Saturday, 13 May 2006
His Eminence Methode STRATIEV, Assumptionist and Emeritus Bishop, passed
away last night around 11pm, May 12, 2006 in SOFIA (Bulgaria). His funeral
will be held at 2 pm on Sunday, May 14 after celebration of a Mass at noon
in Sofia. The Superior General, Richard Lamoureux, will be present at the
Christened Nicolas Stratiev, he was baptized and confirmed in the Orthodox
Church. After his primary studies at YAMBOL and secondary school at Saint
Augustine College in PLOVDIV (where he received a joint French-Bulgarian
baccalaureate degree in 1936), he made his first profession with the
Augustinians of the Assumption on November 21, 1936, at NOZEROY (France).
"We are many who knew, esteemed and loved him, for his smiling simplicity,
for his typical fraternal devotion and for the depth of his religious
commitment", Father Noël Bugnard, Provincial of Lyon, once commented.
After his ecclesiastical studies at SCY and at LORMOY (France), he was
ordained a priest on July 26, 1942. Having returned to Bulgaria, he worked
in Plovdiv as professor at Saint Augustine College while he was the rector
of the Byzantine rite seminary, the superior of the community at Yambol
and pastor of a Byzantine rite parish. Later, he underwent Communist
persecution for many years, eleven in all, which included forced labor,
like his confreres, the three blessed martyrs, Pavel DJIDJOV, Kamen
VITCHEV and Josaphat CHICHKOV who were murdered in 1952.
Vicar General of the Catholic bishop of Byzantine rite for Bulgaria whom
he succeeded, Fr. Methode Stratiev was consecrated a bishop on September
5, 1965, in SOFIA. He would often write in his reports to Rome: "the rite
is nothing, the Church is everything". Rooted in the Assumptionist
charism, Bishop Stratiev worked ardently and with faith for the unity of
the Churches, for ecumenical relations in the spirit of Vatican II, and
for the rebirth of the Catholic Church in Bulgaria.
For the Assumptionist congregation, the Mission of Eastern Europe, of
which Bulgaria forms a part, is one of the major priorities articulated by
the General Chapter in 2005. Bishop Stratiev was one of his country’s most
committed Churchmen and will remain a great figure of the Assumption in
the service of the Church in Eastern Europe.
Last Updated ( Saturday, 13 May 2006 )