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Eastern Christianity

Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Doctrines On all major issues the Bulgarian Orthodox Church is in agreement with other Eastern Orthodox Churches. (See Eastern Orthodoxy.)

History The Bulgarian Orthodox Church was established in 865 when Boris I was baptised by Greek missionaries. During its early period the Bulgarian patriarch recognised the authority of both the Roman pope and the patriarch of Constantinople. In 1021 the Patriarchate was suppressed by the Byzantine emperor. During the Ottoman era the Bulgarian church was placed under the jurisdiction of the patriarch of Constantinople. In 1870 the Bulgarian church was made autocephalous by Sultan Abdul Aziz, a move which led Constantinople to excommunicate the Bulgarian church. It was not until 1945 that the patriarchate was recognised by Constantinople.
During the communist era the church's property was confiscated by the state. The constitution of 1991 guaranteed freedom of religion while recognising Eastern Orthodoxy as "the traditional religion in Bulgaria".

Symbols Festal icons, the Virgin Mary as Theotokos, Christ as Pantocrator. (See Eastern Orthodoxy.)

Adherents Some 88.5% of the population of Bulgaria belong to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. There are two dioceses abroad: the diocese of North and South America and Australia, and the diocese of West Europe (Europa Publications Limited, 1:661).

Main Centre
 1090 Sofia, Oborishte St 4, Synod Palace tel. (2) 87~56-11.