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Metropolitan Nicholas of Plovdiv condemns blasphemy

Metropolitan Nicholas of Plovdiv of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church has linked the deaths of fifteen Bulgarian tourists in a boating tragedy on Lake Ochrid in Macedonia with a concert given by the singer ‘Madonna’. He called the deaths a ‘punishment’ for the concert given by the blasphemously named former ‘pornstar’ in Sofia.

The tragedy, officially caused by overcrowding, took place on 5 September, the Bulgarian national holiday, a week after the concert on 29 August. The 29 was the strict fast day of the Beheading of St John the Baptist (on the Gregorian calendar), a beheading which was asked of Herod by Salome, in whom many would recognise a predecessor of ‘Madonna’. When the Bulgarian Orthodox Church had asked for the performance to be cancelled, it had been ignored by Bulgarian society at large.

In Metropolitan Nicholas’ view, the concert and the tragedy are signs that modern EU Bulgaria ‘has failed to understand and erred from the true way, which is based on faith, hope, virtue and salvation’.

A day of mourning was declared in Plovdiv on 6 September and a memorial service was celebrated in the Cathedral in Plovdiv. This was attended by the President of Bulgaria G. Pyrvanov and the President of the National Assembly T. Tsachev.

The singer’s concerts have called forth condemnation all over Eastern Europe, especially in Poland, Russia and the Baltic Republics. Metropolitan Nicholas’ views will be echoed throughout the Orthodox world, where it is firmly believed that blasphemy chases away the protecting grace of God and unleashes demon-inspired tragedies.

With regard to the blasphemy against the Mother of God of the contemporary American singer, some may shudder at the recollection of the physically violent deaths of previous ‘pornstars’, for example that of Jayne Mansfield in 1967. As it is said, we are punished according to the nature of our sin.

Thus, those who sin with their minds may suffer from the deprivation of the reason through mental illness and finally dementia, for example those who speak ill of others may go deaf or become paranoid. Those who sin with their bodies may suffer from the deprivation of physical attraction and finally death through physical illness, AIDS, syphilis or cancer of the uterus or testicles, for example those who have abortions may be afflicted with sterility. But we should recall that repentance is always possible for all.

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