Controversial papal visit to the Balkans

Pope Francis on Tuesday finished his three-day visit to Bulgaria and North Macedonia. In both countries, in which less than one percent of the population is Catholic, he was given a joyous reception by the faithful. Orthodox clergy, however, refused to pray for peace with him in Sofia - provoking divided reactions from commentators.

Open/close all quotes
Trud (BG) /

Francis is just the leader of a sect

Trud shows understanding for Patriarch Neophyte's refusal to hold a joint mass with Pope Francis:

“Neophyte gave Francis a friendly but distanced reception. He had no other choice, because from the point of view of our ancient Orthodox Church the Catholic Church is an apocryphal sect of heretics. So those who criticise the patriarch are either atheists, fools or simply pro-Western neoliberal trolls sponsored by [the ruling party] Gerb or George Soros. In any case they're certainly not good Orthodox Christians!”

24 Chasa (BG) /

Orthodox Church must wake up from coma

That the Orthodox Church in Sofia gives the pope the cold shoulder while the Bulgarian people receive him with open arms and hearts doesn't surprise 24 Chasa:

“The Bulgarians trust the 'foreign pope' more than they trust their own clergy because they see his messages as relevant and important and a lot more intelligible. ... Perhaps the pope feels more like a rock star to them. ... Everything around us is changing constantly and our Church must finally wake up from the vegetative state it has been in since the Middle Ages. ... The pope conveys the impression of a person who has overcome all the dogmas and restrictions that still have such a stranglehold on the old men of the Holy Synod.”