Bishop Méthode STRATIEV passes away

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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 funeral.

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 )