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SOFIA, 30 MARCH 2009. STATEMENT OF THE I.A.O. ABOUT THE ORTHODOX CHURCH OF BULGARIA.

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The International Secretariat of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (I.A.O.) has been informed by the members of the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria on the decision of the European Court of Human Rights dated 22.01.2009 which was published following the appeal of members of schismatic group of the Orthodox Church of Bulgaria on economic claims against the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Bulgaria headed by His Beatitude Maxim, Patriarch of Bulgaria.

The I.A.O. International Secretariat expresses its support to the suffering Orthodox Church of Bulgaria. Moreover, the I.A.O. considers abiding by the principles of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, the orthodox traditions, the decisions of the great Pan-Orthodox Convention, which was held in Sofia, 30 September – 1 October 1998, as well as the Declaration by the representatives of the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches in Sofia, 11 – 12 March 2009, as an unwavering factor of unity of the Orthodox Bulgarian peoples.

In addition, the I.A.O., treats the decision of the European Count of Human Rights on the subject in question with reservation and skepticism, which, even though referring to economic differences, it implicates, nevertheless, the Orthodox Church of Bulgaria in fruitless and futile discussions.

Faith in God and His two-thousand years of expressions of worship, should be treated not only as plain matters to be settled by the current rule of Law, but also as diachronic cultural expressions of peoples and ethnicities, which cannot be governed by the fragmental and ad hoc judicial process; on the contrary, it is dictated to assess its total impact on Church life.

Sofia, 30 March 2009