Citizens to Protest the Decisions of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church

A controversial decision made by the Holy Synod of Bulgaria has left many Bulgarians feeling frustrated and betrayed. To react properly, the "Bulgarian Memory" Foundation has announced a protest in front of the building of the Synod. It will take place tomorrow (May 16th) at 9 am. 

What has the Holy Synod done to provoke such a protest? On its last meeting, the Synod decided that the Bulgarian Orthodox Church will not continue its dialogue with the Macedonian Church. As we have previously reported, the Macedonian Church issued an official letter to the Synod asking for a communion. 

Although this particular aspect was not addressed in the Synod's decisions list, another statement may indirectly point to such a possibility. The Synod will not respect the 1000-year anniversary of the Archbishopric of Ohrid. We would like to remind you that the Archbishop of Ohrid - Stefan has issued invitations to both the Head of State (President Radev) and the Patriarch(Neophyte). The Synod also proclaimed itself against Bulgarian priests partaking in a mutual prayer with Macedonian priests on the grave of St. Cyril in Italy on May 24th. May 24th is the day when Bulgarians honor the deed of St. Cyril and his brother St. Methodius, who together created the Cyrillic alphabet. 

According to Faktor, the decision comes shortly after a general from the former KGB - Leonid Reshetnikov had a meeting with the metropolitan bishop of Ruse - Naum. Reshetnikov, who is pretty vocal about his support for Putin's vision for Russia and the Orthodoxy, has stated before that Bulgaria and its Church should be an integral part of that project. 

So why are Bulgarians enraged? One of the most important subjects in Bulgarian politics and day-to-day life has always been Macedonia. As the Patriarch himself has stated, Macedonians and Bulgarians are brothers. Following the so-called "Russian and Serbian" dogma is only creating tension between the two peoples, their politicians, and their Churches. In a recent announcement, the Serbian Orthodox Church seemed to partially privatize the celebrations of the 1000-year anniversary of the Archbishopric of Ohrid. With its latest decision, the Bulgarian Holy Synod has aided in crafting unneeded tension and is sending troubling signals to the Macedonian Church and the public. 

 

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Vasil Manev

Vasil Manev is a student in Computer Science and an aspiring columnist, studying in Heidelberg, Germany.

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