Bulgarian Synod appoints new acting metropolitan of Varna
Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church appointed Dorostol Metropolitan
Ambrosii as temporary metropolitan of Varna on July 18.
Ambrosii will hold the position until the election of a new metropolitan, who
would replace Metropolitan Kiril, found dead on a Black Sea beach earlier this
month. Kiril died of drowning and his body showed no signs of foul play,
prosecutors said, rejecting speculation in local and foreign media that he might
have been killed.
After Kiril’s death, the Holy Synod named Vratsa Metropolitan Kalinik as
acting Varna Metropolitan, but Kalinik withdrew after clergy and laity wrote to
the Holy Synod objecting to his appointment.
According to local media reports, clergy were dissatisfied by the appointment
of Kalinik, who had not got on well with Kiril and who did not attend his
Kalinik (82) was recruited by Bulgaria’s communist-era secret service State
Security in 1968 and had the code names Agent Rilska and Agent Velko. His past
as a State Security agent is seen as grounds for objections from the clergy in
Kalinik shares this background as a State Security agent with the late Kiril
as well as most of the members of the current Holy Synod, including the
State Security affiliation, however, does not always seem to determine the
extent of acceptance of senior clergy, given Patriarch Neofit’s popularity and
the respect that he has generated since his February 2013 election.
Ambrosii, one of the two metropolitans that the local clergy said they would
prefer as acting head of the Varna diocese, was a State Security agent too.
As to the appointment of a new Metropolitan, church rules provide for the
appointment to be made only from among clergy who are not already metropolitans,
meaning that a transfer of a metropolitan from one diocese to another is not
The death of Kiril created three vacancies on the Holy Synod, the church’s
governing body, after the resignation of Simeon, Metropolitan of Western and
Central Europe, because of ill health, and the fact that a Metropolitan must be
appointed to replace Neofit who temporarily continues to hold the Rousse diocese
while serving as Patriarch.
(Photo of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church cathedral in Varna: Nikola
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