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Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria

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His Holiness Maxim
Bulgarian Patriarch and Metropolitan of Sofia
Maxim of Bulgaria.jpg
Church Bulgarian Orthodox Church
See Sofia
Enthroned 4 July 1971
Predecessor Patriarch Cyril
Personal details
Birth name Marin Naydenov Minkov
Born 29 October 1914 (1914-10-29) (age 102)
Oreshak, Bulgaria
Nationality Bulgarian
Denomination Orthodox Church

Patriarch Maxim (Bulgarian: Патриарх Максим) (born Marin Naydenov Minkov, October 29, 1914, Oreshak) is the current head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

He was the second of two children of Nayden Minkov Rachev, but very little is known about his parents' background. He was educated only in his native mountain village of Oreshak but from his late childhood he became a novice monk in the Troyan Monastery and then studied Orthodox Theology at Sofia University. He took Holy Orders in 1941 and became secretary general of the Holy Synod in 1955 and titular bishop of Branit on December 30, 1956.

In 1960 he was elected Metropolitan of Lovech on October 30, 1960, and during this time, despite the atmosphere of persecution under Todor Zhivkov, Maxim was able to win enough favour with the Politburo to be a certainty for election as Patriarch on July 4, 1971 after Patriarch Cyril died.

His long reign as Patriarch has been fraught with great trouble - even after the collapse of Communism less than 1% of Orthodox in Bulgaria attend church on a regular basis. In the early 1990s, a split in the Bulgarian Church was stimulated by the government of the Union of Democratic Forces, based on the alleged cooperation and affiliation of Maxim with the former regime. However, Maxim was able to take control of the majority of the parishes and to prevent any schismatic threats within the Church. The faction against Maxim formed the Bulgarian Alternative Synod.



Preceded by
Cyril
Patriarch of Bulgaria
1971—
Succeeded by
incumbent

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