Bulgarian Orthodox Church Calls for Peace, Justice Amid Ethnic Unrest
Plovdiv metropolitan bishop Nikolay is holding a service Sunday in the village of Katunitsa near Plovdiv, the site that has sparked a week of ethnic unrest in Bulgaria.
In the solemn mass which commemorates the victims of the violence, bishop Nikolay has also read out an address of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to the nation.
Simmering tensions escalated last Saturday after a 19-year-old ethnic Bulgarian resident of Katunitsa was run down an killed by a van driven by Roma.
This led to a string of protests across the country, some of them violent and carrying racist overtones.
"The Bulgarian people is wise and should not let tensions escalate to hatred, something that the Bulgarian Orthodox Church will make all efforts to assist," reads the position of the clerics.
"At the same time, the scale of the events is a manifestation of an immense accumulation of regrettable anger and hatred. This happens every time that God's desire for justice on earth is being neglected," stated bishop Nikolay.
The Orthodox Church strongly calls for the reinstatement of what it sees as the two foundational principles of society - justice and solidarity - and states that their deficiency in Bulgaria can lead to a total erosion of life in the country.