Three flights were redirected from Sofia Airport to Bulgaria’s Black Sea cities of Varna and Bourgas on April 27 as thunderstorms swept in on the evening that the country joined in celebrating the Orthodox Christian date of Easter 2019.
Flights from Liverpool and Hamburg were redirected to Varna Airport, while a flight from Milan to Sofia was redirected to Bourgas Airport.
However, in the early evening, the government aircraft bearing Bulgarian Orthodox Church clergy bearing the “holy fire” – a sacred part of the Orthodox Christian Easter ritual – landed at Sofia Airport, on its mission to bear the flame onward to all parts of the country, and North Macedonia.
On a night when it is customary for Orthodox Christians to bear the “holy fire” from churches to their homes in celebration of Easter, heavy rain and thunderstorms pelted down on many parts of Bulgaria.
In Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia, the late afternoon saw heavy rain, thunder, and hailstorms in parts of the city.
The Interior Ministry said that emergency number 112 had received a number of reports, mostly about fallen trees and branches. Most came from the district of Pleven, where sections of road were flooded, while there were also reports of damage in Kyustendil, Dupnitsa, Petrich, Sandanski and Sofia.
In Plovdiv, as residents of Bulgaria’s second city awaited the customary ritual of the distribution of the “holy fire”, late evening thunderstorms brought heavy rain in a fusillade on the city, leaving it an open question whether adherents to the ritual would be able to bear the flame unquenched to their homes.