Bulgaria's New Patriarch to Pray for Peace in Bulgarians' SoulsSociety | February 24, 2013, Sunday // 17:16| views
Ruse Metropolitan Neofit is the new Patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Photo by BGNES
Neofit, the newly elected Patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, vowed to pray for peace in the hearts of the Bulgarian people, minutes after he was officially enthroned.
On his way to the Holy Synod, the new patriarch declined to make any comments to the reporters and his only words were:
"The first task of the church is to be united and work together. May all Bulgarians be happy and work for the good of Bulgaria."
The new Patriarch, bishops, priests, President Rosen Plevneliev, ministers, delegates and officials took a family photo in front of St. Alexander Nevski cathedral.
Ruse Metropolitan Neofit was elected Patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church by the Holy Synod's national church council on Sunday after he prevailed over two other candidates at a runoff.
The three who were were chosen after prolonged debates and stalemates last weekend were: Neofit, the Stara Zagora metropolitan Galaktion, and Lovech's Gavriil.
The news about Neofit's election was announced Sunday by interim Patriarch and Sofia Metropolitan, Kiril.
Neofit collected 90 votes at runoff against Gavrail, who got 47.
The announcement was accompanied by solemn church bells in downtown Sofia.
Neofit was born on October 15, 1945 in Sofia.
He is a graduate of the Theology Academy in Sofia, and has specialized in Moscow.
Neofit is a former lecturer and conductor of the Theology Academy choir, coadjutor at Sofia Bishopric, President of the Theology Academy, first Dean of the restored Faculty of Theology at Sofia University, and was Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod.
He is known to have been very close to late Patriarch Maxim.
Bulgaria's Patriarch Maxim, who led the Church since 1971, passed away on November 6, 2012, at the age of 98.
A solemn procession from the Holy Synod building to the Alexander Nevsky cathedral followed the election of the new patriarch. There was a cordon of representatives of all military divisions of Bulgaria.
At the end of the enthronization ceremony, the new Patriarch stepped to the throne, when two Bishops promulgated three times "Worthy" for him, followed by the clergy and then the laity.
The new Patriarch received the patriarchy attributes: robe, crown, scepter, the patriarchal cross and the engolpiya (small icons) – the latter two worn on the chest.