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Bulgarian Diocese in Exile

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The Bulgarian Diocese in Exile was a diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, which existed from 1965 to 1976, when it left the ROCOR and was received by the Orthodox Church in America.

This diocese had its origins in the decision of Metropolitan Andrei (Petkov), then head of the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia (named at that time the Bulgarian Diocese of North and South America and Australia), to regularize his relations with his mother church, with whom he had broken relations after World War II and subsequently was elected to the rank of metropolitan.

In the late 1950s, Andrei petitioned to be accepted into the Russian Metropolia but had been rebuffed by them for unclear reasons, so in 1964, he petitioned and was approved by the Holy Synod of the Church of Bulgaria to be readmitted to the Bulgarian episcopacy and continue to lead Bulgarian Orthodoxy in America. One of his clergy, Archimandrite Kyrill (Yonchev), disagreed with his decision and was consecrated by the bishops of the ROCOR to serve as head of the Bulgarian Diocese in Exile. He had "considerable success in persuading several Bulgarian parishes to accept his authority, due in part to Metr. Andrei's advanced age" (Surrency, p. 95).

In 1976, Bp. Kyrill and his diocese broke from the ROCOR and joined the OCA, thus creating its Bulgarian Diocese.


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