HOME
The Info List - Bulgarian Orthodox



--- Advertisement ---


(i) (i) (i) (i)

The BULGARIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH (Bulgarian : Българска православна църква, Balgarska pravoslavna tsarkva) is the oldest Slavic Orthodox Church with some 6.5 million members in the Republic of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
and between 1.5 and 2.0 million members in a number of European countries, the Americas
Americas
and Australia
Australia
. It was recognized as an independent Church by the Patriarchate
Patriarchate
of Constantinople
Constantinople
in 927 AD.

CONTENTS

* 1 Canonical status and organization * 2 Organization

* 3 History

* 3.1 Early Christianity
Christianity
* 3.2 Establishment * 3.3 Autocephaly
Autocephaly
(Patriarchate) * 3.4 The Ohrid
Ohrid
Archbishopric * 3.5 The Tarnovo
Tarnovo
Patriarchate
Patriarchate
* 3.6 Ottoman rule * 3.7 The Bulgarian Exarchate

* 4 See also * 5 Notes * 6 External links

CANONICAL STATUS AND ORGANIZATION

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church
Bulgarian Orthodox Church
considers itself an inseparable member of the one, holy, synodal and apostolic church and is organized as a self-governing body under the name of Patriarchate
Patriarchate
. It is divided into thirteen dioceses within the boundaries of the Republic of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
and has jurisdiction over additional two dioceses for Bulgarians
Bulgarians
in Western and Central Europe
Central Europe
, the Americas
Americas
, Canada
Canada
and Australia
Australia
. The dioceses of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church
Bulgarian Orthodox Church
are divided into 58 church counties, which, in turn, are subdivided into some 2,600 parishes.

The supreme clerical, judicial and administrative power for the whole domain of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church
Bulgarian Orthodox Church
is exercised by the Holy Synod , which includes the Patriarch and the diocesan prelates, who are called metropolitans . Church life in the parishes is guided by the parish priests, numbering some 1,500. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church also has some 120 monasteries in Bulgaria, with about 2,000 monks and nearly as many nuns .

ORGANIZATION

Part of a series on the

EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH

Mosaic of Christ Pantocrator
Christ Pantocrator
, Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia

OVERVIEW

* Structure * Theology (History of theology ) * Liturgy * Church history * Holy Mysteries * View of salvation * View of Mary * View of icons

Background

* Crucifixion / Resurrection / Ascension of Jesus

* Christianity
Christianity
* Christian Church
Christian Church
* Apostolic succession
Apostolic succession
* Four Marks of the Church
Four Marks of the Church
* Orthodoxy
Orthodoxy

Organization

* Autocephaly
Autocephaly
* Patriarchate
Patriarchate
* Ecumenical Patriarch * Episcopal polity * Clergy * Bishops * Priests * Deacons * Monasticism * Degrees of monasticism

Autocephalous jurisdictions

* Constantinople
Constantinople
* Alexandria
Alexandria
* Antioch
Antioch
* Jerusalem
Jerusalem
* Russia
Russia
* Serbia * Romania * Bulgaria * Georgia * Cyprus * Greece
Greece
* Poland * Albania * Czech lands and Slovakia * North America

Ecumenical Councils

* Seven Ecumenical Councils :

* First * Second * Third * Fourth * Fifth * Sixth * Seventh

* Other important councils:

* Quinisext Council * Constantinople
Constantinople
IV * Constantinople
Constantinople
V * Jassy * Jerusalem
Jerusalem

History

* Church Fathers
Church Fathers
* Pentarchy
Pentarchy
* Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
* Christianization of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
* Christianization of Kievan Rus\' * Great Schism * Russia
Russia
* Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
* North America

Theology

* History of Orthodox Theology

* (20th century (Neo-Palamism) )

* Apophaticism * Chrismation * Contemplative prayer * Essence vs. Energies * Hesychasm
Hesychasm
* Holy Trinity
Holy Trinity
* Hypostatic union
Hypostatic union
* Icons * Metousiosis
Metousiosis
* Mystical theology * Nicene Creed
Nicene Creed
* Nepsis
Nepsis
* Oikonomia * Ousia * Palamism
Palamism
* Philokalia * Phronema * Sin * Theosis * Theotokos
Theotokos

* Differences from the Catholic Church
Catholic Church
* Opposition to the Filioque * Opposition to papal supremacy

Liturgy and worship

* Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy
* Divine Services

* Akathist * Apolytikion
Apolytikion
* Artos * Ectenia
Ectenia
* Euchologion * Holy Water * Iconostasis * Jesus Prayer * Kontakion * Liturgical entrances * Liturgical fans * Lity * Memorial service * Memory Eternal * Omophorion * Orthodox bowing * Orthodox marriage * Praxis * Paraklesis * Paschal greeting
Paschal greeting
* Paschal Homily
Paschal Homily
* Paschal troparion * Prayer rope * Prosphora
Prosphora
* Russian bell ringing * Semantron * Sign of the cross * Sticheron * Troparion
Troparion
* Vestments * Use of incense

Liturgical calendar

* Paschal cycle
Paschal cycle
* 12 Great Feasts * Other feasts:

* Feast of Orthodoxy
Orthodoxy
* Intercession of the Theotokos
Theotokos

* The four fasting periods:

* Nativity Fast
Nativity Fast
* Great Lent
Great Lent
* Apostles\' Fast * Dormition Fast

Major figures

* Athanasius of Alexandria
Athanasius of Alexandria
* Ephrem the Syrian * Basil of Caesarea
Basil of Caesarea
* Cyril of Jerusalem * Gregory of Nazianzus
Gregory of Nazianzus
* Gregory of Nyssa * John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom
* Cyril of Alexandria
Cyril of Alexandria
* John Climacus
John Climacus
* Maximus the Confessor
Maximus the Confessor
* John of Damascus
John of Damascus
* Theodore the Studite
Theodore the Studite
* Kassiani * Cyril and Methodius * Photios I of Constantinople
Photios I of Constantinople
* Gregory Palamas

Other topics

* Architecture * Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs
Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs
* Orthodox cross
Orthodox cross
* Saint titles * Statistics by country

* v * t * e

EPARCHIES IN BULGARIA: (with Bulgarian names
Bulgarian names
in brackets)

* Eparchy of Vidin
Vidin
(Видинска епархия) * Eparchy of Vratsa
Vratsa
(Врачанска епархия) * Eparchy of Lovech
Lovech
(Ловешка епархия) * Eparchy of Veliko Tarnovo (Търновска епархия) * Eparchy of Dorostol (Доростолска епархия) (seat in Silistra
Silistra
) * Eparchy of Varna
Varna
and Veliki Preslav (Варненскa и Bеликопреславска епархия) (seat in Varna) * Eparchy of Sliven (Сливенска епархия) * Eparchy of Stara Zagora
Stara Zagora
(Старозагорска епархия) * Eparchy of Plovdiv
Plovdiv
(Пловдивска епархия) * Eparchy of Sofia
Sofia
(Софийска епархия) * Eparchy of Nevrokop (Неврокопска епархия) (seat in Blagoevgrad
Blagoevgrad
) * Eparchy of Pleven
Pleven
(Плевенска епархия) * Eparchy of Ruse (Русенска епархия)

EPARCHIES ABROAD:

* Eparchy of Central and Western Europe
Western Europe
(with seat in Berlin
Berlin
); * Eparchy of USA, Canada
Canada
and Australia
Australia
(with seat in New York City
New York City
)

HISTORY

EARLY CHRISTIANITY

The St. George Rotunda (4th century AD), Sofia
Sofia

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church
Bulgarian Orthodox Church
has its origin in the flourishing Christian communities and churches, set up in the Balkans
Balkans
as early as the first centuries of the Christian era. Christianity
Christianity
was brought to the Bulgarian lands and the rest of the Balkans
Balkans
by the apostles Paul and Andrew in the 1st century AD, when the first organised Christian communities were formed. By the beginning of the 4th century, Christianity
Christianity
had become the dominant religion in the region. Towns such as Serdica ( Sofia
Sofia
), Philipopolis ( Plovdiv
Plovdiv
), Odessus ( Varna
Varna
) and Adrianople ( Edirne
Edirne
) were significant centres of Christianity
Christianity
in the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
.

The barbarian raids and incursions in the 4th and the 5th and the settlement of Slavs
Slavs
and Bulgars
Bulgars
in the 6th and the 7th centuries wrought considerable damage to the ecclesiastical organisation of the Christian Church
Christian Church
in the Bulgarian lands, yet they were far from destroying it. Kubrat
Kubrat
and Organa were both baptized together in Constantinople
Constantinople
and Christianity
Christianity
started to pave its way from the surviving Christian communities to the surrounding Bulgar-Slavic mass. By the middle of the 9th century, the majority of the Bulgarian Slavs , especially those living in Thrace
Thrace
and Macedonia , were Christianised. The process of conversion also enjoyed some success among the Bulgar nobility. It was not until the official adoption of Christianity
Christianity
by Prince
Prince
Boris I in 865 that an independent Bulgarian ecclesiastical entity was established.

ESTABLISHMENT

Boris I believed that cultural advancement and the sovereignty and prestige of a Christian Bulgaria
Bulgaria
could be achieved through an enlightened clergy governed by an autocephalous church. To this end, he manoeuvred between the Patriarch of Constantinople
Constantinople
and the Roman Pope for a period of five years until in 870 AD, the Fourth Council of Constantinople
Constantinople
granted the Bulgarians
Bulgarians
an autonomous Bulgarian archbishopric. The archbishopric had its seat in the Bulgarian capital of Pliska
Pliska
and its diocese covered the whole territory of the Bulgarian state. The tug-of-war between Rome and Constantinople
Constantinople
was resolved by putting the Bulgarian archbishopric under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople, from whom it obtained its first primate, its clergy and theological books. Ceramic icon of St. Theodor, Preslav, ca. 900 AD, National Archaeological Museum, Sofia
Sofia

Although the archbishopric enjoyed full internal autonomy, the goals of Boris I were scarcely fulfilled. A Greek liturgy offered by a Byzantine
Byzantine
clergy furthered neither the cultural development of the Bulgarians, nor the consolidation of the Bulgarian state; it would have eventually resulted in the loss of both the identity of the people and the statehood of Bulgaria. Thus, Boris I greeted the arrival of the disciples of the recently deceased Saints Cyril and Methodius in 886 as an opportunity. Boris I gave them the task to instruct the future Bulgarian clergy in the Glagolitic alphabet
Glagolitic alphabet
and the Slavonic liturgy prepared by Cyril . The liturgy was based on the vernacular of the Slavs
Slavs
from the region of Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki
. In 893, Boris I expelled the Greek clergy from the country and ordered the replacement of the Greek language
Greek language
with the Slav-Bulgarian vernacular.

AUTOCEPHALY (PATRIARCHATE)

Following Bulgaria's two decisive victories over the Byzantines at Acheloos (near the present-day city of Pomorie
Pomorie
) and Katasyrtai (near Constantinople
Constantinople
), the government declared the autonomous Bulgarian Archbishopric as autocephalous and elevated it to the rank of Patriarchate
Patriarchate
at an ecclesiastical and national council held in 919. After Bulgaria
Bulgaria
and the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
signed a peace treaty in 927 that concluded the 20-year-long war between them, the Patriarchate
Patriarchate
of Constantinople
Constantinople
recognised the autocephalous status of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and acknowledged its patriarchal dignity. The Bulgarian Patriarchate
Patriarchate
was the first autocephalous Slavic Orthodox Church, preceding the autocephaly of the Serbian Orthodox Church (1219) by 300 years and of the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
(1596) by some 600 years. It was the sixth Patriarchate
Patriarchate
after Rome, Constantinople, Jerusalem
Jerusalem
, Alexandria
Alexandria
and Antioch
Antioch
. The seat of the Patriarchate
Patriarchate
was the new Bulgarian capital of Preslav
Preslav
. The Patriarch was likely to have resided in the town of Drastar ( Silistra
Silistra
), an old Christian centre famous for its martyrs and Christian traditions.

THE OHRID ARCHBISHOPRIC

Part of a series on

Bulgarians
Bulgarians
българи

CULTURE

* Literature * Music * Art * Cinema * Names * Cuisine * Dances * Costume * Sport * Public holidays in Bulgaria
Bulgaria

BY COUNTRY

* Australia
Australia
* Albania * Canada
Canada
* Czechoslovakia * Greece
Greece
* Romania * South America * Turkey
Turkey
* Ukraine * United States
United States
* Serbia

BULGARIAN CITIZENS

* France * Germany * Hungary * Italy * Lebanon * Lithuania * Macedonia * Spain * United Kingdom

SUBGROUPS

* Anatolian * Balkanian * Banat Bulgarians
Bulgarians
* Bessarabian Bulgarian * Dobrujans * Macedonian * Ruptsi * Balkandzhii * Pomaks
Pomaks
( Bulgarian Muslims
Bulgarian Muslims
) * Thracian * Shopi
Shopi
/ Torlaks
Torlaks
* Şchei
Şchei

RELIGION

* Bulgarian Orthodox Church * Islam
Islam
* Catholic Church
Catholic Church
* Protestant denominations

LANGUAGE

* Bulgarian * Dialects

* Banat Bulgarian

OTHER

* List of Bulgarians
Bulgarians
* People of Bulgarian descent

* v * t * e

Main article: Archbishopric of Ohrid

On April 5, 972, Byzantine
Byzantine
Emperor John I Tzimisces
John I Tzimisces
conquered and burned down Preslav
Preslav
, and captured Bulgarian Tsar
Tsar
Boris II
Boris II
. Patriarch Damyan managed to escape, initially to Sredetz ( Sofia
Sofia
) in western Bulgaria. In the coming years, the residence of the Bulgarian patriarchs remained closely connected to the developments in the war between the next Bulgarian royal dynasty, the Comitopuli , and the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
. Patriarch German resided consecutively in Medieval Bulgarian cities of Maglen ( Almopia ) and Voden (Edessa ) (both in present-day north-western Greece
Greece
), and Prespa (in present-day southern Republic of Macedonia
Republic of Macedonia
). Around 990, the next patriarch, Philip, moved to Ohrid
Ohrid
(in present-day south-western Republic of Macedonia ), which became the permanent seat of the Patriarchate.

After the fall of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
under Byzantine
Byzantine
domination in 1018, Emperor Basil II
Basil II
Bulgaroktonos (the “Bulgar-Slayer”) acknowledged the autocephalous status of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. By special charters (royal decrees), his government set up its boundaries, dioceses, property and other privileges. The church was deprived of its Patriarchal title and reduced to the rank of an archbishopric. Although the first appointed archbishop ( John of Debar ) was a Bulgarian, his successors, as well as the whole higher clergy, were invariably Byzantine
Byzantine
. The monks and the ordinary priests remained, however, predominantly Bulgarian. To a large extent the archbishopric preserved its national character, upheld the Slavonic liturgy and continued its contribution to the development of Bulgarian literature. The autocephaly of the Ohrid
Ohrid
Archbishopric remained respected during the periods of Byzantine, Bulgarian, Serbian and Ottoman rule. The church continued to exist until its unlawful abolition in 1767.

THE TARNOVO PATRIARCHATE

As a result of the successful uprising of the brothers Peter IV and Ivan Asen I
Ivan Asen I
in 1185/1186, the foundations of the Second Bulgarian Empire were laid with Tarnovo
Tarnovo
as its capital. Following Boris I ’s principle that the sovereignty of the state is inextricably linked to the autocephaly of the Church, the two brothers immediately took steps to restore the Bulgarian Patriarchate
Patriarchate
. As a start, they established an independent archbishopric in Tarnovo
Tarnovo
in 1186. The struggle to have the archbishopric recognized according to the canonical order and elevated to the rank of a Patriarchate
Patriarchate
took almost 50 years. Following the example of Boris I , Bulgarian Tsar
Tsar
Kaloyan
Kaloyan
manoeuvred for years between the Patriarch of Constantinople
Constantinople
and Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III
. Finally in 1203 the latter proclaimed the Tarnovo
Tarnovo
Archbishop
Archbishop
Vassily "Primate and Archbishop
Archbishop
of all Bulgaria
Bulgaria
and Walachia." The union with the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
continued for well over three decades. Tsar
Tsar
Ivan Alexander (1331-1371), an illustration from the Four Gospels of Tsar
Tsar
Ivan Alexander (the London Gospel), ca. 1356, the British Library

Under the reign of Tsar
Tsar
Ivan Asen II (1218–1241), conditions were created for the termination of the union with Rome and for the recognition of the autocephalous status of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. In 1235 a church council was convened in the town of Lampsakos . Under the presidency of Patriarch Germanus II of Constantinople
Constantinople
and with the consent of all Eastern Patriarchs, the council confirmed the Patriarchal dignity of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church
Bulgarian Orthodox Church
and consecrated the Bulgarian archbishop German as Patriarch.

Despite the shrinking of the diocese of the Tarnovo
Tarnovo
Patriarchate
Patriarchate
at the end of the 13th century, its authority in the Eastern Orthodox world remained high. It was the Patriarch of Tarnovo
Tarnovo
who confirmed the patriarchal dignity of the Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
in 1346, despite protests by the Patriarchate of Constantinople . It was under the wing of the Patriarchate
Patriarchate
that the Tarnovo
Tarnovo
Literary School developed in the 14th century, with scholars of the rank of Patriarch Evtimiy , Gregory Tsamblak , and Konstantin of Kostenets . A considerable flowering was noted in the fields of literature, architecture, and painting; the religious and theological literature also flourished.

After the fall of Tarnovo
Tarnovo
under the Ottomans in 1393 and the sending of Patriarch Evtimiy into exile, the autocephalous church organization was destroyed again. The Bulgarian diocese was subordinated to the Patriarchate of Constantinople . The other Bulgarian religious centre – the Ohrid
Ohrid
Archbishopric – managed to survive a few centuries more (until 1767), as a stronghold of faith and piety.

OTTOMAN RULE

As the Ottomans were Muslim
Muslim
, the period of Ottoman rule was the most difficult in the history of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, to the same extent as it was the hardest in the history of the Bulgarian people. During and immediately after the Ottoman conquest, a significant number of the Bulgarian churches and monasteries south of the Danube, including the Patriarchal Cathedral church of the Holy Ascension in Tarnovo
Tarnovo
, were razed to the ground. Some of the surviving ones were converted into mosques . Many of the clergy were killed, while the intelligentsia associated with the Tarnovo
Tarnovo
Literary School fled north of the Danube, where Bulgarian Boyars continued to rule in neighbouring Wallachia
Wallachia
, but also in fellow Orthodox Christian Moldavia
Moldavia
and Russia
Russia
. St. George, the Newmartyr of Sofia, icon from the 19th century

There were martyrs to the Church as many districts and almost all larger towns in the Bulgarian provinces of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
were subjected to forceful conversion to Islam
Islam
as early as the first years after the conquest. St. George of Kratovo (d. 1515), St. Nicholas of Sofia
Sofia
(d. 1515), Saint Vissarion of Smolyan (d. 1670), St. Damaskin of Gabrovo (d. 1771), St. Zlata of Muglen (d. 1795), St. John the Bulgarian (d. 1814), St. Ignatius of Stara Zagora
Stara Zagora
(d. 1814), St. Onouphry of Gabrovo (d. 1818) and many others perished defending their faith.

After many of the leadership of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church
Bulgarian Orthodox Church
were executed, it was fully subordinated to the Patriarch of Constantinople . The millet system in the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
granted a number of important civil and judicial functions to the Patriarch of Constantinople
Constantinople
and the diocesan metropolitans. As the higher Bulgarian church clerics were replaced by Greek ones at the beginning of the Ottoman domination, the Bulgarian population was subjected to double oppression – political by the Ottomans and cultural by the Greek clergy. With the rise of Greek nationalism in the second half of the 18th century, the clergy imposed the Greek language
Greek language
and a Greek consciousness on the emerging Bulgarian bourgeoisie. The Patriarchate of Constantinople
Constantinople
became its tool to assimilate other peoples. At the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century, the clergy opened numerous schools with all-round Greek language
Greek language
curriculum and nearly banned the Bulgarian liturgy. These actions threatened the survival of the Bulgarians
Bulgarians
as a separate nation and people with its own, distinct national culture.

The monasteries were instrumental in the preservation of the Bulgarian language
Bulgarian language
and the Bulgarian national consciousness throughout the centuries of Ottoman domination. Especially important were the Zograph and Hilandar monasteries on Mount Athos
Mount Athos
, as well as the Rila , Troyan , Etropole , Dryanovo , Cherepish and Dragalevtsi monasteries in Bulgaria. The monks managed to preserve their national character in the monasteries, continuing traditions of the Slavonic liturgy and Bulgarian literature. They continued to operate monastery schools and carried out other educational activities, which managed to keep the flame of the Bulgarian culture burning.

THE BULGARIAN EXARCHATE

Main article: Bulgarian Exarchate A 17th-century church in Arbanasi .

In 1762, St. Paisius of Hilendar (1722–1773), a monk from the south-western Bulgarian town of Bansko
Bansko
, wrote a short historical work. It was the first work written in the modern Bulgarian vernacular and was also the first call for a national awakening. In History of Slav-Bulgarians, Paissiy urged his compatriots to throw off subjugation to the Greek language
Greek language
and culture. The example of Paissiy was followed by a number of other activists , including St. Sophroniy of Vratsa
Vratsa
( Sofroni Vrachanski ) (1739–1813), hieromonk Spiridon of Gabrovo, hieromonk Yoakim Karchovski (d. 1820), hieromonk Kiril Peychinovich (d. 1845).

Discontent with the supremacy of the Greek clergy started to flare up in several Bulgarian dioceses as early as the 1820s. It was not until 1850 that the Bulgarians
Bulgarians
initiated a purposeful struggle against the Greek clerics in a number of bishoprics, demanding their replacement with Bulgarian ones. By that time, most Bulgarian clergy had realised that further struggle for the rights of the Bulgarians
Bulgarians
in the Ottoman Empire could not succeed unless they managed to obtain some degree of autonomy from the Patriarchate of Constantinople . As the Ottomans identified nationality with religion, and the Bulgarians
Bulgarians
were Eastern Orthodox, the Ottomans considered them part of the Roum-Milet, i.e., the Greeks. To gain Bulgarian schools and liturgy, the Bulgarians needed to achieve an independent ecclesiastical organisation.

The struggle between the Bulgarians, led by Neofit Bozveli and Ilarion Makariopolski , and the Greeks intensified throughout the 1860s. By the end of the decade, Bulgarian bishoprics had expelled most of the Greek clerics, thus the whole of northern Bulgaria, as well as the northern parts of Thrace
Thrace
and Macedonia had effectively seceded from the Patriarchate. The Ottoman government restored the Bulgarian Patriarchate
Patriarchate
under the name of " Bulgarian Exarchate " by a decree (firman ) of the Sultan
Sultan
promulgated on February 28, 1870. The original Exarchate extended over present-day northern Bulgaria
Bulgaria
(Moesia ), Thrace
Thrace
without the Vilayet of Adrianople , as well as over north-eastern Macedonia . After the Christian population of the bishoprics of Skopje
Skopje
and Ohrid
Ohrid
voted in 1874 overwhelmingly in favour of joining the Exarchate ( Skopje
Skopje
by 91%, Ohrid
Ohrid
by 97%), the Bulgarian Exarchate became in control of the whole of Vardar and Pirin
Pirin
Macedonia . The Bulgarian Exarchate was partially represented in southern Macedonia and the Vilayet of Adrianople by vicars. Thus, the borders of the Exarchate included all Bulgarian districts in the Ottoman Empire . Map of the Bulgarian Exarchate (1870–1913).

The Patriarchate of Constantinople opposed the change, promptly declaring the Bulgarian Exarchate schismatic and its adherents heretics . Although the status and the guiding principles of the Exarchate reflected the canons, the Patriarchate
Patriarchate
argued that “surrender of Orthodoxy
Orthodoxy
to ethnic nationalism” was essentially a manifestation of heresy .

The first Bulgarian Exarch was Antim I
Antim I
, who was elected by the Holy Synod of the Exarchate in February, 1872. He was discharged by the Ottoman government immediately after the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish War on April 24, 1877, and was sent into exile in Ankara
Ankara
. His successor, Joseph I , managed to develop and considerably extend its church and school network in the Bulgarian Principality, Eastern Rumelia , Macedonia and the Adrianople Vilayet
Adrianople Vilayet
. In 1895, the Tarnovo Constitution formally established the Bulgarian Orthodox Church
Bulgarian Orthodox Church
as the national religion of the nation. On the eve of the Balkan Wars
Balkan Wars
, in Macedonia and the Adrianople Vilayet
Adrianople Vilayet
, the Bulgarian Exarchate had seven dioceses with prelates and eight more with acting chairmen in charge and 38 vicariates; 1,218 parishes and 1,212 parish priests; 64 monasteries and 202 chapels; as well as of 1,373 schools with 2,266 teachers and 78,854 pupils.

After World War I
World War I
, by virtue of the peace treaties, the Bulgarian Exarchate was deprived of its dioceses in Macedonia and Aegean Thrace . Exarch Joseph I transferred his offices from Istanbul
Istanbul
to Sofia
Sofia
as early as 1913. After the death of Joseph I in 1915, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church was not in a position to elect its regular head for a total of three decades.

Second restoration of the Bulgarian Patriarchate
Patriarchate
Sofia's patriarchal cathedral, St. Alexander Nevsky

Conditions for the restoration of the Bulgarian Patriarchate
Patriarchate
and the election of a head of the Bulgarian Church were created after World War II . In 1945 the schism was lifted and the Patriarch of Constantinople
Constantinople
recognised the autocephaly of the Bulgarian Church. In 1950, the Holy Synod
Holy Synod
adopted a new Statute which paved the way for the restoration of the Patriarchate
Patriarchate
and in 1953, it elected the Metropolitan of Plovdiv, Cyril , Bulgarian Patriarch. After the death of Patriarch Cyril in 1971, the Communist Party elected in his place the Metropolitan of Lovech
Lovech
, Maxim , leading the church until his death in 2012. on 10 November 2012 Metropolitan Cyril of Varna
Varna
and Veliki Preslav was chosen was interim leader to organize the election of the new Patriarch within four months. At the church council convened to elect a new Patriarch 24 February 2013, the Metropolitan of Ruse , Neophyt was elected Patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church with 90 votes against 47 for Metropolitan Gabriel of Lovech. His Holiness Maxim , the late Patriarch of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
and Metropolitan of Sofia. Eparchy of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Under Communism (1944–89), Bulgaria's rulers worked to control rather than destroy the church. Still, the early postwar years were unsettling to church hierarchs. During 1944-47 the church was deprived of jurisdiction in marriage, divorce, issuance of birth and death certificates, and other passages that had been sacraments as well as state events. Communists removed study of the catechism and church history from school curricula. They generated anti-religious propaganda and persecuted some priests. From 1947-49 was the height of the campaign to intimidate the church. Bishop Boris was assassinated; Egumenius Kalistrat, administrator of the Rila Monastery , was imprisoned; and various other clergy were murdered or charged with crimes against t