The fate of the Russian Church: Holy Synod meets on the subject, but cannot solve the problem
The Russian church in Sofia remains closed. The long-awaited meeting of the Holy Synod on October 3 did not bring a solution to the problem. In an official statement, the Synod said that they hope the church will reopen soon, but this is not within the competence of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. The question of its ownership has not been discussed because it is also not within the competence of the Bulgarian church.
The Holy Synod hopes that the Russian Church will open soon, but the decision is not within their competence.
"St. Nicholas of Myra” church in Sofia, known as the ‘Russian Church’ was closed after Archimandrite Vassian, the head of the church, and two other temple officials were expelled for allegedly spying for Russia.
The Russian Church is closed for the 12th day because of the spy scandal. The expectation was that today, at its meeting, the Holy Synod would give a decision - will Bulgarian priests be able to serve there or at least open the crypt of St. Seraphim. Few of the bishops shared their personal opinion today, most said they were waiting for the consideration of the documents and the statutes of the Russian Church. According to Metropolitan Gabriel of Lovech, the church should be opened, but in a legal and conical way.
"This is a church that was built as an embassy church, it was built by Russia. Has a letter been sent to the Russian Patriarch? They say that it has been sent, it is from the Bulgarian Patriarch, the Synod is not involved. I have not heard of any response having been received," said Metropolitan Gabriel of Lovech.
Every temple should be open. The absence of this temple can be felt. Many people every day hope it will be opened again. But can the Synod resolve this issue? We will talk today, we will see what can be done," said Metropolitan Gregory of Vratsa.
"The ownership is not clear to me, whose it is. Today we will get acquainted. But hopefully it is for the benefit of the laity," said Metropolitan Yakov of Dorostol.
After a four-hour meeting, the Synod issued an official statement, which made it clear that it fully supports Patriarch Neophyte's actions in sending the letter to the Russian Patriarch.
"The Holy Synod hopes that the temple will be opened as soon as possible, but this is not within the competence and authority of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church - Bulgarian Patriarchate. And instructs the conciliar-legal commission at the Holy Synod to study and analyze the statutes for the functioning of the sub-parish in Sofia and in Moscow, after which it will make a decision," said Metropolitan Kyprian of Stara Zagora, spokesman for the Holy Synod.
The Metropolitan of Vidin voted against the decision with a dissenting opinion. The question of the ownership of the temple was also not discussed because it is not within the competence of the Holy Synod, Metropolitan Kyprian said.