The electoral college in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church’s Varna diocese shortlisted, in a vote on December 15 2013, two candidates to the new Metropolitan.
The candidates are Bishop Yoan of Znepol and Bishop Serafim of Melnik.
The 30-member electoral college, half clergy and half laity, gave Yoan 22 votes and Serafim 19 votes. There was a total of 13 candidates.
The election is being re-run after a previous attempt was overturned by the Holy Synod, the church’s governing body, after allegations of irregularities including vote-buying.
Neither of the two candidates shortlisted in the abortive previous first round of the election re-appeared on the new shortlist.
Bishop Boris, who won the most votes on the previous occasion, got only 11 in the first ballot on December 15 and only two in the second ballot.
Local media reported from Varna that the outcome of the December 15 voting was received with cheering and applause from those who awaited the result outside the hall.
Bishop Yoan (44) is a graduate of Sofia University theology faculty who also studied at a theological academy in Moscow and who became a monk in 1998 and held various posts, being ordained a bishop in 2007.
Bishop Serafim (39) became a monk in 2000, an archmandrite in 2006 and abbott of Rozhen Monastery in 2008. In 2011, he was appointed vicar to the Nevrokop Metropolitan.
The election is being held to choose a successor to Varna Metropolitan Kiril, who died while diving in the Black Sea in summer 2013.
There will be a three-day period for formal objections to the December 15 election. Should all formalities be in order, the final choice of the new Metropolitan will be made by the Holy Synod on December 22.
(Photo: Nikola Gruev)