Metropolitan Nikolay’s speech that angered politicians

Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord,

When I was preparing my speech today for Unification Day, I decided to review what I’ve said in previous years on this holiday, because I feel like we say the same thing every year. Unfortunately, I’m right. See, for example, what I said in my speech on this day in 2013.

“You will ask if today, on the day we celebrate the Unification of Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church will say a few words about current political events? Will the Church take sides? In what words will she describe what is happening. How will he comment on it? What appeal will he make? The words that characterize what is happening have already been said. Here are just a few quotes from yesterday’s press: “Violent confrontation”, “Even as children we begin to hate those who think”, “Great hatred”, “Common sense is leaving the last territories in the collective Bulgarian consciousness”, “Complete absence of points of contact between opponents”, “State of complete civil intolerance”, “Egoism that binds the feet of the state with iron shackles”. These are the words of independent commentators and they very clearly state the state in which our society has fallen. Hate. Amnesia. Anger. Selfishness.”

I said that nine years ago. I have then quoted the newspaper headlines from 5. September 2013. If we go through yesterday’s social media posts we will surely read the same headlines. Nine years all the same. Hate, to the point of oblivion, anger, selfishness. Agree that this is not normal.

I cannot but note, however, that there is some development. If before the hatred was instilled and incited rather in principle, since two years it has already acquired personified features. Now specific groups of people are being called out to hate specific other groups of people. Let the young hate the old. People from the center to hate people from the outskirts. Listeners of one kind of music must necessarily hate listeners of another kind of music. Those working in the field of high technology treat ordinary workers with contempt, not to say contempt. It turns out that you can no longer identify with a certain social circle, if you don’t necessarily hate people from other social circles. Let’s not even talk about hatred on a political basis, there it already borders on hysteria.

An even more dangerous trend is emerging in politically motivated hatred. Recently, we have begun to hear calls for the elimination and almost physical liquidation of specific individuals named by name. I feel like we’re going back to the days of the Spanish Inquisition, when self-absorbed people who had usurped worldly power burned those who didn’t think like them at the stake, after formulaic, farcical trials conducted supposedly from the standpoint of some values. There was no question of any values, only the exercise of brute, inhuman power. For politics masquerading as religion. I want you to remember very well that the Inquisition as an institution is an invention of the Western Church. Harassing, humiliating, abusing and destroying people because of their beliefs, or because we consider them inferior to us, or simply because we don’t like them, are medieval practices introduced in the West, which we in the Holy Orthodox Church consider heretical and categorically we reject and condemn. If there the most important value is to exercise supremacy, and the method of achieving supremacy is “divide and conquer” by sowing hatred, then for us the most important value is love, and the method of smoothing out contradictions is called dialogue and reconciliation .

When I say that, I’m also thinking about something else. Since the beginning of the transition, Bulgarians have been sending their children willingly and warmly to the west, by the thousands and thousands, to study there and absorb Western values. Now they have begun to return, and it appears that, besides knowledge which we shall yet expect them to apply, some of them have imbibed contempt for the native, disrespect for parents, extreme individualism, materialism, selfishness, and above all a readiness to impose what they have learned by force, with the methods of the Inquisition. They talk politics, but in practice they behave like religious fanatics, practicing some “religion of hate” if there ever could be one. This war of hate, where our children are made instruments of evil, must stop immediately. We all have to do it. And if there are adults who are teasing them and taking advantage of their inexperience, they should be severely reprimanded by the whole society. I say this by the way, but I ask you to think about the matter, because it seems important to me.

Now listen to what the Holy Apostle John the Theologian said on the subject of hatred: “He who says he is in the light, but hates his brother, is still in darkness. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is no deceit in him. And he who hates his brother is in darkness, and in darkness he walks and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” (1 John 2:9-11).

Remember, brothers and sisters, this advice of the Apostle: when someone speaks to you, look into his eyes. The mouth can lie, but the eyes don’t. If he speaks to you of hatred and there is darkness in his eyes, know that the darkness has blinded him and he does not know where he is going. And if he doesn’t know where he’s going, he can’t take you to a good place. See how simply and plainly the Apostle put it. Look at the eyes and you will know who is who by them.

So much for current affairs.

Now I will ask you to go to the front in front of the church and hold a short memorial service in front of the monument of Gavrail Krastevich, which we placed here one year ago today. Let’s mention the actors for the Unification of Bulgaria, among whom, in our opinion, he occupies the most prominent place. Let me remind you that Gavrail Krastevich is the person who drew up and submitted to the Sultan for his signature the firman establishing the Bulgarian Exarchate. In it, he personally drew the boundaries of the Exarchate, which later became the boundaries of San Stefano Bulgaria. He also wrote the first Exarchic Statute. And as the Governor-General of Eastern Rumelia, he not only did not prevent the Unification from taking place, but assisted the Sultan in getting it accepted and later legally consolidated. By the way, let me say that Gavrail Krastevich graduated in law in Paris, which shows that a Western education is not necessarily a bad thing. The difference between him and some of our Western university graduates today is that he was immune to one of the basic lessons of Western education, namely that everything is negotiable and that everything is for sale. As an Orthodox man, he knew that there were things that were not for sale. For example, your brothers and sisters, whom you must love as you love yourself, your fatherland, your Orthodox faith and Orthodox values. If we can teach this to the young, we will have completely succeeded.

I thank the Civic Club association, the Mayor of the city of Plovdiv and our municipal councilors, who took the initiative and announced Gavrail Krastevich posthumously as an honorary citizen of Plovdiv. One of the few cases in our country in which recognition is given, albeit posthumously, not to a liberal revolutionary, but to a conservative builder. These signs are important, more important than we think, and I thank the leaders of the city of Plovdiv for understanding the meaning of the signs.

I will end with the words of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, which I quoted in my speech in 2020, but it is not superfluous to repeat them: “I beg you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing , and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in one spirit and in one thought.” (1 Cor. 1:10).

I am asking you and I, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to stop being influenced by those who sow hatred and divisions, to ignore and isolate them from our environment, to confess and forgive our voluntary and involuntary transgressions and to begin to unite as a people and nation. I invite all the priests in my entrusted diocese to fervent prayer in the coming days and weeks, that God will preserve our country and our people and give them peace, prosperity and blessed success.

Happy Union!

God save Bulgaria!


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