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The Bulgarian Catholic Church

Especially in the early years of communist rule, the Bulgarian Byzantine Catholic Church suffered vicious persecution along with the Latin Church in the country; a number of clergy and laypeople were executed or sentenced to long terms in prison. The situation would improve somewhat after the election of John XXIII and again in 1975 for celebrations of the 1,100th anniversary of the Christianization of Bulgaria. Unlike most other Eastern Catholic churches in Eastern Europe, this church was not officially suppressed during the communist regime in Bulgaria, although it had to deal with severe restrictions.

Since the downfall of communism, the Byzantine Catholic Church in Bulgaria has been able to function freely and has regained much of its property. By 2006 the Apostolic Exarchate had 21 parishes and was served by the same number of priests and 41 female religious. In 2002 the Holy See approved the statutes of a new Bulgarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference that includes the two Latin dioceses in the country (Sofia-Ploviv and Nikopol) as well as the Apostolic Exarchate.

Location: Bulgaria
Head: Bishop Christo Proykov (born 1946, appointed 1995)
Title: Apostolic Exarch for Catholics of the Byzantine-Slav Rite in Bulgaria
Residence: Sofia, Bulgaria
Membership: 11,000

Last Modified: 31 Jul 2007

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