The national church council of the Holy Synod elected Metropolitan Neofit Dmitrov of Ruse as Patriarch of all Bulgaria. Neofit won over two other candidates in a runoff. The three candidates chosen after prolonged debates and stalemates last weekend were Neofit, Galaktion Tabakov of Stara Zagora, and Gavriil Dinev of Lovech. On Sunday, the news of Neofit’s election was announced by the Patriarchal locum tenens Metropolitan Kirill Kovachev of Varna and Veliki. Neofit received 90 votes at the runoff against Gavriil, who got 47. The solemn ringing of church bells in downtown Sofia marked the announcement.
Neofit was born 15 October 1945 in Sofia. He is a graduate of the Theological Academy in Sofia, and did graduate work at the Moscow Theological Academy. Neofit is a former lecturer and conductor of the Theological Academy choir, vicar-bishop of the Diocese of Sofia, President of the Theological Academy, first Dean of the restored Faculty of Theology at the St Clement of Okhrid University of Sofia, and was Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod. He was very close to the late Patriarch Maksim Minkov. Patriarch Maksim, who led the Church since 1971, passed away on 6 November 2012, at the age of 98. A solemn procession went from the Holy Synod building to the St Aleksandr Nevsky Memorial Church; troops from all the Bulgarian armed forces lined the procession route. At the end of the installation ceremony, the new Patriarch will ascend to the throne, when two Bishops will proclaim “Axios” (“Worthy”) three times for him, followed by the clergy, and, then by the laity. Then, the new Patriarch will receive his regalia… vestments, crown, sceptre, the patriarchal cross, and panagia (small icons)… the last two worn on the chest.
24 February 2013
Sofia News Agency