We must distinguish the expulsion of certain officials from the closure of the Russian Church. These are two sides of the same issue, expelling employees has nothing to do with faith. This was stated by the theologian Assoc. Kostadin Nushev at BNT.
The expelled priests were not subjected to any discriminatory measures in their capacity as clergy, but in their capacity as foreign citizens who, under the guise of priests, committed violations that came to the attention of the Bulgarian security services.
“The Bulgarian authorities have nothing to do with the closing of the temple. Who closed it is the question that needs to be answered. We all got the impression that the ambassador of the Russian Federation, who appeared on the scene, said that the temple would be closed and that The Russian Orthodox Church will decide on his fate. After that, she apparently realized that such an intervention of secular authorities, especially foreign ones, in the religious activity of a temple in the center of Sofia, obviously contradicts a number of regulations.”
It is unclear why, since there are other priests – a Bulgarian and a Ukrainian – who serve in the Russian Church, the temple is closed
The letter from the Russian embassy that it has nothing to do with the temple is an acknowledgment that the Bulgarian authorities are competent to make a decision, commented the theologian. The letter of Metropolitan Naum of Ruse indicates the specific competence of the church authorities and the status of the church.
“Although it plays the role of representing the Russian Patriarchate in front of the Bulgarian one, it still obeys certain canonical norms”.
Nushev asked if the closing of the temple was not actually a continuation of the actions for which the priests were expelled.
“If one of them has given the order to close the temple, even though he has been expelled, then this activity which has been going on in the temple continues its effect and continues its destructive effects, inciting tension, destroying the public peace, using religious temples for political tension”.
Prof. Nushev believes that this is part of a scenario to use the temple to push political influences.
“On the eve of the election campaign, we see how parties and movements tend to use Orthodoxy in their propaganda and ideology to inflame tensions – this can become an unmanageable process.”