Cyril (Markov) of Bulgaria

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His Holiness Cyril (Markov), Patriarch of Bulgaria, was the primate of the Church of Bulgaria from 1953 until 1971. He was the first Patriarch after the restoration of the Bulgarian Patriarchate in 1953.


Constantine Markov, (Bulgarian: Константин Марков), was born on January 3, 1901 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Entering a theological career in the Orthodox Christian Church, Constantine received the name Cyril as he was tonsured into a monastic life on December 30, 1923 at St. Nedelya Church in Sofia.

He advanced through the Holy Orders and was consecrated the Metropolitan of Plovdiv in 1938. During World War II., Metr. Cyril participated in the Bulgarian popular resistance to the Holocaust. In 1943, he confronted the captors of Bulgarian Jews slated to be deported. While he initially pledged to join in solidarity with the deportees, Metr. Cyril then told the guards he would block the train with his own body. After which the guards reply that they have just received new orders to release the Jews. This episode was recounted in the oratorio "A Melancholy Beauty," composed by Georgi Andreev with libretto by Scott Cairns and Aryeh Finklestein, that was first performed in June 2011 in Washington, D.C.

In 1945, after many decades of negotiations, Patriarch of Constantinople recognized the restoration of autocephaly of the Church of Bulgaria whose last patriarch was Patriarch Evtimiy in the late fourteenth century. On May 10, 1953, Metr. Cyril was elected Patriarch of Bulgaria.

Patr. Cyril reposed on March 7, 1971 and was buried in the main church of the Bachkovo Monastery in south central Bulgaria.

Succession box:
Cyril (Markov) of Bulgaria
Preceded by:
Metropolitan of Plovdiv
1938 - 1953
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Patriarch of Bulgaria

years=1953 - 1971

Succeeded by:
Maxim (Minkov)
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