Two weeks ago the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople announced that His All Holiness Bartholomew had received an invitation from the Russian Patriarch Cyril to participate in the celebrations of the 1030th Anniversary since the Christianization of Russia, to be held in Moscow. The Ecumenical Patriarchate responded, to the effect that Moscow has no reason to celebrate this anniversary as it is related to the adoption of Christianity in Kievan Rus and not in the Principate of Moscow. According to the statement of the Patriarchate made in July, its representatives will visit Kiev but not Moscow. This brief message went largely unnoticed in Bulgaria. Nevertheless, it contains the core of the dispute about the independence of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The Russian position in this debate is well
A month ago the analogy between the case of the Orthodox Church in Skopje and the Church in Kiev came to light, as well as the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s favourable attitude towards their autocephaly. Immediately there were objections voiced, not necessarily only from supporters of the Russian propaganda on this issue. The argument was that the Ecumenical Patriarch was going too far as he had no right to grant autocephaly to these churches. Here I will try to explain why the two churches appealed to His Holiness and what would be the most feasible solutions to both cases. In the Orthodox world, the Patriarch of Constantinople is first by honor. He is in charge of arbitration among the local Orthodox Churches and this capacity of his appears very
On August 1st 2017, with official ceremonies and solemn declarations, the governments of Bulgaria and Macedonia signed a Friendship, Neighborhood and Cooperation Agreement between the two countries. The Bulgarian public welcomes this treaty as the opening of a new page in the relations between the two states. One of its most important clauses for bilateral relations states that Bulgaria will share its experience and support and assist Macedonia’s accession to the European Union and NATO. However, the treaty has yet to be ratified by the two parliaments and has not entered into force. Setting these events in the current political context is important for understanding the political aspects of the problem with the canonical recognition of the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC) in its entirety. The autonomy of the
Who does the Bulgarian Orthodox Church serve – Orthodox Christians in Bulgaria or foreign geopolitical interests? This issue has once again come to the fore after the actions by the Holy Synod of the BOC in recent months. Through its leadership, the BOC has taken an unacceptable stance in a regional political conflict. On June 13th this year, in a letter by Patriarch Neophyte to the President of Ukraine Poroshenko, it is requested of the Ukrainian Parliament not to vote on tabled draft bills on the introduction of general state requirements to the religious denominations in the country (Letter to His Excellency Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine, June 13th, 2017). The requirements to be voted on are intended to ensure that religion cannot be used for political purposes
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In the last year, the behavior of the Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church (BOC) became increasingly radical, while its members are evermore eager to assume the posture of “religious patriots” defending ecclesiastical independence (autocephaly) and the “purity” of Orthodoxy. It turns out that in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church religious radicalism is tolerated at the highest level, with three bishops (Nicolas, Gabriel and Ioanikiy) openly supporting orthodox fundamentalists. All Orthodox churches which recognize democracy, human rights and Western civilization have also unequivocally been condemned in recent Synod decisions issued in connection with the Pan-Orthodox Council in Crete (June 2016), voted under pressure from the two most active members of the Synod. In this media environment, many Bulgarian decision-makers did not consider enough the importance of hybrid war fought by the
On November 23, 2016, the European Parliament adopted a resolution against anti-EU propaganda propagated by Russia and terrorist groups such as Daesh and Al-Qaeda. The document states that Russia is using religious communities and pretending to be a defender of Christian values for its own subversive goals. The declaration provoked outrage in Moscow and subsequently pro-Russian media spread the news that “the EU is attacking Orthodoxy”. For years, experts were aware that the Kremlin was using the Russian Orthodox Church and its satellite churches for propaganda and intelligence purposes. The so-called. “Orthodox fundamentalism” was also called upon, as professed by small extreme groups, preaching aggressive religious exclusivism towards other Christian communities and denying basic principles of a democratic society and the rule of law. Things came to light as,