Patriarch of Moscow and of all Russia Alexei II appealed to Prime Minister of Bulgaria Simeon Sakskoburggotskii to resolve the question of the legal status of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church during a meeting on Tuesday. The Bulgarian leader, in his turn, said that 'in the mutual links between states, there are always favourable and less favourable moments. The time has now come to move on to a brighter stage in our relationship'. He underlined that at the present time the Bulgarian Orthodox Church 'cannot on a legal basis use property which, by rights, it owns.
The patriarch expressed his hope that, now that Sakskoburggotskii has become prime minister of Bulgaria, 'these difficulties will be resolved: That the former Tsar has entered the political life of the country and was elected prime minister shows that the consciousness of the Bulgarian people over the last years has withstood considerable change.'
At the same time, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church remarked that he was 'very alarmed by the fact that the Bulgarian Orthodox Church has for a long time been in a state of disunity: The most important thing for our nations now is unity'.
On the whole, in the patriarch's opinion, there is hope that 'with the entry of Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and the Czech Republic into the European Union, the Orthodox presence in the world will be significantly greater.'
The current prime minister of Bulgaria was formerly the tsar of that country. In 1946, he was dethroned, and in 2001 his party won the parliamentary elections.