Vidin Metropolitan Daniil elected as new Bulgarian Orthodox Church Patriarch

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church Metropolitan of Vidin, Daniil, was on June 30 elected as the church’s new Patriarch and Metropolitan of Sofia.

Daniil, 52, is to be enthroned as the church’s fourth Patriarch, succeeding Patriarch Neofit, whose death at the age of 78 was announced on March 13 2024.

In a second-round vote by 138 members of the Patriarchal Electoral Church Council, an electoral college representing clergy and laity, Daniil received 69 votes and Metropolitan Grigorii of Vratsa 66 votes. There were three invalid ballots.

The third shortlisted candidate, Metropolitan Gavriil of Lovech, got 19 votes at the first round and thus was eliminated from the election. In the first round, Grigorii got 64 votes and Daniil 51 votes. There were four invalid ballots.

Daniil has been Metropolitan of Vidin since February 2018.

He was born Atanas Triandafilov Nikolov on March 2 1972 in Smolyan, where he attended school before going on to enrol for a degree in English at Sofia University in 1996. In 1997, he switched to the theological faculty at Sofia University.

He became a monk in 1999. Daniil graduated from Sofia University’s theology faculty in 2002. In 2004, he was sent to Rozhen Monastery and in 2006 was appointed as an Archimandrite.

Daniil was consecrated as a bishop in 2008 and was appointed vicar of the Metropolitan of Nevrokop, the diocese headquartered in the southern Bulgarian town of Gotse Delchev.

Two years later, in June, he was appointed vicar of the Metropolitan of the United States, Canada and Australia.

One of the church’s Russophile camp, Daniil was at the centre of controversy in November 2022 when he authored a diocesan letter pointing the finger at Ukraine and the Maidan uprising in 2014 for alleged guilt in the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Daniil, interviewed by Bulgarian National Radio earlier in June 2024, lashed out at Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew – long at odds with Russian Patriarch Kirill – and described the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine as uncanonical.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew earlier arrived in Sofia for the enthronement of the new Patriarch, the first time that an Ecumenical Patriarch was to attend the enthronement of a Bulgarian Patriarch.

Representatives of Eastern Orthodox Christian churches were also in Sofia for the ceremony. Church protocol is that other Orthodox churches send representatives, but their Patriarchs do not attend, so as not to distract from the local church’s new incumbent.

(Photo: Bulgarian Patriarchate)

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