Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Thousands of Bulgarians pay last respects to their patriarch

Expand Messages
  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Thousands+Bulgarians+last+respects+their+patriarch/7517013/story.html Thousands of Bulgarians pay last respects to their
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 8, 2012
    • 0 Attachment
      http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Thousands+Bulgarians+last+respects+their+patriarch/7517013/story.html

      Thousands of Bulgarians pay last respects to their patriarch
      By Veselin Toshkov, The Associated Press November 8, 2012

      SOFIA, Bulgaria - Thousands of mourners waited for hours on Thursday to
      pay their respects to the late Bulgarian Orthodox Church Patriarch Maxim
      at a church in Sofia.

      Maxim's body remained on display in an open coffin at the St. Nedelya
      Church, and a memorial service was held on Thursday morning. The
      98-year-old patriarch died on Tuesday of heart failure at a Sofia
      hospital where he had been for a month.

      Orthodox Christianity is Bulgaria's dominant religion and is followed by
      more than 80 per cent of the country's 7.4 million people.

      Maxim was at the helm of the church for more than four decades, leading
      it through its post-Communist revival and withstanding efforts to oust
      him by rebel priests who saw him as a communist stooge.

      Church elders held prayers in the church, where Maxim's body lay
      surrounded by flickering candles in an open casket placed on a purple
      velvet-covered platform. Maxim had his patriarchal crown on his head and
      a cross and geranium in his hands. His patriarchal vestments and veil
      were placed at his feet.

      Mourners filed past the coffin in a steady stream, many bowing to kiss
      his portrait or the cross.

      "It is a great loss, he was like a father to us," said Ivanka Stefanova,
      a 72-year-old retiree.

      Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader
      of world's Orthodox Christians, laid a bunch of white roses at the coffin.

      Bartholomew described Maxim as a "fighter filled with patience" during
      the difficult times for the nation.

      "God gave His help so that the Bulgarian people could breathe freely
      today and Maxim could see before he died that Bulgaria was part of the
      European Union," Bartholomew said.

      Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boiko Borisov who attended the memorial
      service said Patriarch Maxim will be remembered as a "holy man, a pillar
      of the Church."

      His funeral will be held Friday, proclaimed by the government as a day
      of mourning, at the Troyan Monastery, near the village of Oreshak where
      Maxim was born.

      Read more:
      http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Thousands+Bulgarians+last+respects+their+patriarch/7517013/story.html#ixzz2Bfbpg6cX
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.