Synod of BOC: Communal prayer with the Pope is unacceptable

The visit of Pope Francis to Bulgaria was not coordinated with the Patriarch and the Holy Synod of the BOC

The Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Church issued a special resolution regarding the visit of the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, to Bulgaria.

On May 5, 2019, Pope Francis came to Bulgaria, where Catholics make up 1% of the population. The visit took place at the personal invitation of the Prime Minister of the country Boyko Borisov, without coordination with the Patriarch and the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, reports Orthodoxy.ru.

In order to avoid possible misinterpretations and in view of the pressure which the BOC representatives began to be subjected to for refusing to have a joint ecumenical "prayer for peace" with the head of the Roman Catholic Church, the Synod of the Bulgarian Church issued a special resolution explaining its position.

The UOJ publishes the full text of the decision of the Synod of the BOC of April 2, 2019, published on the official website of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

RESOLUTION OF THE BOC HOLY SYNOD OF APRIL 2, 2019, CONCERNING THE VISIT OF BULGARIA BY POPE FRANCIS

After reviewing the amended draft program of Pope Francis’s visit and after the vote,

The Holy Synod RESOLVED:

To prepare and send an answer letter to Anselmo Guido Pecorari, in which to emphasize that the invitation of Pope Francis to visit Bulgaria is initiated by the state authorities, therefore, the main activities related to the visit should be coordinated with the state institutions.

Regarding the provision of the proposed draft program, which includes the participation of representatives of the BOC-BP, I would like to inform you that His Holiness the Patriarch of Bulgaria, together with members of the Holy Synod, are ready to receive Pope Francis at a meeting in the Synodal Chamber on May 5, 2019, as stipulated in the draft program sent.

A visit to the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky is possible, but we would like to stress that serving in any form of a joint liturgical or prayer to follow this visit, as well as putting on religious liturgical garments is unacceptable for us, since the Holy Canons do not allow this. In this regard, the participation of the patriarchal choir is also impossible.

As for all other points of the draft program, participation of the BOC-BP representatives is impossible.

Regarding your proposal that Deacon Ivan Ivanov be a translator during the whole visit of Pope Francis, the Holy Synod does not give its blessing thereon, except for the visit of the building of the Holy Synod and the Patriarchal Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.

The BOC-BP clerics are not blessed to participate in all the other events of the visit of Pope Francis.

As reported by the UOJ, earlier the head of the Roman Catholic Church congratulated the Christians of the Eastern rite on the Holy Easter Day.

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