Bulgaria’s Orthodox Church elects new leader
SOFIA - The Associated Press
REUTERS photoThe Bulgarian Orthodox Church says Metropolitan Neofit has been elected as the new patriarch.
Neofit, who is 67, was picked Sunday among three candidates shortlisted in a secret ballot by the 14 bishops that make up the Holy Synod of the church.
An electoral college made up of 138 members gave 90 votes to Neofit. He is considered a compromise candidate after a power struggle within the church over who will succeed the late Patriarch Maxim.
Maxim, highly popular among some six million Bulgarian Orthodox Church followers, died after a long illness on Nov. 6 aged 98.
Orthodox Christianity is Bulgaria’s dominant religion and is followed by more than 80 percent of the country’s 7.4 million people.