Bulgarian Orthodox Parish St Ivan Rilski - Vienna, Austria


The Bulgarian Orthodox Parish (BOP) St Ivan Rilski in Vienna, Austria, was founded in 1967. It was officially registered and recognized by the Republic of Austria on 19.05.1969 as an authorized public body. BOP is under the jurisdiction of the Bulgarian Patriarchy, the Sofia-based Holy Synod. It takes spiritual care of more than 10,000 devout Bulgarians and friends of Bulgaria and the Orthodoxy.


BOP is based in Austria and is the only authorized representative of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Austria. Its headquarters is in Vienna. Until 24.12.1993 BOP was using free of charge the Russian Orthodox Church in the Number Third Vienna district, where a Bulgarian service was performed once per month. In March 1993 Mr. Alexandar Karaminkov, Bulgaria's ambassador to Vienna, provided a premises in the residential quarters of the embassy, which the parish restructured and transformed into a Bulgarian church.

The first Bulgarian service was performed on 25.12.1993, and on 24.04.1994 was officially consecrated by the Western- and Central-European metropolitan bishop Simeon. Every Sunday our church is visited by some 100-120 devout Bulgarians or Austrian friends of Bulgaria and the Orthodoxy. On holy and special days it is visited by 300-400 people, including prominent Austrians from the business and political circles. The Easter service is visited by more than 1200 people, devout Bulgarians and Austrian friends of Bulgaria and the Orthodoxy. This has led the church board to consider building a larger house of worship, with rooms for cultural meetings, for children and young people - the future of the Bulgarian community in Austria, as well as for guests from Bulgaria or the Austrian federal provinces.


Mission statement

The mission of the Bulgarian Orthodox Parish St Ivan Rilski is to give spiritual care and provide for the spiritual and religious needs of the members of the parish through worship, teaching the holy sacraments, spiritual and religious instruction, as well as socio-religious programs to strengthen the faith.

There is also a charity activities program.

  • February - March 1997 - 60,000 packages of Adalat Retard, a medicine for the treatment of heart diseases, worth 14 million Austrian shillings, were sent as a donation to Bulgaria
  • Summer of 1998 - A fully equipped emergency ambulance was sent to Bulgaria
  • 1997 - 1998 - As part of a charity program the parish covered the food spending costs of the canteen at the Sofia Spiritual Seminary, worth $12,000.
  • 1997 - 1998 - The church allocated more 80,000 Australian shillings on two repairs of the roof of the embassy building where it is located.
  • 1998 - A program to donate $1,000 in aid to children affected by the Chernobyl explosion, who spent a summer in resorts in Bulgaria.
  • 1997 - 1998 - A two-stage aid programme worth 60,000 Austrian shillings to help retired priests, teachers at seminaries, professors at theology faculties.
  • Direct financial support for the publishing of religious literature in Bulgaria.

Classes in Religion:

For three years now three have been religion classes for children in our Bulgarian church. Some of the children in the group come from mixed marriages and the classes also help them learn the Bulgarian language.

Parish list:

The parish list is published since October 1991 in Bulgarian and German four times a year in 1600 copies, and has been recognized as an official newspaper in Austria.


Until December 12, 1990, BOP St Ivan Rilski had been funded entirely by the Bulgarian Patriarchy, the Holy Synod - Sofia. As from January 01, 1991, it procures all the necessary financing itself.

Churchwardens and church examination commission

There are six church wardens; chairman is the parish priest. The church examination commission has three members. It caries out detailed control on the finances of the church. Both executive bodies are elected once in four years at the general meeting.


There are two priests and three hypodeacons.