For Putin's health and for the Russian army. The Moscow Patriarch's right hand man will officiate for St Nicholas Day in the heart of Sofia.
Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk, the right hand of the Moscow Patriarch Kirill (Vladimir Gundyaev), who is close to the Kremlin, will celebrate a Divine Liturgy in which prayers will also be offered for the health of Russian President Vladimir Putin and for the victory of the Russian army from the heart of Sofia - St. Nicholas Cathedral. Nicholas of Myrlikia (the Russian church). Anthony, who serves as the Russian Orthodox Church's foreign minister, will offer the festive prayer in communion with Lovchansky Mythopolitan Gabriel of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, the pro-Russian Orthodox video channel Khram reported.
A protest against the visit of the foreign minister of the Moscow Patriarchate blocked the Russian Church, which is in the center of Sofia. Antony is currently celebrating mass there, and Russia's ambassador to the country, Eleonora Mitrofanova, is a guest. There is an increased police presence at the entrance to the church. Protesters surrounded the church with Ukrainian flags in protest against Russia's war in Ukraine, which the Russian church supports.
Rumen Petkov, a former MP and former interior minister, now leader of the ABV party founded by President Georgi Parvanov, was also seen at the church today. Demonstrators chanted "Murderers" and "This is not Moscow". Among them are TV presenter Goran Blagoev and Ivan Kalchev-Gligi, an activist who took part for several months in the defence of Ukraine as a volunteer.
Two hours after the protest began, demonstrators blocked the diplomatic car of the Russian ambassador. However, Eleonora Mitrofanova came out through the back entrance of the temple.
Russian Metropolitan Anthony is known as the right-hand man of the Kremlin-allied Moscow Patriarch Kirill and serves as the Russian Orthodox Church's foreign minister. He will offer the festive prayer in communion with the Lovchansk Mythopolitan Gabriel of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, the pro-Russian Orthodox video channel Khram reported.
According to the Doxologia Infonews website, the Russian should already be in the country as his visit begins on Monday. Metropolitan Anthony's visit at this precise moment in the period of the Christmas fasts that began on November 15 is an outrageous provocation to Bulgarian Orthodoxy and the public against the backdrop of the ongoing war in Ukraine and the support of the Russian Orthodox Church and Goundyaev himself for the aggression.
As noted by the specialized portal "Dveri", the visit has not been officially announced either by the Holy Synod in our country or by the Moscow Patriarchate. The visit is officially legended as a visit in connection with the temple feast of the Russian Church. Never before, the portal adds, has there been such a high representation of the Russian clergy for the temple feast.
Against the background of the problems the Russian Orthodox Church is facing in Ukraine, where the Kyiv-Pechora Lavra has officially passed into the bosom of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the coming of the right hand of the Moscow Patriarch, close to the Kremlin and the Russian services, is an attempt of the Moscow Patriarchate to show that it is not isolated because of the war in Ukraine.
It is interesting to note that the previous day President Rumen Radev made a resounding statement in which he officially withdrew his support from his protégé Kiril Petkov. This was done in an extremely sonorous and theatrical manner. But after all, in Bulgaria since the 90s the maxim applies that "if a lizard is stuck, in order to survive it must bite off its tail!", in this case the tail is the President, who is a completely worn out and flawed card. But the interesting thing is that it is being made at such a fractious time when Russian propaganda is trying through the Orthodox Church and the faith of ordinary people to create division and confrontation in society. The same processes are going on at this moment in Ukraine, where the emancipation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is being used by the Kremlin to create internal conflict on religious grounds.
Another fact to pay attention to is the symbolic date on which the provocation takes place. It is the day of Alexander Nevsky, one of the most important figures in Russian history, who made a treaty with the Mongol Haganate to destroy the European invaders. In his name is the most significant temple in Bulgaria- Alexander Nevsky, which is the located in the heart of the Bulgarian capital Sofia.
A little historical reference about Alexander Nevsky:
Sv. Alexander Nevsky was born in 1220. He lived at the time when the Russian lands were under the rule of the Mongol Haganate, and Alexander was their vassal. Sv. Alexander was a prince of the Novgorod region. During his reign, the Swedish king with a large army went on a campaign against Novgorod. He held a very important victory for Russia, which left it in the sphere of influence of the Haganah and cut it off from Europe forever.
Later St. Alexander was confirmed by the Tatar Khan as Grand Duke of Vladimir, Kiev and Novgorod. According to the Orthodox Church, he then became the sole defender of the Orthodox faith and people. At the end of his life he wished to accept monasticism. Under Emperor Peter the Great, the relics of Sts. Alexander was solemnly transferred to the newly built St. Petersburg and placed in the Alexander Nevsky Lavra built in his memory, which symbolizes his exceptional importance in Russian history. During the visit to Moscow, the Church delegation led by Bulgarian Patriarch Maxim received a particle of the relics of St. Prince Alexander Nevsky.