2nd Bulgarian Bishop Challenges Holy Synod Vote
Bulgaria’s Veliko Tarnovo Bishop Grigoriy is withdrawing his signatures from the protocol of the Saturday sitting of the Holy Synod which elected the interim patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
On November 10, Varna Bishop Kiril received support from 7 of the 12 attending metropolitans in a secret vote, making him the interim head of the Church. The decision that Kiril is to also serve as interim Sofia metropolitan bishop was made at the same meeting, which was chaired precisely by Grigoriy.
In an open letter to the Holy Synod, sent Tuesday and published on the official site of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, the Veliko Tarnovo Bishop informs that he is withdrawing his signatures over the growing criticism against the Church, particularly for violating the Holy Synod’s Code in selecting the interim patriarch and Sofia metropolitan.
He writes that he was firmly insisting for his signatures to be deleted and made invalid.
He sent an open letter to the Holy Synod as well, stating he intended to keep silence for 40 days and to skip attending the Synod's meetings. Nikolay also voices alarm about the sitting and the election being conducted in violation of the Code.
The other candidate for the position, vacant after the recent demise of Bulgarian Patriarch Maxim, was Sliven metropolitan bishop Yoaniky.
Kiril will lead the Bulgarian Orthodox Church for four months and will be instrumental preparing the convention of a National Church Council to elect a new Patriarch.
After Maxim's death, the Synod initially gave the position of Sofia bishop - a position held by Bulgaria's Patriarch - to Nikolay.
This incident has renewed the debate about the sources of wealth among senior Bulgarian clergy.
In mid-January, Bulgaria's so-called Files Commission – a panel investigating the Communist era secret files, exposed eleven out of a total of fifteen Bulgarian Metropolitan bishops as former DS agents.
Nikolay is one of the few in the Holy Synod, who have not worked for the former State Security, but he is also much younger than the rest.