The Bulgarian Orthodox Church is to hold a special prayer service for “spiritual unification and moral transformation of the Bulgarian people” on August 6 2013 in response to a request from a group of the country’s leading intellectuals.
Patriarch Neofit, head of the church’s governing body, the Holy Synod, agreed to the request and the church announced that the service would be held at 6.30pm at Sofia’s landmark Alexander Nevsky cathedral.
The service, at which Bishop Tihon – head of the board of trustees of the cathedral – will officiate, will coincide with the day that Eastern Orthodox Christians celebration as the Transfiguration.
On the day of the special service, Neofit is scheduled to be in Bulgaria’s Danubian city of Rousse, where he continues to serve as metropolitan pending an election of a new head of the diocese, and is to preside at a memorial service for the late Patriarch Maxim, who died in November 2012.
The special service for unification and moral transformation comes against a background of more than 50 days of anti-government protests by many thousands of Bulgarians demanding the immediate resignation of the Bulgarian Socialist Party government, which took office in May, but which is seen by its detractors as utterly discredited and morally bereft.
At the beginning of the anti-government protests in June, Patriarch Neofit stated when people felt that justice had been violated, they were free to express their disagreement with the actions of those entrusted with the care of governing of the country and responsibility for the welfare of it citizens.
The group who called for the special service also called for such services to be held in all parish churches in Bulgaria at the same time.
The idea also is that on August 6, instead of the traditional evening gathering point of Independence Square for anti-government protesters, people gather at the square outside Alexander Nevsky cathedral.
Anti-government information website www.noresharski.com said that the special prayer service for spiritual unity and moral transformation of the Bulgarian nation would be live-streamed on its website.
(Main photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)