Country bids farewell to 98-year-old Patriarch who withstood a damaging schism after the fall of CommunismA black flag was mounted on the St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia on Friday, where the funeral mass for the deceased patriarch was to be held.
Patriarch Maxim died on Tuesday at the age of 98 and will be
buried at the Troyan Monastery in central northern Bulgaria, near his home village of Oreshak.
Maxim’s body was to lie in state in the cathedral before being interred in Troyan.
President Rosen Plevneliev has praised the country’s late Orthodox Church leader for his efforts to unify his Church in times of trouble.
Plevneliev apparently referred to the fact that Maxim withstood a schism in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church after the collapse of Communism back in 1989.
A split erupted between supporters of Maxim and breakaway clerics who viewed him as a Communist-appointed figurehead and attempted to oust him.
They then formed their own synod. The Church re-united in 1998, with the last rebel priests repenting 10 years later.
On Friday, Plevneliev also told reporters that Maxim had been a “good and kind-hearted man”. He said he hoped the next Patriarch would be as praiseworthy.