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Who are the nine eligible Metropolitans for the Patriarchal Throne in Bulgaria

The new Patriarch of Bulgaria and Metropolitan of Sofia will be elected from among nine Metropolitans of the Bulgarian Church.

The process for the election, outlined in the Statute of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, is specific and meticulously regulated.

According to the statute, the candidate for Patriarch of Bulgaria and Metropolitan of Sofia must be at least 50 years old and have served as a Metropolitan for a minimum of 5 years. Additionally, they must be recognised for their steadfast Orthodox faith and strict adherence to the canons of the Church.

The Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Church, consisting of 15 members, oversees the election process. With the passing of the Patriarch, who also holds the position of Metropolitan of Sofia, and Metropolitan Ioanikiy of Sliven, the Synod currently comprises 13 members.

Out of these 13, nine are eligible candidates for the position of Patriarch, while four are not eligible. Three of them – Metropolitan Antony of Western and Central Europe, Metropolitan Seraphim of Nevrokopi, and Metropolitan Kyprian of Stara Zagora – have not reached the age of 50, while Metropolitan Jacob of Dorostol has not completed five years in his current Metropolitan position.

Therefore, the nine Metropolitans eligible for the election of the new Patriarch of Bulgaria are:

  1. Metropolitan Josef of USA, Canada, and Australia
  2. Metropolitan Gregory of Veliko Tarnovo
  3. Metropolitan Ignatius of Pleven
  4. Metropolitan Gabriel of Lovech
  5. Metropolitan Nikolai of Plovdiv
  6. Metropolitan John of Varna and Veliki Preslav
  7. Metropolitan Naum of Rousse (Cherven)
  8. Metropolitan Gregory of Vratsa
  9. Metropolitan Daniel of Vidin