His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon greeted His Holiness Patriarch Neofit, Metropolitan of Sofia and Patriarch of Bulgaria, on his birthday.
October 15, 2020
Your Holiness, Dear Brother and Concelebrant in the Lord’s Mysteries,
I write to Your Holiness today to congratulate you on the joyous occasion of your 75th birthday. May this special occasion be filled with festive joy and sincere thanksgiving to our Lord Jesus Christ, the “shepherd and bishop of (our) souls,” who has chosen you to serve as the leading shepherd of His flock in the Bulgarian lands (1 Peter 2:25). Many years, Your Holiness!
Indeed, when considering the ministry of bishops, one must consider Christ’s example of shepherd leadership. Our Lord Jesus Christ calls out to us, proclaiming the truth about His Father and Himself, and we are free to heed His voice or not. He does not force, He does not strike, but rather freely lays down His life out of His immeasurable love for us, so that we too “may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Dear brother, we have seen this Christ-like love shine forth in you, when we behold the loving pastoral manner in which you tend to your flock, and in the fraternal manner in which you approach the local Orthodox churches everywhere. Our only prayer is that your love may increase more and more!
With fraternal intercessions on behalf of you and your flock, I remain
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada