The Russian Patriarch Kirill published condolences on the website of the Russian Orthodox Church yesterday evening regarding the passing of the Bulgarian Patriarch Neophyte.

“On behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church, I extend deep and sincere condolences on the passing of the newly-reposed Bulgarian Patriarch Neophyte”, the message states. It is addressed to the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. “It is valuable for us that a significant part of his life was connected with the Moscow Theological Academy, where his theological and musical gifts were revealed. After his election to the patriarchal throne, he repeatedly visited the borders of the Russian Church, whose faithful children were filled with sincere love and respect for him,” writes the Russian Patriarch”.

Russia Patriarch reminisced about the late Patriarch’s ties to Russia, highlighting his formative years at the Moscow Theological Academy and his subsequent visits to Russian Church borders, where he was revered by the faithful.

In this year’s Epiphany message, however, Patriarch Neophyte expressed opposition to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.“The Lord God and the Holy Church bless only those armies that do not exhibit aggression, and whose sole purpose is to protect and defend their people and country within their internationally recognized territorial borders”, was stated in the patriarchal blessing.