World Council of Churches Office of Communication
Press Release
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13 December 1998

WCC Eighth Assembly - Press Release No. 47

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church has informed the World Council of Churches (WCC) that it has decided to discontinue its membership of the WCC.

The news was given in a letter dated 27 November 1988 from His Holiness Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria addressed to WCC General Secretary, Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser.

Below is an English translation, supplied by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, of the original Bulgarian text:

"Dear Mr General Secretary,

The Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church at their session on the 9th of April 1998, Protocol No.9, having taken into consideration that the hopes from its membership in the World Council of Churches have not been fully justified, as well as the confusion of the Orthodox Christians in this country with that membership (of our Church in the WCC), with a view to safeguard the fullness of our holy Church, have decided to discontinue its membership in it.

The Holy Synod express their thanks to the WCC for the mutual contacts and the respective mutual aid so far. Respectfully yours

President of the Holy Synod
(s) + MAXIM
Patriarch of Bulgaria"

Contact: John Newbury, WCC Press & Information Officer
Press and Information Office, Harare
Tel: +
E-Mail: WCC media

The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 339, in more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the Assembly, which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.