The Bulgarian Orthodox Church Begins Transition After Patriarch Neophyte's Passing

Society | March 14, 2024, Thursday // 09:15|  views

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church faces a period of transition following the untimely death of Patriarch Neophyte. In an extraordinary meeting convened by the Holy Synod today, discussions centered on determining the temporary leadership of the church, as well as setting crucial dates for pilgrimage and burial arrangements for the late patriarch.

According to the church's statute, the Holy Synod is temporarily presided over by the senior metropolitan member in the wake of the patriarch's passing. This temporary leadership will guide the affairs of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church until the election of a new patriarch, a process which must be completed within four months of the previous patriarch's demise.

At the meeting, the Synod is expected to establish the date for the Patriarchal Electoral Church Council, which will oversee the election of the new Bulgarian Patriarch and Metropolitan of Sofia. The statute outlines specific qualifications for the candidate, including being a serving diocesan metropolitan of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, being at least 50 years old, having ruled a diocese for a minimum of five years, and possessing correct Orthodox faith beliefs along with adherence to church order.

The Patriarchal Electoral Church Council comprises bishops, representatives from each diocese, stauropygial monasteries, diocesan monasteries, and secondary theological schools. This diverse assembly will play a crucial role in selecting the next leader of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

The announcement of Patriarch Neophyte's passing was made at midnight by Bishop Gerasim of Melnik, Secretary General of the Holy Synod. In his statement, Bishop Gerasim urged Orthodox Christians to offer sincere prayers for the repose of the late patriarch's soul and to remember him fondly in their hearts.

Patriarch Neophyte's death, attributed to multiple organ failure, occurred at the VMA hospital, where he had been undergoing treatment since late November 2023.

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Tags: Bulgarian, orthodox church, Patriarch Neophyte, Holy Synod


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