Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court has rejected a court action challenging the proceedings by which the Cabinet awarded ownership of Sofia’s landmark Alexander Nevsky cathedral to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, ruling that the applicants had no legal standing to lodge the application.
The Buditel foundation, represented by Strahil Kerelov and Vesselin Vassilev, had lodged court action against a decision by the Bliznashki caretaker cabinet to award ownership of the cathedral to the church, ending a standoff between church and state that had endured for several years.
The foundation alleged in court papers that the procedure by which the cabinet conferred the title deed on the church was procedurally incorrect.
A three-member panel of the Supreme Administrative Court found that the matter was not one in which the applicants had a procedural right to challenge in court.
The court said that declarations transferring property from public to private ownership were constitutionally a power and obligation of the Cabinet.
Within the powers conferred on it by the constitution, the Cabinet is the central body that has executive discretion over the management of state property and has the legal authority to decide on the transfer of state property.
The ruling by the court is subject to appeal to a seven-member panel of the Supreme Administrative Court, with a seven-day deadline to lodge such an appeal.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)