Bulgarian diocese organises petition against cremation


Eastern Europe


Photo AFP, Jens Schlüter

A diocese of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church is taking a stand against the un-Orthodox practice of cremation. Website Orthodox Christianity reports on this.

A message on the official website of the Metropolis of Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second-largest city, states: “The Holy Metropolis of Plovdiv is organising in Plovdiv churches a petition against exploitative crematoriums and the burning of people on the territory of the city of Plovdiv”, Orthodox Christianity writes.

According to TV SAT COM, one crematorium has been operating in Plovdiv for several years, with a capacity of 1,500 to 3,000 cremations a year.

Not new

The website also reports that building a crematorium on the territory of Plovdiv and the region is not new. About five years ago, a private mourning company intended to create an incinerator for burning human remains on its property. It provoked protests, public debate and civil dissent with the support of the Orthodox Church.

With the support of the Church, the local church members were able to block the construction of the crematorium. Metropolitan Nicholas of Plovdiv attended a public demonstration, condemning the construction of a new crematorium as blasphemous and soul-destroying.

Dignity of human body

In June 2018, another Bulgarian hierarch, Metropolitan Ioann of Varna, spoke out against a crematorium in his city. The hierarch called the groundbreaking ceremony “tragic, unfortunate, and terrible,” the Sofia Globe then reported.

“The Orthodox Church has firmly stood against cremation for 2,000 years, upholding the dignity of the human body, as the temple of the Holy Spirit, made in the image of God, and awaiting the glorious resurrection at Christ’s Second Coming” Orthodox Christianity wrote in 2018.

“When a Christian wants his body to be burned, he shows that he does not believe in the value that the body has, does not respect it, rejects the resurrection of the body, being influenced by various foreign heretical teachings. It is a dogmatic problem,” Metropolitan Ioann stated.

About 60 per cent of the Bulgarians identify as members of the Orthodox Church, Orthodox Christianity wrote four years ago.

Greece and Cyprus

In Greece, hierarchs of the Orthodox Church called the building of a crematorium in the city of Patras “war against the Church.” The Church of Cyprus announced in April 2016 that it will not celebrate funerals for those cremated.



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