The Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church has decided to cancel the first round of the vote for metropolitan bishop of Varna and Veliki Preslav. The decision comes after representatives of both clergy and laity said they have grounds to believe that the election was rigged.
The first round vote, which took place last Sunday, elected Bachkovo Monastery abbot Boris and little-known bishop Ignatius as contestants for the second round. Prior statements made by controversial abbot Boris and the virtual inelectibility of bishop Ignatius were among the reasons cited for believing the vote was pre-arranged.
The Holy Synod decided that a first-round local vote will be held again December 15 in Varna, while the second-round canonical election will be held a week after. The Varna and Veliki Preslav metropolitan bishop seat became vacated – or “widowed” in Bulgarian Orthodox Christian parlance – after the July mystery drowning death of controversial former bishop Kiril.