Nobel prize nomination for Orthodox Church for saving Jews

A Nobel prize nomination has been put forward for the Bulgarian Independent Orthodox Church.

The Church protected the country’s Jewish minority during the Holocaust.

A Bulgarian-Israeli lawyer is spearheading the campaign.

Moshe Aloni is seeking support for a campaign to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the Church.

He said he is hoping the campaign will succeed, to honour the Church’s “brave acts of heroism”.

These included voting unanimously to condemn antisemitic laws during World War II and for going against planned deportation of the country’s 48,000 Jews to Nazi death camps in Europe.

A petition to support the nomination was launched last year. So far it has 740 signatures of a target of 1,000.

The petition notes while the Bulgarian government was an ally of Nazi Germany, the church showed bravery and leadership by fighting against antisemitic laws.

The Metropolitan (Bishop) Stephan, the head of the Sofian Church, and the highest ranking Bulgarian Church official during the Holocaust, and Metropolitan Kiril, the head of the Church in the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv were both named as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 2001.

That honour was awarded because of strong opposition to the anti-Jewish policies of the Bulgarian regime.

It was also because the pair took active steps against the country’s policy of deporting the Jews of Bulgaria and handing them over to the Germans.


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