Bulgaria’s Orthodox Church on Sunday elected metropolitan Neophyte of the northern city of Ruse as its new leader after Patriarch Maxim died last November aged 98 after leading the church for over 40 years.
The bells of the golden-domed Alexander Nevski cathedral in downtown Sofia announced the election of a new patriarch by the 138 delegates at the church council Sunday afternoon. Neophyte won support from 90 delegates in a second-round ballot.
The Bulgarian patriarch is elected for life unless he himself decides to step down.
He will now be entrusted with the key task of bringing disillusioned Bulgarians back to the church, which has been slow to play any significant role in society after being severely crippled during the 45-year communist rule.