Church leader accused of collaboration with communists
A prominent clergymen has accused the head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Maxim, of being a former secret agent.
The allegations, made by noted clergyman Father Lyubomir Popov, follow on from a state investigation by Bulgaria's Files Commission, which was set up to research communist-era secret police documents.
The Files Commission claimed that 11 out of 15 of Bulgaria's Metropolitan bishops were former agents of the security services.
Patriarch Maxim, now 97, was not on the list, but Father Popov claims that the leader's file was hidden or destroyed by communist authorities.
In an interview with the Sofia News Agency, Father Popov was highly critical of the bishops.
These are thugs in cassocks, he said.
They don't care if no one visits the temples. They manipulate people through the canon. They marginalize the Church, thinking that people are ignorant and don't understand.
Of the reasoning behind the widespread collaboration, he explained that they thought that communism would be eternal, that it would last forever and the files will never be opened, he said.
"Such a pathetic story," he added.