The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the Bulgarian Ambassador to Moscow and Threatened with ConsequencesPolitics | September 25, 2023, Monday // 18:08| views
The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the Bulgarian ambassador Atanas Krastin today to express to him "a firm protest in connection with the forced removal from Bulgaria under a fabricated pretext, in a blasphemous and insulting manner" of Nikolay Zmeev (Archimandrite Vasian), a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in Sofia.
His expulsion together with two other officials from the Russian Orthodox Church, who are citizens of Belarus, has been called "another provocative expulsion of the Bulgarian authorities, fully in line with the current Euro-Atlantic attitudes of fighting Russian influence".
This is followed by a warning that this "will inevitably turn into unpleasant consequences - especially for its initiators".
The three were forcibly removed from Bulgaria to the border with Serbia, with the counterintelligence's release using wording commonly used to describe activity for the benefit of foreign intelligence services. A little earlier, the authorities in North Macedonia declared Vasian unwelcome in the country for the same reasons.
"At the same time, we are firmly convinced that their plans, aimed at undermining the centuries-old spiritual ties and traditional friendship between the peoples of Russia and Bulgaria, have no prospects and are doomed to failure," the foreign ministry concluded.
Today, the deportees from Bulgaria met in Moscow with the chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Antony. According to the announcement of the department, which practically fulfills the role of the foreign ministry of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church, it is said that Archimandrite Vasian and the others gave details about the "unfounded decision of the Bulgarian authorities" and about "their detention and forced deportation".
Metropolitan Volokalamski expressed sympathy and support to the "victims" on behalf of Patriarch Kirill, and also condemned the "manifest (...) discriminatory and humiliating measures". The other two are Yevgeny Pavelchuk (secretary of the courtyard in Sofia) and Vladimir Bonko (associate).
In addition to Metropolitan Antony, whose visit to Bulgaria some time ago caused protests, his deputy Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk was also present.
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