Bulgarian Orthodox church leader backs Kiev over Moscow in dispute over Ukrainian autocephaly

Conservative cleric backs independence for Ukrainian church from Moscow

Nikolai of Plovdiv

Interfax – The name of the head of Ukraine’s new church, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, (OCU) Metropolitan Yepifaniy Dumenko was for the first time mentioned by a hierarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church during a liturgy service.

Bulgaria’s Metropolitan Nikolay of Plovdiv led the morning service at a church in Greece’s Langadas, the Greek website Romalewfronimati reported. During the liturgy service, a deacon read a local diptych (a list containing heads of Orthodox Churches to be mentioned in certain order), including the OCU head, the website said.

Three hierarchs of the Greek Orthodox Church – two metropolitan and one bishop – concelebrated the liturgy with the Bulgarian metropolitan.

The Langadas Diocese is on the Moscow Patriarchate’s list of Greek Orthodox dioceses in Greece undesirable to visit by pilgrims as their ruling metropolitans have come to liturgical communion or communion of prayer with OCU representatives.

So far, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church has not given a definitive answer as to whether it recognizes the uncanonical church of Ukraine set up with support from Constantinople and the former Ukrainian administration a year ago.