Bulgarian Exarchate

Bulgarian Exarchate

Bulgarian Exarchate

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The Bulgarian Exarchate ( Bâlgarska ekzarkhia) was the official name of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church before its autocephaly was recognized by the Ecumenical See in 1945 and the Bulgarian Patriarchate was restored in 1953.

The Exarchate (a de-facto autocephaly) was unilaterally (without the blessing of the Ecumenical Patriarch) promulgated on May 11, 1872, in the Bulgarian church in Constantinople in pursuance of the February 28 (the Julian calendar) 1870 firman of Sultan Abdülaziz of the Ottoman Empire.

The foundation of the Exarchate was the direct result of the struggle of the Bulgarian Orthodox against the domination of the Greek Patriarchate of Constantinople in the 1850s and 1860s; the secession from the Patriarchate was officially condemned by the Council in Constantinople in September 1872 as schism.

National awakening

In 1762, Saint Paisius of Hilendar (1722–1773), a monk from the south-western Bulgarian town of Bansko, wrote Istoriya Slavyanobolgarskaya ("History of the Slav-Bulgarians"), a short historical work which was also the first ardent call for a national awakening. In History of Slav-Bulgarians, Paisius urged his compatriots to throw off subjugation to the Greek language and culture. The example of Paisius was followed by others, including Saint Sophroniy of Vratsa (1739–1813), Abbot Spiridon of Gabrovo (d. 1815), Abbot Yoakim Karchovski (d. 1820), and Abbot Kiril Peychinovich (d. 1845).

Struggle for autonomy

The result of the work of...
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