Late Bulgarian Orthodox Church Patriarch Neofit’s funeral to be on March 16

A service in memory of late Bulgarian Orthodox Church Patriarch Neofit will be held on March 15 at 9am in Alexander Nevsky cathedral and his funeral will be on March 16.

Neofit’s death, at the age of 78 from multiple organ failure, was announced by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church’s governing body the Holy Synod on the night of March 13.

On March 16 at 9.30am, a funeral service will be held in Alexander Nevsky cathedral, after which Neofit’s body will be taken to St Nedelya church, where he will be buried in the courtyard, in accordance with his wishes and the decision of the Holy Synod, Metropolitan Kiprian announced.

Metropolian Yoan of Varna is the acting head of the Holy Synod, pending the election of a new Patriarch, which by church law must be held within four months of the Patriarch’s death.

The Holy Synod, the governing body of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, is meant to have 15 members, but with the deaths of Neofit – apart from Patriarch, also Metropolitan of Sofia – and Ioanikiy, Metropolitan of Sliven, it has 13.

Of the 13, a total of nine are eligible to elected Patriarch. According to the statutes of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, a candidate must have reached the age of 50 and have been a Metropolitan for at least five years.

The nine eligible are Yosi, Metropolitan of the United States, Grigorii of Veliko Turnovo, Ignatii of Pleven, Gavriil of Lovech, Nikolai of Plovdiv, Yoan of Varna, Naum of Rousse, Grigorii of Vratsa and Daniil of Vidin.

Serafim of Nevrokop, Kiprian of Stara Zagora and Atnonii of Western Europe have not yet turned 50 years old. Yakov of Dorostol has not been in office for five years.

(Archive photo, of St Nedelya church, where Patriarch Neofit will be buried: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

The Sofia Globe staff

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