Voices from Russia

Monday, 25 February 2013

Metropolitan Neofit Dmitrov of Ruse Elected Patriarch of Bulgaria

00 Patriarch Neofit Dmitrov of Bulgaria. 24.02.13


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



Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Bulgaria to Elect New Patriarch on 24 February 2013


At a meeting on Tuesday, the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church announced that an election to pick a new patriarch to succeed the late Patriarch Maksim Minkov would take place on 24 February 2013. A rift amongst the bishops shook the Holy Synod after Patriarch Maksim, who led the Church since 1971, passed away on 6 November at the age of 98. They had an obligation to organise the election of a new Patriarch within six months after Maksim’s death, the deadline being 6 March 2013.

27 November 2012


Sofia News Agency



Monday, 26 November 2012

Metropolitan Nikolai of Plovdiv Makes Surprise Appearance at Bulgarian Orthodox Holy Synod Meeting


On Monday, Metropolitan Nikolai Sevastiyanov of Plovdiv made a surprise appearance at a meeting of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. A rift among the Bishops shook the Holy Synod after Patriarch Maksim Minkov, who led the Church since 1971, passed away on 6 November at the age of 98. In the aftermath of the Patriarch’s death and of the controversial election of Metropolitan Kirill Kovachev of Varna and Veliki Preslav as patriarchal locum tenens, Nikolai declared he was withdrawing for 40 days for mourning and wouldn’t attend any Holy Synod meetings.

Last Sunday, during his first liturgy as locum tenens, Kirill hinted that those who missed Holy Synod meetings as a sign of opposition to his election could face sanctions. Approached by the media Monday, Nikolai only said that he’d speak up after the 40-day mourning period. He refused to answer journalists when they asked him if they could interpret his attendance as reconciliation with the new Holy Synod leadership. The Holy Synod is discussing the details of the election of a new Patriarch, which take place no later than six months after Maksim’s death, thus, the deadline is 6 March 2013. One day earlier, in an open letter, sent to the media and the Bulgarian Holy Synod, Plovdiv clergy declared their firm support for Metropolitan Nikolai, condemning the continuing attacks and pressure on him.

26 November 2012



Saturday, 10 November 2012

Bulgarian Locum Tenens Kirill Takes Over Diocese of Sofia


Metropolitan Kirill Kovachev of Varna and Veliki Preslav will serve as the interim Metropolitan of Sofia, in addition to being locum tenens of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. On Saturday, the Holy Synod elected Kirill locum tenens at a special session. The other candidate for the position, vacant after the recent death of Patriarch Maksim Minkov, was Metropolitan Ioanniky Nedelchev of Sliven. Kirill will lead the Bulgarian Orthodox Church for four months; he will prepare the way for a Local Church Council to elect a new Patriarch.

Patriarch Maksim, who led the Church since 1971, died Tuesday aged 98; his burial in Troyan was on Friday. After Maksim’s death, the Synod initially gave the position of the Metropolitan of Sofia… a position held by the Patriarch… to Metropolitan Nikolai Sevastiyanov of Plovdiv. During 2011 and early 2012, Metropolitan Kirill caused controversy after being spotted in an expensive Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. This incident renewed debate about the sources of wealth among senior Bulgarian clergy. As far as Metropolitan Nikolai is concerned, Bulgaria’s youngest ruling hierarch, he’s known for his hardline religious stance.

10 October 2012


Sofia News Agency



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