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Election of Metropolitan Daniil of Vidin

His Grace Bishop Daniil of Dragovitsa, formerly the vicar bishop to His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph of the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada, and Australia, was elected to the Metropolitan Throne of Vidin, Bulgaria, on February 4, 2018.

His Holiness Patriarch Neofit of Bulgaria solemnly proclaimed the Synod’s decision and greeted the newly-elected prelate of Vidin, recounting his episcopal ministry thus far and expressing confidence that the newly elected Metropolitan Daniil would continue to serve with Christ the Good Shepherd as his example.

Bulgarian texts available at:

His Holiness Neofit’s proclamation: http://www.bg-patriarshia.bg/news.php?id=255174

His Eminence Daniil’s response: http://www.bg-patriarshia.bg/news.php?id=255179

 

Response of His Eminence Metropolitan Daniil February 4, 2018

Your Holiness,
Your Eminences,
Your Grace,
Loving fathers,
Beloved brothers and sisters,

On this day, my soul magnifies the Lord with a reverent trembling and with dismay, as the words of our Lord Jesus Christ to His disciples: “As the Father sent me, so also I send you” (John 20:21) reach out to me. Feeling my unworthiness, I am humbled by the choice that you, Your Holiness and Your Eminences, have made in delegating to me the highest responsibility for the holy ministry and faithful congregation in Vidin Diocese of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

When the Lord called upon the holy prophets to serve and worship Him, their hearts were filled with fear of God as they prayed: “O my Lord, I pray thee, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send” (Ex 4:13). But they did not dare not to fulfill God's will. I too dare not to fail, fortified by the Savior's words: “Fear not, from now on you will catch men” (Luke 5:10). These and many other testimonies, such as the words of our Lord and Savior Himself, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” (Luke 12:48), speak of the great responsibility the Lord assigned to those chosen as His apostles and entrusted with the care of the path to salvation of the soul. Today, by God's grace, observing the established canonical order for the election of a Metropolitan in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, I humbly share this responsibility with you, the distinguished members of the Holy Synod and Your Holiness, Patriarch Neofit.

A spiritual trepidation raises the question: Can I justify the trust placed in me and fulfill with dignity the high ministry assigned to me? Will I ignite sacrificial love and pour my soul into the newly-entrusted congregation, following the example of our Savior? While asking these questions, I look to the example of the faithful bishops of the Orthodox Church from antiquity even unto today. Vivid images of the bishops who held the Metropolitan Diocese of Vidin are before me. High among them, in his spiritual attractiveness, is the example of the venerable

Metropolitan of Vidin and first Bulgarian Exarch Antim. He was guided by the awareness of his pastoral duty, willingly sacrificing himself while invariably supporting his spiritual flock in the most crucial moments of their lives. Many also are the virtues exemplified by Exarch Antim's successors: Metropolitans Kiril, Neofit, Philaret and the late Metropolitan Dometian.

Realizing my infirmity and unworthiness, I stand before you, filled with boldness and the hope to succeed in this ministry, firmly relying on the help of God and remembering the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20), and also: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). I accept this lot as coming from the right hand of God and as an expression of God’s will through your wise pastoral blessing.

Together with fear of God, my sinful heart is filled with gratitude and love for my God and Savior and for all the goodness He has granted me. I thank Our Heavenly Lady Mother Mary, under whose patronage I served for many years in a monastery located near the village of Rozhen, and under whose protection my ministry will continue.

The shining example of my spiritual father, the blessed and cherished Metropolitan of Nevrokop Nathaniel, is boldly engraved in my mind. Under his paternal care and guidance, I entered the monastic life and under his omofor I was led into the hierarchical degrees of deacon and priest. On his recommendation, I was led into a hierarchical sanctuary and placed in ministry as his vicar bishop. His spiritual leadership and tutoring in pastoral and administrative activity will always be a sober and enlightening guide in my ongoing ministry, as I will continue to rely on his prayerful advocacy.

Unforgettable is the example of the blessed Bulgarian Patriarch Maxim who, together with the members of the Holy Synod, bestowed the episcopal ordination upon me. His fortitude and perseverance in restoring and upholding the unity of our native church will always be of worthy importance to me.

The stature of the Metropolitan ministry, the example of my predecessors, and the increasing challenges of the times we live in will require sacrificial love to continue the spiritual enlightenment and education in the Orthodox faith of our good-natured people within the boundaries of the Vidin Diocese.

I express my sincere gratitude to you, Your Holiness, as well as to the Highly Respected Metropolitans of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, for the fatherly and brotherly care you have taken and for the confidence you have placed in me. I promise to dedicate all my effort and strength to justify your trust. I humbly pray and strongly rely on your blessing for further support.

I am particularly grateful to His Eminence, the Metropolitan of the United States, Canada, and Australia Joseph, under whose omophor I served as a vicar bishop for the past seven years. I thank him for the warm and generous care; for the invaluable experience gained as he showed me how to care for the diocese and work with the parishes; for the blessing he gave for a new monastery in our overseas diocese. I thank the brothers of the monastery, the clergy and the entire ecclesiastical order of the diocese for the true Christian love they have shown, as well as their unconditional cooperation in our common work. I firmly believe that the fraternal ties that have been established will be preserved and continue in the future.

I express my brotherly gratitude to the Locum Tenens of the Metropolitan Throne of Vidin, His

Eminence Metropolitan Gregory of Vratsa, who managed to conduct a nearly perfect election of a new Metropolitan of Vidin, considering the challenging conditions. I believe that the election was run according to the statute and soon will bring peace and restore the spirit of Christ's love in the Diocese.

I thank the Diocese of Vidin and the Diocesan voters for assisting the Locum Tenens Metropolitan in conducting the election, and for the vote of confidence I received. In the future I will rely on your cooperation and support. I believe that with God's gracious help, along with respectful collaboration among us, we will contribute to the blessing and the spiritual flourishing of the God-saving Vidin Diocese.

I thank my parents and relatives who have always supported me and have been a pillar I could lean upon. I thank all my supporters during the election and all of you here present and taking part in this spiritual celebration. I strongly rely on your prayers to the Almighty God for His help and guidance for a dignified and gracious ministry.

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