Maria Zakharova, the official spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, has labeled the decision of the Bulgarian authorities to expel the abbot of the Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church in Sofia, Archimandrite Vassian, as another destructive step. Her remarks were reported by TASS.
The Russian Embassy, in an official statement, expressed that "the Bulgarian authorities have taken gross, egregious actions to deport the abbot of the Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church in Sofia, Archimandrite Vassian, and two church officials from the Church of St. Nicholas Mirlikiiski."
As explained by the Russian ambassador to Bulgaria, Eleonora Mitrofanova, the priests of the Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church were called to the migration service on Thursday, where they were informed that they posed a threat to Bulgaria's national security and had to leave the country immediately. She further clarified that the clergy were then taken in police vehicles to their homes to collect their belongings and later brought to the church before being transported to the Serbian border.
Subsequently, the Russian Embassy's press service in Bulgaria released a statement that the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker in Sofia "will cease its activities at this stage," with the Russian Orthodox Church deciding its future course.
Additionally, Eleonora Mitrofanova mentioned on the Russia 24 TV channel that the Bulgarian ambassador to Moscow, Atanas Krastin, will be summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry in response to the ongoing situation.
Mitrofanova emphasized, "In Moscow, no one will take retaliatory actions against the Bulgarian Orthodox Church because we are not barbarians."