Metropolitan Nikolai of Plovdiv Claims Pope Is Paving the Way for the Antichrist
Bulgaria Offers Chilly Welcome as Pope Francis Tries to Mend a Schism
SOFIA, Bulgaria — Pope Francis’s drive to champion migrants and improve relations between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches got a cold reception in Bulgaria on Monday.
A Bulgarian Orthodox prelate denounced the pope’s efforts to unify the churches as a prelude to welcoming the Antichrist. And some Bulgarians shrugged off his pleas to welcome migrants.
A high-ranking figure in the Bulgarian Orthodox church, Metropolitan Nikolai of Plovdiv, dismissed the pope’s visit as political and condemned in harsh terms his efforts to improve ties between the churches.
“The goal of all of this is to unite all the religions around the pope, so that when the Antichrist comes, for the pope to welcome him, and through him, all who are coming along with him,” Nikolai told a congregation in a church in Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second-largest city.
“How to unite everyone?” he declared, in remarks first reported by Pod Tepeto, a Bulgarian news site. “It is not possible to unite the light and the darkness.”