With new patriarch, Bulgarian Orthodox Church turns toward Moscow

by | Jul 5, 2024 | Religion

ISTANBUL (RNS) — A tense election in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church on Sunday (June 30) ended with the enthronement of Metropolitan Daniil of Vidin as the new metropolitan of Sofia and patriarch of all Bulgaria, giving the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow an apparent ally as the church and its sponsor, Vladimir Putin, look to strengthen its influence in the Balkans.A 52-year-old former monk, Daniil was elected by just three votes over his main competitor, Metropolitan Grigori of Vratsa, by the 140 lay and clerical delegates on the church’s electoral council. At 52, just two years older than the minimum age church law allows for the Patriarch, Daniil will likely hold the post for many years.
Since the outbreak of full-scale war between Russia and Ukraine in 2022, churches across Eastern Europe have been riven over their connections with the world’s largest Orthodox body, the Moscow Patriarchate, and recognition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which proclaimed its independence in 2018.
Many who opposed Daniil worry that his election represents a sharp turn away from the policies of his predecessor Neophyte I, who is remembered as a unifier.

“For many of us observers, these elections were a referendum of where a Bulgarian church is heading in terms of the wider Orthodox Church,” Andreja Bogdanovski, a scholar and analyst on Orthodox Christianity, told RNS. “Up until a week ago, there was a distinction between pro-Russian groups among the hierarchies and also those who want to see closer relations with th …

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[mwai_chat context=”Let’s have a discussion about this article:nnISTANBUL (RNS) — A tense election in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church on Sunday (June 30) ended with the enthronement of Metropolitan Daniil of Vidin as the new metropolitan of Sofia and patriarch of all Bulgaria, giving the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow an apparent ally as the church and its sponsor, Vladimir Putin, look to strengthen its influence in the Balkans.A 52-year-old former monk, Daniil was elected by just three votes over his main competitor, Metropolitan Grigori of Vratsa, by the 140 lay and clerical delegates on the church’s electoral council. At 52, just two years older than the minimum age church law allows for the Patriarch, Daniil will likely hold the post for many years.
Since the outbreak of full-scale war between Russia and Ukraine in 2022, churches across Eastern Europe have been riven over their connections with the world’s largest Orthodox body, the Moscow Patriarchate, and recognition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which proclaimed its independence in 2018.
Many who opposed Daniil worry that his election represents a sharp turn away from the policies of his predecessor Neophyte I, who is remembered as a unifier.

“For many of us observers, these elections were a referendum of where a Bulgarian church is heading in terms of the wider Orthodox Church,” Andreja Bogdanovski, a scholar and analyst on Orthodox Christianity, told RNS. “Up until a week ago, there was a distinction between pro-Russian groups among the hierarchies and also those who want to see closer relations with th …nnDiscussion:nn” ai_name=”RocketNews AI: ” start_sentence=”Can I tell you more about this article?” text_input_placeholder=”Type ‘Yes'”]

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