Kostriukov Andrei

Exarh of the Bulgarian Church metropolitan Stephen and the Moscow Patriarchy

Kostriukov Andrei (2013) "Exarh of the Bulgarian Church metropolitan Stephen and the Moscow Patriarchy ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia II : Istoriia. Istoriia Russkoy Pravoslavnoy Tserkvi, 2013, vol. 54, pp. 31-43 (in Russian).


The article covers the last period of church-administrative activity of the Sofia’s metropolitan Stephаn (Shokov). The author describes the testimonies of contemporaries about the character and personal qualities of this ambiguous hierarch. In 1945–1948 metropolitan Stephan was the exarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and participated in the Meeting of heads and representatives of Autocephalous Orthodox Churches in 1948. The author considers the circumstances of the dismissal of metropolitan Stephаn and his exile as especially important and interesting ones. The meeting of 1948 became the critical event in the exarch’s destiny. Being the supporter of ecumenism, metropolitan Stephen tried unsuccessfully to convince Patriarch Alexis of his rightness in order not to allow the condemnation of ecumenical contacts by the Moscow meeting. However Moscow looked on ecumenism differently in those days. In Moscow the Soviet management aspired to establishment of the centre of World Orthodoxy and tried to cite the Moscow Patriarchy against Constantinople that was under the influence of the USA and the Great Britain. As the Constantinople Patriarchy approved the ecumenical movement, the Moscow Patriarchy has been forced to take of an opposite position. Therefore, the participation of the Russian Church and Churches of the socialist countries in the ecumenical movement was impossible. Metropolitan Stephan, supporting the superiority of the Moscow Patriarchy in the World Orthodoxy, supported the active participation of all Local Churches in the ecumenical movement. The communistic management applied the maximum force to the exarch in order he has not made undesirable statements at the meeting. The fate of metropolitan Stephan has been decided after this meeting. In 1948 he was fired and exiled. The Moscow Patriarchy did not exclude the possibility of moving of metropolitan Stephаn to Russia and his location in any monastery. However metropolitan Stephаn remained in Bulgaria. The destiny of the exarh confirms once again, that the independent position of the hierarch threatened him with full elimination from a church-public life in those years.


he Russian Orthodox Church, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Alexis I, metropolitan Stephаn (Shokov), the Meeting of the heads and representatives of Local Orthodox Churches in 1948, the Affairs’ Counc


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Kostriukov Andrei