lead the Bulgarian Orthodox Church for four months and will be instrumental preparing the convention of a National Church Council to elect a new Patriarch.

Bulgaria's Patriarch Maxim, who has led the Church since 1971, died Tuesday, age 98, and was solemnly buried Friday.

After Maxim's death, the Synod initially gave the position of Sofia bishop - a position held by Bulgaria's Patriarch - to Nikolay.

During 2011 and early 2012, Varna and Veliki Preslav bishop Kiril raised controversy after being spotted riding a top modern Lincoln MKZ Hybrid car.

This incident has renewed the debate about the sources of wealth among senior Bulgarian clergy.

In mid-January, Bulgaria's so-called Files Commission – a panel investigating the Communist era secret files, exposed eleven out of a total of fifteen Bulgarian Metropolitan bishops as former DS agents.

Nikolay is one of the few in the Holy Synod, who have not worked for the former State Security, but he is also much younger than the rest.


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Tags: Veliko Tarnovo, Grigoriy, nikolay, Holy Synod, State Security, Veliki Preslav, Holy Synod, Bulgarian Orthodox Church, bishop Yoaniky, Sliven, Plovdiv, Varna, sofia, Patriarch Maxim, Bishop Kiril, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid


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