Bulgaria's Lincoln-Driving Bishop Didn't Really Resign

Society | December 8, 2011, Thursday // 18:59

Bulgaria's Varna and Veliki Preslav Bishop Kiril, who caused a scandal after showing up before his congregation with a 2012 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, has not really resigned his post, according to the Varna Bishopric.

On Wednesday, Bulgarian media reported that Kiril quit his job, citing "dissatisfaction with the management of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church" as the reasons for his resignation.

However, many in Bulgaria have been quick to suggest that Varna Bishop Kiril – who is known to have harbored hopes to become Bulgaria's next Patriarch after the current head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Maxim – has caused a scandal with his luxury limo, which might be the real reason for his resignation.

Bishop Kiril arrived Tuesday for a service at the St Nikola church in the Black Sea city in a brand new "Lincoln MKZ Hybrid" - model 2012. The vehicle is not offered on the Bulgarian market and is possibly the first such model in the country.

The car is the first hybrid vehicle of Lincoln. It provides top-notch luxury with a real-wood interior and seven safety technologies. In the US its starting price is about USD 35 000. It is considered to be the most luxurious hybrid vehicle in America.

Until now the Bishop used a French Peugeot, but says he had to get rid of it over high gas consumption.

"What are you filming? Who are you? This is not serious! You are pathetic, you are no journalists", Father Doncho from the Varna Bishopric shouted at reporters Thursday, as cited by Darik Radio, as he refuted the reports that Bishop Kiril had stepped down by presenting a statement of the Council of the Varna Bishopric.

The statement makes it clear that the Lincoln that got the bishop in trouble cost USD 36 000, which can in no way be described as a "luxury car" according to the Council.

"Let's not become pathetic and use the standards of the homeless. So for anybody else, whoever they may be, it is natural and unlikely to provide interest when they drive expensive and luxury vehicles but not for the priests? Why is it not suitable for a prelate of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to use a good car? This is ridiculous for the realists," said Father Doncho.

"We are wondering where the journalists got the idea that Kiril can resign – he is a prelate for life! Is it that easy to resign for a prelate in the prime of his life and creativeness! No, not really!" asked the priest.

Earlier on Thursday, a Varna businessman, Yuliyan Gendov told Bulgarian paper Blitz that he had provided the Lincoln to the Varna Bishop for "temporary use" because the latter had nothing to drive.

The car trader said the Lincoln he gave to Kiril had not been brand new, and had even been hit on the left side.

"The brand is really not very well-known, and this is the first such car in Bulgaria but that doesn't make it a luxury vehicle. Apparently, it is more interesting to create sensations. Nobody has said that the firm that provided the car to the bishop has been sponsoring the homeless kitchen of the Bishopric for 10 years," Gendov is quoted as saying.

In his words, Bishop Kiril has fallen pray to "extremely unjust slander", and his firm is going to get back the car eventually.

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Tags: Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, bishop, Kiril, Varna, Bishop Kiril, Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Maxim, Holy Synod, resignation, scandal
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