A Bitter Religion
By Petya Bondokova
Dictionaries say that "faith" means firm belief in something for which there is no proof.
That complete and unquestioning trust finds its expression in some personal or institutionalized system of attitudes and rituals, in other words - religion.
But for every person or society there might come a time when the religious system is no more passable. Developed to suit faith, and feed it, in a strange way it might actually turn against it. A religion that is plagued by wrangling and greed, for example, is nothing but an abuse to faith.
An opposition of that nature has been disturbing Christian believers in Bulgaria for decades. But in just one day, the disagreement that has been smoldering for years exploded into barbarity.
Two Churches - one legitimized by an old political regime, the other one set up in protest of the state meddling with religious matters, but in the end left with no lawfulness. Years passed by, but clerics failed to reach an accord. And the most likely reason for the continuing dissension slowly came to the service: money. Avidity for the Church's estates made clergymen come to grips with each other, and solve their problems not through Christian humanness, but through prosecution.
That is how the country's people ended up gazing into their television screens on the evening of July 21: policemen besieging churches and breaking inside, priest being dragged out, kicking and jostling, with fluttering cassocks and flushed faces, shocked worshippers chanting out their anger and pouncing at security forces.
The Prosecution had ordered for priests of the so-called alternative Synod to leave the temples they occupied, and let their officially appointed fellows take the place.
Something long thought-of became crystal clear that day - a faithless religion may sound like nonsense to scholars, but it couldn't be more real when spite and rapacity set in.
Sometimes one is more than two.