Bulgarian Orthodox Church to elect new Patriarch on June 30

A Patriarchal Electoral Church Council will meet on June 30 to elect a new Patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, the church’s governing body, the Holy Synod, decided on March 19.

This follows the Holy Synod announcing on March 13 the death of Patriarch Neofit.

All dioceses must on June 2 hold elections of delegates to the electoral council.

On June 20, the Holy Synod will hold a meeting to shortlist three candidates for the post of Patriarch, from among metropolitans who meet the criteria in the church’s statute.

The key criteria are that a candidate must have reached the age of 50 and have been a metropolitan for at least five years.

The Holy Synod also decided that the diocesan election of a new metropolitan of Sliven will be held on May 19. This diocesan election will shortlist two candidates, and on May 26, the Holy Synod will choose from among these two.

A diocesan election to fill the post in Sliven already has been held, but the Holy Synod decided – controversially – that it had not been canonical.

At its March 19 meeting, the Holy Synod elected Metropolitan Grigorii of Vratsa as acting head of the Holy Synod pending the election of a Patriarch. Grigorii will also be acting Metropolitan of Sofia, a post traditionally held by the Patriarch.

(Photo of Alexander Nevsky cathedral in Sofia: Clive Leviev-Sawyer; and photo of Grigorii: Bulgarian Patriarchate)

The Sofia Globe staff

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