METROPOLITAN PANKRATY OF STARA ZAGORA DIES AT 72
Early in the morning of July the 14th  died of heart attack the Metropolitan of Stara Zagora Pankraty at age of 72. Metropolitan Pankraty was born 1926 in the region of Stara Zagora (Central Bulgaria). After studies in the Ecclesiastical Seminary of Plovdiv he received a degree in theology from the Theological Faculty of the Sofia University (1951), became a monk in the Batchkovo Monastery and was ordained a priest. After years of ministry in the metropoly of Stara Zagora as archimandrite and vicar bishop of the late Metropolitan Kliment, Pankraty was elected as Metropolitan of Stara Zagora in 1967. For many years he was responsible for the inter-church relations of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church (BOC). In the patriarchal period of H.H. Patriarch Maxim (elected 1971) he was involved very actively in all ruling activities of the BOC. Unfortunately after the political changes in Bulgaria Metropolitan Pankraty gave in to the pressure of some political forces in the country and became one of the three metropolitans, who made the schism in the BOC, trying to get the power in the church. Nevertheless in December 1996 he returned to the canonical church, making repentance and asking for excuse. H.H. the Patriarch and the synodical metropolitans accepted him with brotherly love, giving him the possibility to contribute again to the restoring of the pastoral work of the Bulgarian Church. Acknowledging the good works of the late Metropolitan of Stara Zagora Pankraty, let us say in prayer: May God forgive him!
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