Four bishops have emerged as favourites in the election of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church’s new Metropolitan of Varna, the first round of which will be held on December 15 2013, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television said.
The four favourites are Melnik bishop Serafim, Znepol bishop Yoan, Dragovit bishop Danil and bishop Grigorii, who is abbott of Troyan monastery, which the report noted recently had been caught up in a controversy about gay relationships at the monastery.
The election is being held to choose a successor to Varna Metropolitan Kiril, who died earlier in 2013 while diving in the Black Sea. A previous attempt at electing a new metropolitan failed after the election was invalidated by the Holy Synod after allegations of irregularities including vote-buying.
The election, therefore, is a re-run, but with different winners expected to emerge.
Thirty diocesan electors from Varna, Dobrich, Provadiya, Shoumen and Turgovishte, an electoral college consisting half of clergy and half of laity, will vote to shortlist two out of the 13 candidates. On December 22, the Holy Synod will make a final choice.
Ivan Panayotov, of the “Purity of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church” committee, said that regarding the personal qualities of the favourites, “we have heard only good things. Or to put that another way, we have heard no bad things”.
According to the report, given the controversy in the media about alleged events at the Troyan Monastery, its abbott was least likely to be favoured among Varna clergy to be the new metropolitan.
(Photo: Nikola Gruev)