SOFIA, BULGARIA [OCA Communications]—His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, was represented at the official celebration of the 90th birthday of His Holiness, Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria and Metropolitan of Sofia here October 27-28, 2004 by His Eminence, Archbishop Kyrill of Pittsburgh and and the Bulgarian Diocese of Toledo and the Very Rev. David Brum, secretary to the Metropolitan.
His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople opened the celebration by presiding at a Service of Thanksgiving at the Troyan Monastery on Thursday, October 28. It was at this monastery that Patriarch Maxim entered monastic life as a young man. On Friday, October 29, Sofia’s massive Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was filled beyond capacity as the Divine Liturgy was celebrated.
In addition to Patriarchs Bartholomew and Maxim and Archbishop Kyrill, other hierarchs participating in the celebration were His Beatitude, Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece; His Beatitude, Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana, Durres, and All Albania; and His Beatitude, Metropolitan Sawa of Warsaw and All Poland. The Churches of Russia, Georgia, Serbia, Romania, and Cyprus were also represented.
In conjunction with the celebration, the representatives of the sister Orthodox Churches attended a concert of liturgical music in Patriarch Maxim’s honor at the Sofia Concert Hall and official receptions with the President of Bulgaria, members of parliament, and other government and civic officials. They also visited various churches and other sites associated with the Patriarch’s life and ministry.
“It was during Patriarch Maxim’s lengthy tenure that the Church of Bulgaria emerged from years of struggle under communism, during which it, like the other Churches of eastern Europe, suffered tremendously,” said the Very Rev. John Matusiak, OCA Communications Director. “In the early 1990s, a schismatic ‘parallel Synod’ was established in Bulgaria by those opposed to the canonical Church. Despite these challenges, the vast majority of Bulgarian Orthodox faithful remain loyal to the canonical Church as it continues to rebuild its internal and external life.”
Click here for photos of the celebration.