Bulgarian Patriarch: Leaders should serve the people

Bulgarian Patriarch: Leaders should serve the people


By Clive Leviev – Sawyer of The Sofia Globe

Bulgarian Orthodox Church Patriarch Neofit says that God puts people in positions of leadership not to satisfy their personal ambitions and goals but to be their servant.

Neofit, elected Patriarch of the church in February 2013 at the time of the earlier protests that were mobilised around cost-of-living issues, was speaking against a background of continuing anti-government protests.

While standing back from taking sides, the Patriarch earlier issued a message to the current protesters in which he extended his blessing to them.

Speaking on July 4, at a ceremony at which he received a leadership award, Neofit said that a real leader was one who devoted himself completely to the will of God and to the care of the people. This should be done not under compulsion, but willingly, he said.

Neofit said that humility is a virtue necessary for a true leader.

“The lack of humility in a leader, the lack of inner strength to overcome selfish desires, their selfishness, pride, self-centeredness, conceit, is an insurmountable obstacle to show genuine concern for the people entrusted to fulfil their perceived needs.”

Lack of humility is an obstacle for something else that is essential for a good leader: the ability to listen to others, to learn, to take advice, guidance and criticism, and to comply with these.

A leader who had the pride to be convinced that his decisions always were correct and that he could not make a mistake had the prerequisite for certain failure, Neofit said.

“When one is empowered to make decisions that affect many people, one must be very careful and responsible, especially humbled by the consciousness of his human weakness and imperfection,” Neofit said.

Leadership, he said, was a gift from God but also a great responsibility, quoting a passage from the Christian Bible saying that “of everyone to whom much is given, much will be required, and to whom much has been entrusted, of him more will be asked”.


(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)