A Journal Entry on the Election and Elevation of our new Patriarch Neofit
February 24, 2013
The Holy Synod chose three candidates for election to the Patriarchal throne. Delegates were sent from all the Diocese of the Bulgarian Patriarchate in Bulgaria but also Western Europe and the USA, Canada and Australia. V. Rev. Fr. Petar Totev, V. Rev. Fr. Gruio Tzonkov,Dr. Atanas Pumpalov and Dr. Michael Nikolov and I were the delegates from America. When I arrived in Bulgaria a week before the elections the news was that there were protests over the electrical prices and that the government resigned. Now Bulgaria was without a Patriarch and was without a government. It was a bit unsettling reminding me of the time my daughter landed in Ukraine in the midst of the “orange” revolution and when we heard that Athens and to some degree Thessaloniki was in the midst of anarchistic riots when my son was there.
Before the election with the blessing of our own Metropolitan Joseph I traveled around Bulgaria. I experienced the loving hospitality of the monks and nuns of Metropolitan Nathaniel’s diocese. During the week Bishop Daniil set up 6 talks and one radio interview for me to give around the Diocese on Orthodoxy in America and Orthodox education. Bp. Daniil drove us over the mountains in the Pirin, Rodope, Rila mountain area in the snow and ice. For me it was an incredible blessing. The Bulgarian people have a special warmth. I met wonderful priests, monastics, Sunday school teachers, public school teachers and families who touched my heart.
On Saturday, the day of the election we experienced a very orderly and open election. All documents checked, all votes given in secret ballot, counted openly and tallied. There were two rounds of voting. The three candidates were Metropolitan Galacteon, Metropolitan Neofit and Metropolitan Gavriil. The first round of votes required a 2/3 win which no one accomplished though the vote eliminated one candidate, Metropolitan Galacteon. The next vote required just a simple win of one vote. Metropolitan Neofit won this vote. As soon as this was accomplished, everyone processed over to the magnificent cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky where delegates from around the world had been waiting during the 4 hour process. The newly elected Patriarch was received by the people on the street with applause and smiles, and in the Cathedral he was received with glorious singing.
Representatives from all the major patriarchates were there; dignitaries from the government, his Excellency Simeon, the king of Bulgaria and others. The media men circulated and took videos and pictures of everything.
The new patriarch was vested with the piercing declaration-Dostoin- followed by the magnificent reply of the angelic choir. He gave his Patriarchal blessings in all 4 directions of the compass. He gave a beautiful speech on the duties of the patriarch and his determination to fulfill them.
The next day the first Divine Liturgy was celebrated with the new Patriarch. All of the Bishops were in the back area preparing for the Liturgy with the help of their subdeacons. The subdeacons and deacons were like military men, scurrying to get everything ready- mitres and whatever else needed to prepare and be on time. It was quite an impressive scene.
In the altar there was a sea of mitred Metropolitans, Archbishops and Bishops with Archimandrites, Abbots, Archpriests, priests, deacons and subdeacons. The magnificent St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was full of people and an amazing choir. The Divine Liturgy began with the young Archimandrite proclaiming: Blessed is the Kingdom….
I was able to take pictures form within the altar up to the entry when all the Bishops entered and Patriarch Neofit was giving the blessing when during O Come Let us Worship and Fall Down before Christ…My battery unfortunately died--God’s providence and my negligence as new to photography. One very strong impression that stayed with me was the great blessing of the events of the day, being in the company of so many holy and faithful men and hearing the angelic voices of the choir. It reminded me of the emissaries of St. Vladimir who reported to him: We couldn’t tell whether we were in heaven or on earth.
With love in Christ,
Patriarchal Election - 02/24/13
Symposium On The Edict Of Milan Held In Toronto
With the blessing of His Eminence, the Very Most Reverend Metropolitan Joseph, a Symposium on the Edict of Milan was held at Saint George's Macedono - Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church in Toronto, Canada.
The speakers were :
His Grace Bishop Daniil of Dragovitsa who gave an introduction on the Edict of Milan.
Archpriest - Stavrofor Milan Radulović who spoke on the topic "The Edict of Milan and the Seven Ecumenical Councils with Special Impact of the Edict of Milan on the Fourth Ecumenical Council."
Archpriest Georgi Despodov on "The Edict of Milan and the Holy Scripture."
This event gathered together parishioners from all the churches in the Toronto area under the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese. The participants had an opportunity to ask questions of all the speakers.
After the Symposium, Vespers was served at the church and was followed by a dinner in the church hall with a musical performance by accordion artist Mirjana Živković, who played and sang religious and Macedonian-Bulgarian folk songs.
On Jan 13, 2013, with the help of God, the representatives of 23 parishes of our Diocese gathered in New York City at the Holy Metropolis. After three voting sessions, we elected our Diocesan representatives for the Patriarchal Election Church Convention on Feb 24, 2013 in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The elected representatives are:
1. Archpriest Peter Totev
2. Archpriest Grouiu Tsonkov
3. Archpriest Patrick Tishel
4. Dr. Atanas Pumpalov
5. Dr. Mihail Nikolov
We thank every parish and all the parish delegates for their commitment, sacrifice and labours. We also thank those parishes who had the sincere desire to participate, but were unable for one reason or another.
Our concelebration of the Divine Liturgy and our work that day witnessed to our oneness in the Lord, which is the most important goal of our life that we can strive for.
Ordination of Rev. Milovan Djerasimovich
Our joy that day was even richer with the ordination at the Divine Liturgy of the Rev. Milovan Djerasimovich into the diaconate. The next day Fr. Milovan was ordained into the Holy Priesthood for the glory of God and has returned to Toronto, Ontario to begin his new priestly ministry. Axios! Worthy! Dostoin! May God strengthen and help him in his service!
Again, thank you every one!
With love in Christ,
Ordination of Rev. Milovan Djerasimovich - 01/13/13
The Very Rev. Panayot Pamukov retired rector of Saint Clement Ohridski Macedono-Bulgarian Orthodox in Dearborn, Michigan was called to eternal rest and blessed sleep in the Lord on Friday, January 18, 2013 at the age of 87. Father Pamukov was a priest in Bulgaria for 24 years before he came to serve the Saint Clement Ohridski Orthodox Parish on September 14, 1968. He continued to serve as rector of Saint Clement Ohridski until November 1, 1999. Once retired he continued to serve as retired priest until 2008.
He is survived by a daughter, Dr. Kristina Pamukov (Raiko Takov) Takov, and son, Nickolai Pamukov. Loving grandfather of Nicole and Emily Pamukov and Veronica Takov. Popadia Syvlia Pamukov preceded him in death in 2007. Vech-na-ya Pomyat! Memory Eternal! May Father Pamukove rest in peace!
The traditional Diocesan clergy Govenie this year was held again in “St. Sophia” Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church in Des Plaines, IL, March 29-31.
We – Metropolitan, Vicar Bishop and 22 priests and deacons - listened to the wonderful speakers, who gave us an opportunity to be convinced that our Holy Orthodoxy is indeed the best-kept secret in America. With each report, well written and easy to read, our speakers - His Grace Bishop Daniil, Fr. Michael Oyer, Fr. Gregory Valentine, Fr. Philip Tolbert, Fr. Patrick Tishel, Fr. Philip McCaffery, Fr. Jerome Sanderson, and Fr. Basil Rusen - helped us to find the answer to our question: Why is the Divine Liturgy the most important of all Church services? And we found the answer! Because it displays the whole drama of Christ’s life from His birth to His ascension into heaven. In other words, we understood that the Liturgy itself is the proclamation of the Gospel in an existential and experiential manner. And this has certain implications for us as Orthodox clergy:
1. The Liturgy is not for the clergy only, but rather the entire people of God (clergy and laity) who celebrate.
2. We must never separate the teaching, proclamation, and exhortation of the Scripture from the Liturgy. This Kerygma is part of the very fabric of the Liturgy. An analogy of this link, between the teaching and the sacrifice and eating, can be seen in the life of our Lord when He first taught the people and then offered Himself in His Body and Blood on behalf of all.
3, Our Diocesan people must be educated to understand what is happening in the Divine Liturgy and in this way to comprehend the proclamation in the Liturgy.
4. Because of the aforementioned factors regarding the Liturgy as proclamation, it is furthermore imperative that the people of God participate in this reality. Our intention is that all people, children and adults, men and women, learn the hymns of the Liturgy.
5. It is the clergy as shepherds who first call the people to themselves, i.e. to offer them the “bread of life”, and then send them out, being energized by this food, to do the work of the Church outside the limits of the parish.
6. Finally, we understood there needs to be a new thrust for our continuing pastoral education for all our clergy in the Diocese.
It was good for us to hear that in the weekly act of worship of the Divine Liturgy, we are lifted up spiritually into communion with God, the angels, saints and our loved ones in heaven, and when the Liturgy is finished, we take heaven with us into the week. Through an active prayer of life that we are gently and lovingly encouraged to undertake at our own pace, we open ourselves to be transformed by the Holy Spirit, to undertake the process of theosis – to become like Christ our God. We also understood that the Orthodox Church is both a home and a journey, a place and a path, and the spiritual hospital that renews the light of God within our lives.
Together we read the canon of St. Andrew of Crete and the laudation of the Mother of God, confessed our sins one to another, served the Divine Liturgy on Saturday and tried to become, as we prepared for the Holy Pascha, the champions in humility and love.
Now, being at home, we are still glowing from the joy and multitudes of blessings received during this wonderful Govenie. All of us were truly nourished and inspired hearing and discussing the many presentations on the Divine Liturgy. Such a spiritual climate and atmosphere of mutual Christian Orthodox love made our repentance really possible.
The wisdom, experience, knowledge and time we shared during this memorable Govenie was very valuable for all of us. It gave us the strength, inspiration, and confidence for doing the work in our Lord’s vineyard.
All of us are full of a great sense of joy that our time together in prayer, instruction, reflection, confession, and finally in co-celebration of the Eucharistic Mystery, was in every way refreshing and brought us “to be accounted victors over sin, and uncondemned to attain unto and adore the Holy Resurrection of Christ”. Amen.
2012 DIOCESAN CLERGY GOVENIE - 03/29/12
2011 Lenten Clergy Govenie - 03/31/11
The 2011 Lenten Clergy Govenie at St Sophia Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church in Des Plaines, IL, hosted by Very Reverend Father Gruiou and Popadia Parasceva Tzonkov. During the Govenie Reverend Father Hieromonk Mefodii
of St. Maximos the Confessor Skete was elevated to the rank of Igumen.
The Very Rev. Marko Kosev passed away.
The Chancery of the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia and Metropolitan Joseph, Diocesan Prelate, with saddness inform that on March 01, 2011, the Very Rev. Fr. Archpriest Marko Kosev reposed in the Lord. He was born on September 18, 1938.
The funeral was at St. Spiridon's Orthodox Church in Seattle, WA, on March 06, 2011.
The parish priest Fr. Yuri Maev, Fr. Archpriest Vadim Pogrebniak and Fr. Archpriest Ilia Balach served the funeral and burial which were very dignified and respectful for our departed worthy servant of God Fr. Marko.
On behalf of His Holiness Bulgarian Patriarch Maxim, Holy Synod members, Metropolitan Joseph, all Diocesan clergy and faithful Fr. Protoierej Ilia expressed the warmest sympathy to Popadia Tatyana, son Theodor, daughter in Law Julia and grandchildren Sophia and Ilia Kosev.
We all in the Diocese continue our prayers and ask God to be merciful to His servant Fr. Marko, to forgive his sins and to keep him on His right side.
We also pray to God to give consolation to Popadia Tatyana, Theodor, Julia, Sophia and Ilia.
We express our thankfulness to Popadia Tatyana for her service to God and His Holy Orthodox Church together with Fr. Marko in Bulgaria and the USA, especially in Steelton, PA.
Bog da prosti otec Marko! Vechnaia Pamiat!"
Fr. Blagoy with brothers
Memory Eternal The Very Rev Fr. Archpriest Blagoy Topuzliev, the Cathedral priest in NYC, gave his soul to the Lord on August 20, 2010. He was 64 years old.
An excellent priest, an erudite theologian, a caring pastor, preacher, and an inspired modest and approachable man, Father Blagoi Topuzliev will remain in the hearts and minds of all who are alive that were touched by his personality. God rest his soul!
His body was transfered to Bulgaria for the funeral. Please, pray for him as a newly departed Archpiest Blagoy and for the comfort and piece of his Popadia Elisaveta.
On Thursday, August 26, 2010, 10.00 AM, the newly departed Very Reverend Fr. Blagoy Topuzliev was buried in the city of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The funeral/burial service was performed by his brother Metropolitan Dometian of Vidin together with Metropolitan Nikolay of Plovdiv in St. Nedelya Orthodox Church, where Fr. Blagoy was a parish priest for many years. Please, remember him in your prayers. Memory eternal. Vechnaia pamiat!
Metropolitan Joseph, on behalf of the Holy Synod, Congratulates Patriarch Maxim on his names day.
Article with photos on website of Bulgarian Patriarchate.
Another article with more photos.
On October 29th, 2009 His Holiness the Bulgarian Patriarch MAXIM will
celebrate his 95th Birth Day. On this occasion he will consecrate the
new church in the Holy Patriarchate "St. Marina" (the civil name of His
Holiness was Marin).
Your Holiness Patriarch MAXIM,
Bless Your Holiness!
at Holy Dormition Orthodox Church greet and congratulate Your Holiness
on your 95th birthday. We pray that your day will be full of Our Lord's
blessing and joy along with the love of His most-pure Mother. We are so
thankful for your fatherly love for us here in America and your constant
and unceasing prayers for each one of us. It is with deep appreciation
for your compassion and generosity towards us that we wish you every
blessing on this special day. Thank you for all the wonderful epistles
that you send to us, enlightening our hearts and minds with the true
Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you also for receiving us so
warmly when we have come to visit you in Bulgaria and allowing us to
serve with Your Holiness -- a great blessing for us clergy. And we thank
you also for giving us your spiritual son, His Eminence Metropolitan
Joseph, to lead us here in America. He is a wonderful example of our
Bulgarian Hierarchs and beloved by many everywhere.
Holiness, may Our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ grant you Many
We ask for Your Holiness' continued support, prayers and
blessing for the missionary work of our Diocese of the USA, Canada and
Australia. Through Your Holiness' prayers, may many Americans, Canadians
and Australians be brought to the True Light of our Holy Orthodox
Respectfully venerating Your right Hand,
Michael Oyer and the flock of Holy Dormition Orthodox Church
The faithful of
Saint Herman of Alaska Mission send you our warmest greetings in the
Lord on the occassion of the 95th anniversary of your birth!
wish for you to know that you are in our prayers constantly and without
fail, both in our daily celebrations of Divne Services (weekly
Akathists, Liturgies, Vespers, and daily Morning Prayers). We remember
fondly your last visit to the US, and we treasure the memories of our
having the honor to receive a blessing directly from your hands! Now we
hold tightly to that first blessing as we continue to seek our Lord's
will through your continued blessings to us and your prayers for us in
America. Since your visit to America, many of us have aged much, but
when I see your photograph, you look as you did then, on that day you
visited the faithful of Sveti Duch in Cincinnati! How is this possible?
our Lord grant to you Many Years, and through His gift of years to you
thereby bless us, thereby keeping you as our Patriarch, under your
pastoral protection and care. You are the only Patriarch that many of
us have ever known, and we pray that your health, your strength, your
wisdom, and your prayers will continue to guide us and strengthen us for
many more years!
I also wish to send to you my personal thanks
for your prayers for the little child of God, Marina. Metropolitan
Joseph told me of your love for her after hearing her name. She fell
asleep in the Lord only days after her birth, but I know that it was
because of your holy prayers that she did not leave this world before
she received baptism, Chrismation, and before she tasted on her own the
Body and Blood of our Lord. Now we know with certainty that she rests
in His arms, free from any harm this world could do her. I cannot thank
you enough for remembering this loved one of our Lord! It is a great
comfort and joy to know that on the day of your birth you will
consecrate a church to her Patron Saint, Saint Marina! With your
blessing, I will share this joyous news with her parents.
love in Christ,
Father Basil Rusen
for the faithful of
Herman of Alaska Mission
Celebration of St. Dimitrios Church Name Day
Храм „Св. Димитър” Българска Източно Православна Църква в град Брамптън, Онтарио, Канада, отпразнува петия си рожден ден, на 26. 10. 2009 г., която дата съвпада и с храмовия й празник по случай честването паметта на светеца, чието име носи. Богослужението бе оглавено от Негово Високопреосвещенство Йосиф, митрополит на САЩ, Канада и Австралия, който предприе тридневно богослужебно гостуване в съслужение с всички български свещеници от съседните енории на македоно-българските църкви в Торонто.
Негово Високопреосвещенство бе топло приет от новия благоговеен свещ. Йоан Иванов в компанията на българската младежка секция при храма, която само за десетмесечна работа наброява над четиридесет православни младежа, обединени под логото на храма и инициира първата отворена младежка среща на нашите младежи с него.
Храм „Св. Димитър” е една идея на българското общество в Канада, осъществена в не толкова далечната 2003 г. от големия български бизнесмен и родолюбец, носител на орден „Стара планина” и почетен български консул в Торонто, д-р. х. к. Игнат Канев, което я прави една от най-младите Православни църкви в Северна Америка.
Църквата предлага модерно оборудвана база за задграничното българско училище по министерската програма „Български език и култура”, в което се помещават и учат около седемдесет наши деца.
Понастоящем управлявана под духовния покров на Негово Високопреосвещенство Митрополит Йосиф и зоркия поглед на Негово Благоговейнство свещеник Йоан Иванов, храмът има десетчленно настоятелство и председател в лицето на Г-жа Диди Канева, и се явява духовен и национален стожер на много българи зад граница.
Дори бегъл поглед над духовните и социални дейности при храма ни очарова със задружността на Женската си секция, която ежемесечно събира енориашите при храма на обеди или вечери с традиционна българска кухня; с младежката инициатива за безплатни прожекции на български филми, с катехизисните си курсове под предводителството на енорийския свещеник, с историческия дискусионен клуб, а не на последно място и с много спортни мероприятия за укрепване на българския дух, душевност и физика.
Важно е да не пропуснем да отбележим, че на тази паметна дата бе официално въдворен от Нюйоркския Митрополит в енорийско служение едногодишно служещият вече там свещ. Йоан Иванов, бивш духовник на храм „Св. Димитър”Кокаляне, Софийска Епархия, а така също бе подстриган и благословен за четец и певец при храма, православният местен Канадски жител Joseph Forget.
На същото богослужение, за особени заслуги по изграждането и консолидирането на българската общност при храма бяха наградени с патриаршеска грамота и грамота от храма, достопочтимите Д-р. и Г-жа Константин и Кина Вълчеви, църковни членове от основаването му.
Нека всички последваме светлия им православен пример на всеотдайно служение зад граница.
The 34th Annual Convention
Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese
of the USA, Canada and Australia
His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph Presiding
In Conjunction with the
My Life In Christ Youth Conference and the
Fifth Annual Popadias' and Deaconissas' Conference
My Life In Christ Youth Conference
My Life In Christ Youth Conference
Popadias' and Deaconissas' Conference
Popadias' and Deaconissas' Conference
The 34th Annual Convention
The 34th Annual Convention
"The Summer Session of the Holy Synod continues. His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph
returned back to NYC to prepare himself for our 34th Annual Diocesan Convention.
The Holy Synod took the following decisions for us:
- His Holiness Patriarch Maxim on behalf of the Holy Synod to send three messages:
1. To MLIC Youth Conference; 2. To Popadias and Deaconissas Gathering, and 3. To the delegates of 34th Annual Diocesan Convention in Des Plaines;
- Holy Synod to inform us that he approved as final the decision of our Diocesan Court to depose archimandrite Simeon of Boscobel;
- Holy Synod to inform His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah of OCA that it was approved as final the previous deposition of former priests Stefan Michailov and Valentin Notzkov, now in the USA;
- Holy Synod to infrom His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah of OCA that the status of Very Rev. Archimandrite Pachomij (Bellcov) is canonical in our Diocese and he came to us from ROCOR, not from OCA;
- Holy Synod appointed the new Deans of Sofia and Plovdiv seminaries;
- Holy Synod gave as Vicar Bishop the Dean of Sofia seminary Bishop Sionij to Metropolitan Dometian of Vidin;
- Holy Synod blessed the new website of Bulgarian Patriarchate: www.bg-patriarshia.bg
- Holy Synod heard for information the report of Metropolitan Neophit of Russe regarding the decisions of Panorthodox dathering in Shambezi (Materials are already ready in English);
- Holy Synod decided to celebrate 95th anniversary of His Holiness Patriarch Maxim in October this year and to consecrate on this occasion his chapel "St. Marina" in his home.
- Holy Synod continues its Session until July 10, 2009."
On Pentecost Sunday, the fourth pan-Orthodox pre-assembly discussion and meeting began with a pan-Orthodox Archpastoral Liturgy. The co-celebrants of the Liturgy were the leaders of the delegations from the Churches in Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Serbia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Cyprus, Greece, Poland and Albania. Bulgaria was represented in the service by Metropolitan Neofit. Metropolitan Neofit is 4th from the left in the picture.
St. George's day at Zograph Monastery
Metropolitan Joseph's friend and spiritual brother Metropolitan Neofit celebrates St. George's day on April 23 / May 6th at Zograph Monastery, the Bulgarian Monastery on Mt. Athos, its patronal feast day.
Pascha at St. Clement - 04/19/09
Left side of iconostasis
Left side of iconostasis
click on images to see them larger
click on images to see them larger
Right side of iconostasis
Right side of iconostasis
Holy Resurrecton Orthodox Church Installs New Icons
On Palm Sunday Fr. Dcn. John Williamson installed the beautiful icons painted for us by an excellent iconographer from Romania. The icons were accomplished through his hand but also through the prayers and encouragement of Dedo Vladiko, the support of the entire parish and the hard work of our iconography committee. We definitely felt the enhanced presence of the Apostles and the real purpose of icons was exemplified in this blessed event. The picture was taken after Liturgy and is of the parish of HROC that was present on that day. Fr. Patrick
His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph attends the elevation of his spiritual brother, Metropolitan Neofit, to Doctor Honoris Causi at Sofia University, Bulgaria. Our Diocese expresses, together with Metropolitan Joseph, its joy and congratulations to our beloved Metropolitan Neofit. May God grant him Many Years!