Archbishop sends message to funeral of Bulgarian Patriarch
Thursday 8th November 2012His Holiness Patriarch Maxim, who led Bulgaria's Orthodox Church for 41 years in times of communist rule and democracy, died on Tuesday morning, aged 98.
Patriarch Maxim was the longest serving patriarch in the Bulgarian Patriarchate's history. Born Marin Naidenov Minkov on 29 October 1914, the future Patriarch Maxim graduated from the Sofia Seminary in 1935 and entered Sofia University’s theology department in 1938, before rising through the church ranks to be named patriarch on 4 July 1971.
His 9 November memorial service at Sophia’s Alexander Nevsky Cathedral - where Archbishop Rowan will be represented by his apokrisiarios to the Bulgarian Patriarchate, the Reverend Patrick Irwin - will be followed by a funeral at the Troyan Monastery.
The Archbishop sent the following message to the memorial service:
To His Eminence Metropolitan Grigory of Veliko Tarnovo and the Orthodox Church of Bulgaria
Your Eminence, Dear Brothers and Sisters:
It was with the greatest of sorrow that we learned of the repose of the soul of His Holiness Patriarch Maxim, Metropolitan of Sofia and Patriarch of Bulgaria.
Serving God’s people with extraordinary faithfulness, including more than forty years as Patriarch, he has been a courageous spokesman for Christ and Christ’s Church in Bulgaria, especially in the years since the collapse of Communism. Overcoming the bitter separations of the past he has prepared all the faithful of the Bulgarian Church, its bishops, clergy, monks, nuns and people, to look to a future of blessing and growth which we pray may open up in hope. We give thanks for the consistency and tenacity of his ministry and witness, and more widely for his friendship to others in Christian leadership.
As the Bulgarian Church now prepares for the election of a new Patriarch, I am grateful to be able to send you every good wish and blessing in your task of discernment. With my brother bishops here and around the Anglican Communion, I once again thank God for Patriarch Maxim, a great elder of the Church, and promise for him as well as for you our prayers in the days and weeks ahead, and our shared hope that through our Anglican–Orthodox dialogue and relations we may find new ways together to promote the proclamation of the Gospel.
With the saints give him rest, O Christ.
May his memory be eternal!
+ Rowan Cantuar: