Metropolitan Cyprian of Stara Zagora (Bulgarian Patriarchate) co-served in the Bulgarian Church of Constantinople (Istanbul) last Sunday, December 26, with Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon, according to the Svitlo Fanaru outlet.
During the liturgy, His Beatitude Metropolitan Epifaniy was commemorated in the Diptych among other primates.
The report notes that the event is an important step towards the Bulgarian Church’s recognition of the tomos of autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
The outlet emphasizes that in 2019, Metropolitan Cyprian made a statement in favor of the head of the ROC structure in Ukraine, Metropolitan Onufriy, and also headed the team set up by the Bulgarian Patriarchate to “study the Ukrainian issue” (the results of the study are yet to be released).
“Therefore, the cooperation of the BOC hierarch with Metropolitan Emmanuel, who headed the Unification Council in Kyiv, and participation in the Liturgy commemorating Metropolitan Epifaniy testify to a shift in the Bulgarian Church’s views on the ‘Ukrainian issue,'” OCU Spokesman Archbishop Yevstratiy said.
According to the OCU spox, a possible explanation for this fact is that the BOC actively supports the autocephaly of the Ohrid Archbishopric (Northern Macedonia), which is historically connected with the Bulgarian Church.
Earlier, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew officially received a church delegation from Northern Macedonia led by the bishop. Observers assessed the visit as a positive sign regarding the “Macedonian” issue.
“Therefore, the Bulgarian Church, which hopes for such a decision to be made and for the Ohrid Archbishopric to receive a tomos of autocephaly, cannot but recognize the tomos for the Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” the OCU spokesman concluded.