© Yulia Lazarova
The abbot of the Chernogorsk monastery Nikanor
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Materially, it appears that the Russian Church building is owned by the Russian Federation and the Russian Embassy. This was stated to “Nova TV” by the abbot of the Chernogorsk monastery Nikanor. He specified that the church is managed by the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, which, however, does not have a key to the church.
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According to him, there is a difference between spiritual jurisdiction and purely material property. In front of BBC, Tiveriopolis Bishop Tikhon said for his part that the church is under the spiritual authority of the Metropolitan of Sofia, and the two patriarchs (note: the Bulgarian and the Russian) are in charge.
“Even if the building belongs to the Russian embassy, it is managed by the Bulgarian Holy Synod. They closed the church. They themselves raised a howl that their priest was being expelled. The expelled priests were used by their own,” said the abbot of the Chernogorsk Monastery Nikanor.
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According to Bishop Tikhon, the matter should be resolved fraternally. He emphasized that no one has gone to war with the Russian church and expressed hope that the temple will be opened soon. The church was left without priests and was closed after, at the request of the State Agency for National Security (DANS), the superior of the Sofia court Archimandrite Vasian (Zmeev) and two other priests were expelled from Bulgaria, “because of actions that do not correspond to their status in Bulgaria “. A week earlier, North Macedonia declared Zmeev persona non grata.
“The temple will be open for a day or two or three. The church measures time with another clock. I don’t see a drama that 20-30 people cannot pray there. They can go to a neighboring church,” added Bishop Tikhon.
Priests and pro-Russian parties demanded that the Russian Church in Sofia be opened