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Bulgaria: Mgr. Proykov (Exarch of Sofia), refusal of granting religious entity status to Catholic monasteries

As Bulgaria gets ready to take on the presidency of the Council of the European Union (from January 2018) for the first time in its history, the spokespersons of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe who met last week in the capital of the Balkan country “were informed about the regrettable situation that has recently developed between the Exarchate of Sofia and the Financial Department of the capital’s Town Council which is adamant in its position of refusing to grant religious entity status to Catholic monasteries in Sofia”. The local Catholic Church, a statement reads, was thus forced to “appeal to the Court of Justice against the above Financial Department, which, despite having received several written negative opinions from the competent bodies of the State, including the Directorate of Religious Affairs of the Bulgarian Council of Ministers, has preferred getting involved in the ongoing legal proceedings”. According to the lawyers of the Exarchate and to Mgr. Christo Proykov “this regrettable obstinacy casts a bad light on Bulgaria’s respect for the right to religious freedom inasmuch as it is subject to personal interpretation by local and state officials”.

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