On Saturday 15.12.2012, 40 days has passed since our first along equal Bishops patriarch Maxim passed to the Lord Jesus Christ. Just like his humile living his passing to Christ went in humility and without much publicity.
The "death-remembrance" prayer service was served 40 days after his passing to Christ in his favorite monastery the Troyan Monastery.
Many people blamed the patriarch for not being canonically chosen for breaking the Church order for being responsible for the bad state of our Bulgarian Orthodox Church, for all the mostly bad things that happened in our country over the last 21 years since the fall of communism regime.
Our patriarch, however behaved like a true, monk he keep silent in all people's lies on his account, he kept silent when people has called him agent of the Social regime, he just kept silent for all except for things which were directly being enforced against the Church canonical apostle's succession and the ancient Orthodox Church tradition and liturgical Church slavonic language and the centuries kept since the baptismal of Bulgaria Church order and canonical rules.
He was a head on the "ruling steel" of the Church during a severe communism atheistic regime and even though the multiple attempts of communist power to destroy the Church from within by installing many priests and bishops as their spies, and doing all in the party's power to make people disbelief the Church and trust in communism, they all failed and the Church win. The Church win just in accordance with Christ's words as the Lord Jesus Christ said in his Holy Gospel – "The gates of hell will not prevail over my Church".
Besides being ahead of the Bulgarian Church in this difficult times of trial for the Church, our patriarch's care for the Church continued even after fall of communism in times. Under Patriarch's Maxim Patarichship, the BOC (Bulgarian Orthodox Church) has survived over the difficult times of great Schism which continued in its peak from 1997 to 1998, though the schism itself in some kind existed without much publicity from years 1992 to 1998. The Schism in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church was caused by some regularly chosen Bishops, who claimed that patriarch Maxim which was chosen during Communism was not chosen according to canons but chosen by Communists.
One of the Bulgarian Orthodox Chruch (Holy Synod) Metropolitans self-proclaimed himself as patriarch claiming that he was supposed to be chosen as patriarch but the communists change it in favour of Maxim. It was God's providence (not without the prayers of many and the prayers of his holiness Maxim) which solved the created long lasting conflict inside the Bulgarian Church.
The self-proclaimed "Patriarch" Pimen died and the Bulgarian Police force came to power and put out a few of the left shismatic priests who had occupied over some of the Church buildings and claimed the Church buildings belonged still to the Schismatic Synod and not to the regular Bulgarian Orthodox Church Synod headed by Maxim. It is very interesting fact that just in short it appeared Patriarch Maxim (even though the accusations) has never had a dossier and according to communist archives is not in the list of the Bishops who have signed a declaracy to be working with the Communist Government and behave according to the planned agendas of the Communist Authorities.
This is the best evidence that patriarch Maxim was a Holy Man not chosen by communists as many pseudo-Orthodox Christians and even a lot of devoted ones were deluded to believe but chosen by God's great providence of the Bulgarian nation and the autocephalous BOC. It is interesting facts concerning the schism in the Church during 1997-1998, that many don't know but can be clearly researched in the many documentations (video materials, archives and newspapers) that the ruling then "Democratic Party" – Syiuz na Demokratichnite Sili (Съюз на Демократичните Сили) – (SDS), has carefully fostered and was initiator of the Shism in our Church.
The reason for the schism was evident there were people who didn't wanted the Bulgarians to go to Church and have faith, and more concretely there were people not wanting Bulgaria to have a strong Orthodox Church and the climate after communism fall was giving an opportunity for BOC to rise and lead many of the BG populations who were baptized but never had the opportunity to attend the Church and get to know the Church teaching due to the atheistic communist regime back in the "bosom" of the Church.
Bulgarian politics from The Democratic – "Blue Party" – SDS (Syiuz na Demokratichnite Sili – Ally of Democratic Forces), were openly supporting the so called "Alternative Church Synod", leaded by Pimen, even until the moment where the sanity and God's providence overbear and the schismatics (many of which had their illegal business with prostitution or narcotics), were driven out of the Church and many of which in their attempt to escape police trial went abroad in the "Western World", stealing a big multitudes of Church money. During the whole schism the Church's all bank accounts were frozen. So during those almost 1.5 year during "schism", Church's money couldn't be used by the Church.
Just to give you an idea on how bad and harmful to the Church this was, imagine if some a government of USA "froze up", all accounts belonging to a big company provider lets say IBM. Imagine what would be the eventual short time consequences for IBM – the answer is their business will probably be broken so badly, that after that it is not very likely they recover. However as the Church is not a normal organization but is an organization established by the Saviour Jesus Christ himself and lead by the Holy Spirit, all this couldn't destroy the Church.
Yes it is true it badly harmed the Church, and the Churches went empty, it is true that the confidence in the Church authority was damaged, but the Church itself continued operating and even after the few consequential years of desolation in which mostly noone visited the Church except on big feasts (and even on big feasts was scared to go to Church because could happen to be in a Schismatic Church) – as for regular people there was no clear understanding which of the Church buildings belongs to Patriarch Maxim's Canonical old times synod in which they baptized and which belongs to the self proclaimed Pimen and his assembly of deluded good Christians (most of which came back to Church) and the big part of wolf's in sheep's clothes which wanted to use the Church as aim to advance their power authority in society and financial acquisitions.
The shism is a topic which is little researched and little spoken of after that as Patriarch Maxim with his monk's silence was able to mitigate the harshness of the situation so just 14 years after almost no-one in Bulgaria remembers the times of Schism – except ofcourse the Christians who lived over it.
As with many of the great saints patriarch Maxim went mostly unnoticed by society and his death hour was little spoken and not quickly forgotten. However historically I'm sure he will always, be remembered as the person who take the "Church" ship over one of their hardest historical times since y. 870 to present time.
Patriarch Maxim led the Church in year 1971 – 2012, 1971 to about 1985, were years of severe communism, where police was prohibiting people to visit the Churches and pray or take the sacraments. If one does so he often lost his, job or was asked to go to police for a check up. Some devoted Christians were severely threatened and some were sent to the state Prisons like Belene.
During his reign-ship patriarch Maxim had to rule over a Church without layman, the word Church itself comes after Ecclesia (A gathering of the faithful), during Patriarch Maxim's reign he had to however rule over a Church which from a good working huge Ecclesia (a gathering of believing people), to a Ecclesia of mostly few thousands of priests and maybe few thousands of old people who, were under a pension and therefore were allowed to go to Church and pray or take active participation in the Church.
The huge consequence of this is evident in the Bulgarian Church even to this day, as the Church is mostly filled with old people and you can rarely see a young people or families visiting the Church. Bulgarian devoted youngsters, therefore even joke-up saying that our Church is a "grandma's Church". Even though the empty Churches and the unbelief of many still, many people are baptized and are continuously being baptized in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church even to this where most of the Bulgarian population is Orthodox and had received the initial grace of Christ. Thus even though due to the little layman attendance, the Church is not in bloom still it is living in most of the Bulgarians and their families and in that sense it is still in continous bloom. Also it is a good idea that we Bulgarians, take an honest look to ourselves and ask ourselves the question is the weak state of the Bulgarian Church attendance, due to the non-stop journalist made-up scands, or it is because of us which we didn't supported our Church both financially and with our participation in Holy Sacraments and Church life and deeds.