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Believers pay respects to the Patriarch of Bulgaria

Believers are gathering in long lines in the Bulgarian capital and at the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky to bid farewell to His Beatitude Patriarch Neophyte of Bulgaria, whose body lies in state at the cathedral. The transfer of the late Patriarch’s body to the cathedral occurred just before 08:00.

One mourner expressed, “The Primate of our Church radiated kindness, humanity, and love. He was a person with true Christian morals and values.”

Today marks the beginning of a two-day national mourning period declared by the Bulgarian government to honour Patriarch Neophyte’s memory. As part of the protocol, the country’s flag will fly at half-mast in all state institutions, and condolence books are available at Bulgarian diplomatic missions abroad.

National media outlets are adjusting their schedules by canceling entertainment or non-mourning-related programming. Official and social events, except for personal ones, are expected to adhere to the national mourning protocol; otherwise, they must be postponed or canceled.

On Saturday morning, the funeral service for the Patriarch will take place at the Cathedral, followed by a procession to his final resting place in the courtyard of Saint Nedelya Cathedral, in accordance with his wishes as stated in his will.

Metropolitan John of Varna and Veliki Preslav has been appointed as interim vice president of the Holy Synod.

The successor to Patriarch Neophyte is expected to be elected by mid-July following a clearly defined procedure outlined in the Statute of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. It is recalled that nine Metropolitans are eligible for the election of the new Patriarch of Bulgaria.