Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria, who has died aged 98, led his country's Orthodox Christians for more than 40 years, fighting off efforts to remove him from office following the end of communism.
When the communists took over Bulgaria in 1944, some 600 Orthodox priests were killed, the then patriarch was sent into internal exile, and the Church fell under the control of the state. For the next 45 years religious observance was strictly controlled: as in Russia, old women were allowed to attend church, but anyone else risked harassment, loss of employment, arrest, even jail. Most Orthodox priests had little choice but to go along with the new order, but many also became actively involved in the structures of communism, as informers for Bulgaria's hated secret police, the Darzhavna Sigurnost....
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