Scandalous! The bishop of Vidin supports the Russian war in liturgy…

Metropolitan Daniil of Vidin published a circular to the clergy in his diocese, in which he reminded of his previous prescription: at the Holy Liturgy, special prayers for peace should be offered during “disorders, strife and bloodshed.” The archbishop also lays out in detail the main points of support of the Russian side for the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, “Dveri” reports.

The lengthy three-page text, though titled “District,” according to experts in church law, does not bear the hallmarks of this ecclesiastical format. The district messages that the Holy Synod or the metropolitans send to their subordinates contain precise instructions for performing certain actions or taking certain measures on the part of priests and church workers, for example, additional prayers, successions, etc. or compliance with anti-epidemic rules, organizing at certain events. The district is usually short and concerns pastoral practice.

However, in the text of the liturgical instructions sent by the Metropolitan of Vidin, only a single paragraph is separated, “Dveri” recalls.

The main part of the text is devoted to the metropolitan’s political views on the war in Ukraine. It is noteworthy that the main points of support of the Russian side regarding their motives for the attack and the continuation of the military conflict on the territory of Ukraine are immediately presented in the text.

In this way, the metropolitan imposes his own political views on his subordinates, “disguising” them as a “district message” of a bishop. In the Church, there are clear rules according to which the political leanings of priests, regardless of their rank, should not affect the pastoral ministry and relationships with the congregants and the worshiping people.

Such pastoral “instruction” regarding the “correct” political views can be seen as immediate pressure on clerics and churchmen subordinate to the metropolitan.

Ecclesiastical law experts also point out that a district letter or message aimed at internal order and order in the diocese does not need to be announced publicly. The important thing is that it reaches the priests. Therefore, they are sent directly to them. In the course of the year, the priests receive from their bishops dozens of “district” letters on various issues, but this correspondence does not gain publicity, as it concerns strictly official matters.

In this particular case, the “district message” of the Metropolitan of Vidin went beyond the circle of his custodian priests and reached the general public, which is not familiar with the peculiarities of church epistolary practice and could perceive the bishop’s text as the opinion of all metropolitans, i.e. to the entire leadership of the BOC in the person of St. Synod.

Reactions to the text on social media from last night to today show just that. In this way, the synodal elders are placed in a situation where they will have to take a position on the matter. If they remain silent, it will be taken as agreement with their fellow man. If they disagree with it, however, they will have to make their point of view clear and public.


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