Pastor Tonchev responded to the judgment by stating: “We are thrilled that the European Court of Human Rights has recognized our fundamental right to religious freedom just in time for Christmas. Government officials had no right to malign our Christian faith, just because we are distinct from the majority religious practice in Bulgaria. With this verdict, the court has affirmed that religious freedom belongs to everyone.”
Robert Clarke, ADF International director of advocacy and co-counsel in the case, said: “The court’s ruling offers a pivotal opportunity for Bulgaria, as a post-communist society, to recommit to human rights for all.”
“The European Court of Human Rights has affirmed that the government of Bulgaria was wrong to target these Christians with an alarmist campaign designed to suppress the freedom to live out their beliefs. This ruling sends a clear message that government efforts to stamp out religious freedom are unacceptable and fundamentally incompatible with democracy.”
According to the U.S. State Department, 76% of Bulgarians are Eastern Orthodox, mostly in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. The second-largest religious group in the country are Muslims, at 10% of the population. Bulgaria’s Catholics make up only 0.8 % of its population.
The Catholic News Agency (CNA) Staff are a team of journalists dedicated to reporting news concerning the Catholic Church around the world. Our bureaus are located in Denver, Washington, and Rome. We have sister language agencies in Kenya, Germany, Peru, Brazil, and Italy. CNA is a service of EWTN News. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.