Neofit, Patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, dies at 78

Neofit, Patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and thus the head of its governing body the Holy Synod, has died at the age of 78, according to statements on March 13 by Metropolitan Antoniy and the Military Medical Academy, where Neofit had been admitted some months ago with a lung ailment.

Metropolitan Neofit of Rousse was elected as the new Patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church on February 24 2013, succeeding the long-standing Patriarch, Maxim.

Neofit was born in Sofia on October 15 1945 under the name Simeon Nikolov.

He was ordained a monk on August 3 1975 in the Troyan Monastery. Neofit rose through the church ranks, becoming Metropolitan of Rousse in 2001.

By the canonical law of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, the death of the Patriarch means that the Holy Synod is temporarily headed by the most senior Metropolitan, pending the election of a new Patriarch.

The election of a new Patriarch takes place no later than four months after the death of the incumbent.

Currently, the Holy Synod is short of one Metropolitan, that of Sliven, with the election to fill the vacancy having been attended by controversy about the electoral process.

Please help keep The Sofia Globe’s independent journalism alive by clicking on the button below and signing up to become a supporter on Becoming a patron of The Sofia Globe costs as little as three euro a month or the equivalent in other currencies.

Become a Patron!

The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage.