Letter to Prime Minister of Bulgaria in regard to appeal of schismatics16/3/2005
Protocol No. 1079/635+ C H R I S T O D O U L O S
Mr. Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha,
Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria.
Prime Minister’s Residence,
It has come to our attention that the schismatic and dissident “Metropolitan Innokentiy of Sofia” has lodged complaints with the European Court on Human Rights in Strassbourg claiming violation of the Right of Religious Freedom and Rights of ownership on the part of the Government of Bulgaria. We were deeply saddened to learn of this, since it constitutes an uncanonical usurpation of the rights and privileges granted by Canon and Ecclesiastical Law to the canonical Patriarch of Sofia and All Bulgaria, Maxim.
His Holiness, Patriarch Maxim of Sofia and All Bulgaria, is recognised as such by all the canonical Orthodox Churches throughout the world, a fact officially stated and reconfirmed during the Expanded and Over-Jurisdictional Council held in Sofia from 30th September through to the 1st of October 1998. Indeed, during this Council Metropolitan Innokentiy, along with other schismatic bishops, was received into the communion of the canonical Bulgarian Orthodox Church under Patriarch Maxim, after submitting a formal statement of repentance, not as Metropolitan of Sofia, but as Bishop of Krupnik. Thus was the existing schism brought to a close and one and only Bulgarian Orthodox Church recognised.
Further, and most importantly, the schismatic bishops received once again into communion with the canonical Bulgarian Orthodox Church also agreed that “all churches, monasteries, and various fixed properties possessed by them become the property of the one and only canonical Church of Bulgaria”.
The Church of Greece was represented at this Council by our Lowliness and our Church, along with all the other canonical Autocephalous Orthodox Churches in attendance, adheres to and sustains the decisions taken.
Trusting that this information will be useful to Your Excellency and the Government of Bulgaria in defending its stand before the European Court on Human Rights, we take this opportunity to wish you all of God’s strength in the execution of your lofty duties and responsibilities.
With ardent prayers to our Lord on Your Excellency’s behalf,
ARCHBISHOP OF ATHENS AND ALL GREECE
The Chief-Secretary of the Holy Synod
+ Bishop Seraphim of Christianoupolis