Sofia, September 29, 2023
After the Russian Embassy in Sofia announced the closure of the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker in Sofia, the Russian representation church, following the expulsion of two priests and an employee, dozens of laypeople gathered in front of the locked doors, leaving flowers and praying in front of the church.
The church is home to the relics of the Holy Hierarch and Wonderworker Seraphim (Sobolev †1950). The faithful have also left notes with prayers and wishes, reports the Bulgarian outlet dnes.dir.bg.
“St. Seraphim, pray to God for us sinners!” read one of the notes placed at the locked front door.
The church has served as a representation of the Russian Orthodox Church for many years, but two priests and another church employee were branded threats to national security and expelled from the country Russian Church rep expelled from Bulgaria, banned from N. Macedonia—Church respondsThe Russian Church’s Department for External Church Relations issued a statement yesterday “strongly protesting against the unjustified expulsion of its representatives from Bulgaria.”
“>last week. The former rector, Archimandrite Vassian (Zmeev), was also recently banned from entering North Macedonia.
There is now a debate in Bulgaria about who owns and is responsible for the church. His Holiness Patriarch Neofit appointed Bulgarian priests to serve in the church Patriarch Neofit appoints Bulgarian priests to church where Russian priests were expelledThe church has served as a representation of the Russian Orthodox Church for many years, but two priests and another church employee were branded threats to national security and expelled from the country last week.
“>earlier this week, as it is within the territory of his Metropolis of Sofia, but the Russian embassy in Sofia holds a deed to the church that it was granted in 1997, the legality of which is being investigated by Bulgarian authorities.
According to the office of Russian Ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova, the embassy will decide how long the church remains closed.
The laity who gathered at the church began to petition for its doors to be reopened.
Comments left on the article varied, with many decrying the expulsion of the clergy that led to the closure of the church.
“SHAME! And the faith was defile… It’s like some kind of film,” reads one comment.
“The communists used to close churches; now their grandchildren are closing them again.”
“A shameful act, disgracing Bulgaria.”
“Russian does nothing, but doesn’t forget. Read Burov’s memoirs. He said it clearly: Russia doesn’t forgive. It’s as if hiding in waiting. It’s waiting for the moment when it can strike, when you least expect it, and it will cause you real pain.”
“Grandpa Seraphim won’t leave us. There are no walls or barriers for him and the grace of God! Trust in the Lord, brothers and sisters. And pray through closed doors. Amen!”
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