May 14, 2011

Bulgarian Bishop Bashes Nationalist Leader

May 12, 2011

Nikolay, Metropolitan of the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv, made an angry statement following the actions of far-right party Ataka (Attack) leader, Volen Siderov.

According to the statement, Siderov "has tried on two occasions to involve the Bulgarian church in scandals."

Nikolay described Siderov's political style as "cave nationalism" and stated he tries to use the church for his own political goals, which harms the national unity, according to the cleric.

The first scandal Metropolitan Nikolay is referring to is the accident in which Siderov took down by force the enclosures, surrounding the official seat of President, Georgi Parvanov, who is the former leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, during the recent solemn Easter Mass at the St. Alexander Nevsky cathedral in the capital Sofia.

After the clergy handed the very first candle with holy fire to Parvanov, Siderov had asked them if "they served the President-atheist or God".

The second accident took place on May 6, St George day, when Siderov visited the Bulgarian Saint George the Zograf Monastery on Mount Athos, Greece, and had an outburst provoked by the the fact the divine service was not only in Bulgarian.

In his statement, Metropolitan Nikolay pointed out the Bulgarian Orthodox church has always been the epitome of tolerance, which he put in contrast with Siderov's behavior.