11 March 2009, 14:27
Russian Church considers biased the Strasbourg Court ruling on the case of Bulgarian schismatics
Sofia, March 11, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate considers biased the European Court of Human Rights ruling on the case of Bulgarian schismatics and assures full support to the canonic Church of Bulgaria.
"It must be noted that the Court's acceptance of the complaint from the so-called "Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church" means implied support of its right to speak on behalf of the canonic Bulgarian Orthodox Church. This only testifies that the court rules in favour of one party in this internal church dispute", Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria said addressing the All-Orthodox Meeting called in Sofia to discuss the above court ruling.
According to Bishop Hilarion, this judgment establishes the norm "which shall become the basis for settling other similar matters involving church-state relations". Consequently, Bishop Hilarion continued, "this norm may be applicable to any traditional religious community in Europe", which according to him, "raises concerns of not only each Orthodox Church, but also any other traditional religious organization".
On December 22, the Strasbourg Court reportedly made judgment on the case of the church schism in Bulgaria which criticized the state authorities for granting special status to the canonic Church, whereby the court has virtually sided with the so-called "alternative Synod" headed by Metropolitan Innokenty (Petrov). This judgment was slashed by the canonic Church which qualified it as interfering with internal affairs of this religious organization. Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill expressed his solidarity with the canonic Church.
According to Bishop Hilarion, the European Convention member states made no commitments to keep neutral relations with religious organizations as this contradicts with the existing models of state-church relations in different countries.
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