Bulgarian Orthodox Church head Patriarch Maxim has joined a list that includes Mark Twain, Paul McCartney and Steve Jobs in rejecting rumours that he is dead, or at very least seriously ill and about to die.
Bulgarian-language media recently fuelled speculation that Maxim (96), who has headed the church since July 1971, was on the verge of death. There also have been rumours that he had died and the death was being concealed so that church leaders could work on deciding who should succeed him.
“I am alive,” Maxim said in an announcement published on December 11 2010 in mass-circulation daily 24 Chassa.
“Let those who believe and those who do not come at 9am on Sunday to the Holy Synod Chapel Saint King Boris in Sofia”.
* It was in 1897 that Mark Twain, real name Samuel Clemens, made his famous comment that reports of his death were an exaggeration. During the 1960s, a conspiracy theory developed that Beatle McCartney was dead and had been replaced by a lookalike named Billy Shears – a theory that adherents found support for in various lyrics by the group. In August 2008, a technical error led a news agency to prematurely post an obituary for Apple computer firm co-found Steve Jobs.