Powerful Bulgarian Bishop May Have Been Murdered - Clergyman

Crime | November 28, 2013, Thursday // 15:41
Bulgaria: Powerful Bulgarian Bishop May Have Been Murdered - Clergyman With the sudden and surrounded by rumors and suspicions drowning death of Metropolitan Kiril on July 9 the post of Metropolitan of Varna and Veliki Preslav became vacant. Photo by BGNES

Allegations have once again emerged that the death of powerful Bulgarian bishop Kiril earlier this year may not have been an accident.

The dead body of Varna metropolitan bishop Kiril, a former interim Patriarch and one of the most powerful members of the country’s senior clergy, was discovered near Varna in July.

Hristo Latinov, head of Bulgaria’s ecclesiastical trade union, has now told BTV that Kiril was informed by people occupying high positions in the security services that there was an assassination plot against him.

Latinov said he learned that during a conversation between him, Kiril, Konstantin Trenchev – leader of one of Bulgaria’s largest trade unions – and “another man, a friend of Kiril’s.”
He said the meeting took place three weeks prior to the bishop’s mysterious drowning death.

“(Kiril) was disturbed when he said that…he was too serious to be joking,” Latinov said.
However, Latinov dismissed claims recently made by clerics that Plovdiv bishop Nikolay had threatened to kill Kiril.

Bishop Kiril was born as Bogomil Petrov Kovachev on June 8, 1954. He has been metropolitan bishop of Varna and Veliki Preslav since 1989.

In November 2012, Kiril was chosen as interim Patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church following the death of 98-year-old former Patriarch Maxim. Kiril remained interim Patriarch until February 2013, where new Patriarch Neofit was elected.

During 2011 and early 2012, bishop Kiril raised controversy after being spotted riding a top modern Lincoln MKZ Hybrid car.

This incident has renewed debate about the sources of wealth among senior Bulgarian clergy.

In 2012, the wealthy bishop was exposed as a former agent of State Security (DS) the Bulgarian secret service during the Communist dictatorship (1944-1989). Kiril worked as a secret agent under the aliases "Kovachev" and "Vladislav."

Allegations have emerged over the years that Kiril may have been involved in suspicious deals involving church-owned land.

Last week, the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church has decided to cancel the first round of the vote for the next metropolitan bishop of Varna and Veliki Preslav.

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Tags: bishop, Kiril, assassination plot, church, Orthodox, Bulgarian
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