Kardam Tarnovski’s son succeeds Simeon II
The grandson of Simeon Saxe-Coburg – Prince Boris Tarnovski will be the guardian of the Crown. This was decided by Simeon II after “many lengthy discussions and reflections”. In his testament, he states that Prince Boris will be only the guardian of the crown, but not the king, because “Bulgaria today is not a monarchy.” The decision of the former prime minister was announced by him in an interview with the periodical of the Sofia Holy Metropolis.
Information about the Guardian of the Crown of Bulgaria is scarce. Prince Boris Tarnovski is the child of Simeon’s eldest son – Kardam Tarnovski, who was injured in a car accident near Madrid in 2008, was in a coma for seven years and died in 2015.
Today his son Prince Boris is 25 years old. He is named after his great-grandfather Boris III and is the only royal grandson with an entirely Bulgarian name. So far, he has been a guest at a number of official royal events in Europe.
Boris was born in 1997, graduated from the European College in Madrid, studied at the St. Gilgen International School in Salzburg.
The heir to the throne is a polyglot – he speaks 4 languages, has an interest in politics, an advocate of green ideas and liberal values. Spanish media write that he loves
See the entire interview, which was published on the website of Simeon Saxe-Coburg:
-Honor and reverence, Your Majesty! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the opportunity to conduct an in-person interview for the Easter issue of the periodical of the Holy Metropolis of Sofia – Diocesan Voice magazine! My first questions are about your childhood. Your Holy Baptism was solemnly celebrated on July 12, 1937, St. Peter’s Day, in the Palace Chapel. It was attended by St. Synod in full composition, your godfather becomes the “patriarch of the Bulgarian army” Gen. Danail Nikolaev, the Minister of War Gen. Hristo Lukov. The water for your Holy Baptism was brought especially for the occasion from the Jordan River, and the cross was donated personally by the Russian Emperor St. Tsar Nicholas II, godfather of His Majesty Tsar Boris III. Is all this true?
-My holy Baptism was performed in the Palace Chapel by the Holy Synod and at the request of my father, my godfather became the “patriarch” General Danail Nikolaev on behalf of the whole army. General Hristo Lukov is not my godfather, but he was certainly present as a member of the government. The cross I received then was actually a gift from St. Emperor Nicholas II and has been with me ever since. It was donated by the emperor to the spiritual mentor of Tsar Boris, Metropolitan Basil.
– We know that during baptism every Orthodox Christian is anointed with the “seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit”. When was performed on you and the second, Royal Anointing – this sacred act, giving special grace to the Orthodox monarch for the preservation of the Church and allowing him to pass through the Royal Doors during the Holy Liturgy in the temple to partake with all his family of the Holy See?
-The Royal Anointing was performed by Sofia Metropolitan Stefan (later Exarch of Bulgaria) after the death of my father in the autumn of 1943. Due to the war and grief for my father, this was done in an intimate setting in the Palace Chapel. I have vivid memories of Grandpa Stefan. After the schism was lifted and already as an elected exarch, he came home to Vrana and then I saw him for the first time in a white veil, and I was very impressed.
-You were raised as the sole heir to the throne and your training and upbringing since childhood have probably taken great care. Your father was baptized in Orthodoxy, and your mother, NV Queen John – in Roman Catholicism. Who was responsible for your Orthodox faith in the Kingdom of Bulgaria and subsequently in the Kingdom of Spain, did you have a spiritual mentor?
-As the Constitution commanded in 1943, my Guardianship was determined, as my spiritual mentor became the Metropolitan of Lovchani Filaret, and with my and my sister’s religious education was charged Father Ivan Sungarski, to whom I still have the dearest feelings. . After September 9, according to the Law of God, our hours were greatly reduced… Father Ivan together with the palace ephemeris, Father Raphael Alexiev, regularly served in our chapel. Father Raphael also celebrated the last funeral liturgy at my father’s second grave in Vrana the day before we left Bulgaria.
Later in exile, the main credit for my and my sister’s Orthodox upbringing was our mother Queen John, which to many may seem a little contradictory, because she was a devout Catholic, but we insisted on strict observance of Orthodox traditions, holidays and customs. Back in Egypt we were visited by the late Metropolitan Andrew of New York, with whom I had many meetings, conversations and correspondence over the years. But I did not have a spiritual mentor in the literal sense of the word in exile. In 1955 I had a meeting in Vienna, which, as you can imagine, was held in complete secrecy, with the blessed Bulgarian Patriarch Kirill, who had come for treatment in the Austrian capital. For both of us, the meeting was surreal… Later, in 1961, I wrote him a long letter asking him for his blessing on my marriage, setting out Pope John XXIII’s position on my marriage to a Catholic. I must admit, with great gratitude to the memory of both, that both the patriarch and the pope approached the subject with paternal care and tact.
– Do you have a memory of meetings with other famous clergymen, for example with St. Seraphim the Wonderworker of Sofia, who in 1939 published his book on the Orthodox monarchy?
– At that time there was no large Orthodox community in Madrid, as it is now. Initially, we worshiped in an apartment, where a modest chapel was built. Subsequently, over the years, I have had the opportunity to speak with dozens of Orthodox hierarchs, both of the Russian Church Abroad, which I remember for their spiritual rigor, and of the heads and hierarchs of the local Churches. In 1965, the Queen and I embarked on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Holy Land, where I visited Patriarch Benedict of Jerusalem, with whom we remained well acquainted and later had the opportunity to see each other again. In the same year, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of my coming of age, representatives of the Bulgarian emigration from all over the world gathered in Madrid. Then Bishop Parthenius of Lefkada, whose demeanor and deep spirituality I will never forget, baptized my two sons, Kardam and Cyril.
Unfortunately, I did not meet Saint Seraphim of Sofia in person, although I know that my father had an excellent relationship with him. After the beginning of the war, the security measures and so on, it was difficult for all of us to lead a more normal way of life, to move around Sofia. But thanks to you, I read his book, which impressed me a lot!
-You grew up far from Bulgaria, in a Catholic country, but still a monarchy. To what extent do you think the form of government influences the worldview and spiritual attitudes of a nation? Or do you think that the personality of the ruler is more important for the relationship between Church and state?
-Oh, this is a very difficult question for a definite answer. But it would be logical if the head of state is a believer and practices his faith, and gives an example in this direction, people to follow this example. But only form is not leading. As Christians, we know dozens of examples of kings who have attained holiness in their humility and faith. And our own, over 1100 years of Christian history is full of similar examples – St. Tsar Boris-Michael, St. Tsar Peter, even St. Trivelius, about whom, unfortunately, not much is known among people today. For example, the Bulgarian church community in Madrid will bear the name of St. Trivelius, which makes me especially happy.
When the time came for you to return to your homeland, the Bulgarian people welcomed you with great hopes, faith and love. There were probably people who were afraid, and others tried to benefit from it. But many expected you to return as monarch and put an end to an injustice by restoring the Tarnovo Constitution, which had been repealed illegally and by force through foreign rule. Why didn’t you take action in such a direction, such as a national referendum or convening a Grand National Assembly? In your opinion, is there a future for the monarchy in Bulgaria, when the King humbles himself to a citizen without abdicating, and what is it?
– I have answered this question many times. In my personal opinion, in those years when our democracy was still so fragile, such an attempt to return to the Tarnovo Constitution would lead to turmoil and great division of society. And I didn’t want to do that! Remember that for 50 years we were either not talked about or all sorts of lies and insults were fabricated. An example is the term “monarcho-fascism”. Which in itself is an oxymoron! And for the restoration of the monarchy today… Let’s be realistic. And look around. Has the monarchy been restored in Greece, Italy, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro? And whether there is a future for the monarchy at all – of course, but this is a serious philosophical question, which I do not undertake to answer now. Everything is in God’s hands…
-This year we celebrate 1170 years since the reign and 1115 years since the Assumption of St. Tsar Boris-Michael, the Bulgarian Baptist.
What do you think should be the role of an Orthodox Tsar today in improving the interaction between Church and State, in expanding the doctrine, in the unity of the Bulgarians in the country and abroad, regardless of the political situation? What was your role in overcoming the sad schism in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church?
-Look, in the constitutional monarchy the King does not determine the relationship between the state and the Church. This is not in his prerogatives, but undoubtedly, as I said earlier, when a head of state is a believer, it inevitably affects his decisions and a number of spheres of life in the country. The Constitution of Tarnovo is categorical that the Tsar embodies the unity of the nation in all its diversity, but he personally belongs to the Orthodox faith. And this fact did not in the least prevent the King from being the unifier of the whole nation, on the contrary. As for the painful subject of schism, I dare say that my stubborn opinion on the subject was decisive. It is not my self-esteem, much less a lack of modesty! These are the words of many who realize what the political situation was then and what courage this historic decision required. By the way, this is not the first Bulgarian schism in the twentieth century that I face. Ever since 1965, when the whole topic began with the political opposition in the Church and the intentions of some to establish a Bulgarian church abroad, and under my “blessing”, they met with my resolute resistance. I have always tried to remain faithful to the unity of the Bulgarian Church. In the same way, from my first day as Prime Minister, I continued to maintain the established canonical order and end this sad division.
-On May 2, 2015, at a solemn Holy Liturgy in Pliska on the occasion of 1150 of the Baptism of Bulgaria, the Holy Synod of the BOC announced its decision to restore the centuries-old tradition of commemorating the beginning of the Great Entrance of the King of Bulgarians in your face . However, you spoke out against this mention, probably due to the unrest in society and out of humility, so at the moment in some temples in our country it is done, and in others not. But this decision was not only out of personal respect, but rather an official confirmation from St. Synod on the Primordial Responsibility of the Royal Institution for the Unity of Church, State and People. Do you not think that this mention would be important for our future?
– Look, I did not “oppose” this decision of the Holy Synod. I obeyed. In my letter to the Holy Patriarch, I only expressed my wish that the mention of my name should not be seen as an occasion for discord. As an Orthodox Christian, I could not stand it. I asked that this commemoration be at the request of the priest concerned. Until the summer of 1946, this was the case – the King’s name was mentioned in the holy services and the decision of the Holy Synod did not create a new order or change the existing order, much less violate the republican constitution, as ridiculous voices were heard then. And I take this opportunity to thank again the Synodal Metropolitans and all the priests for their prayers and blessings, which we all need so much.
-We know that Their Majesties Tsar Ferdinand and Tsar Boris III have made great efforts for the prosperity of Bulgaria and have contributed to many glorious moments in our history, but also as monarchs are responsible for a number of strife and national catastrophes in the last century. Your Majesty, for what would you ask forgiveness from the Bulgarian people – both for your political and social activities, and as heir to the royal dynasty that ruled Bulgaria for 56 years?
I notice that in recent years a strange kind of revisionism has emerged abroad – to ask for forgiveness for decisions that were made at completely different times and in different conditions. For example, the Pope to apologize for the role of his predecessor Pope Pius XII during World War II, and other earlier events. Or Spain to apologize for the baptism of indigenous peoples in the Americas. And so on and so forth… As an Orthodox Christian, I believe that one should always be ready to ask for and give forgiveness. Sirni Zagovezni is a great example that we have in this direction! But to begin to apologize now for the decisions of other people, in other times, in other realities, especially since these decisions were hardly individual, it seems to me, to put it mildly, illogical and even hypocritical.
Unfortunately, Bulgarians often have the attitude that everything starts with us. We don’t really respect our past and that’s very sad! We are always trying to tear down and try to do everything from the beginning. Look at France – it has gone through all the political regimes. And he is proud of each of them. And this leads to the building of national self-confidence and pride. It would be very good if the content in our textbooks is complete, objective and for the purpose of such education.
-Tell us in a few words about the current activities and future ideas of the Fund for the Preservation of the Historical and Cultural Heritage “Tsar Boris and Queen Johnna” and the Royal Historical Society established at the Vrana Palace. Is the recently restored Palace Chapel already open to visitors?
-More than 10 years ago we created the Fund for Preservation of Historical Heritage “Tsar Boris and Queen John” in order to preserve the royal heritage of Bulgaria with the funds we have. After many years of total indifference, lies and propaganda, my family and I decided that it would be a pity to forget such a rich historical heritage – archives, family paintings and objects, given that they can be made available to the general public. We have taken this task to heart, trying to gather again in Bulgaria a large number of historical objects, exhibits and documents. Unfortunately, even today the period of the Third Bulgarian Kingdom continues to be neglected and subject to ignorance and even insults. That is why I consider the activity of the Fund to be extremely important! Not only as cultural-historical, but also as spiritual, because it also has its spiritual dimensions. Here, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Neophyte and the Holy Synod, the restored Palace Chapel “St. St. Tsar Boris and John the Wonderworker of Rila ”, bearing the names of the heavenly protectors of my late parents. And so the temple is now operational and open to worshipers. Holy Liturgy is often celebrated, which is especially important to me, and I am very happy that we have already had Holy Baptism several times.
-Almost all your heirs are far from Bulgaria, the only one of them is your 15-year-old grandson, His Highness Prince Simeon-Hassan, already lives and studies here. He knows Bulgarian, attends Orthodox services, takes communion – after all, you are his godfather. Probably you and his mother, Her Highness Princess Kalina, are encouraging him to love God and the homeland? Or does he already have a spiritual mentor?
My sons do not live in Bulgaria for obvious reasons – when the changes took place here in 1989, my sons already had jobs, professions, families. It would be impossible for them to leave everything and move here. And while I was prime minister, I deliberately asked them not to even come here, because of the many speculations and attacks on me – that I am restoring the monarchy and the like. So, despite the loneliness of being away from my family, I decided to take this step. Of course, if we are a functioning monarchy, it would be perfectly normal for them to live and work here. But alas, we are not.
-Your Majesty, today you are the only living Orthodox King, not only in Bulgaria but also in the world – may God grant you many more graceful years! But as Christians we learn to be prepared for the moment when we will present ourselves to the Lord, and history gives us a number of unpleasant examples of dynastic disputes. To which of your heirs would you bequeath the responsibility of the Royal Crown, albeit symbolically at the moment, but in the name of continuing our historical tradition of over 13 centuries?
-This is a good question and I’m glad you’re asking me. Especially since I have already encountered speculation on the subject. As is well known, in Europe monarchies are inherited “vertically” – from a parent to a child, “straight descending male line”, as provided by our basic law – the Tarnovo Constitution. Outside of Europe, for example in Saudi Arabia, inheritance is “horizontal” – from brother to brother and so on until this line is exhausted. For us, the question is clear – the eldest son becomes heir to the throne. In this case today, to our great sorrow, my eldest son is gone, so his eldest son is next in line to inherit. But since we are not a monarchy today, one day my grandson Prince Boris Tarnovski will bear the title of Guardian of the Crown. The case is similar in Romania. So I decided after many lengthy discussions and reflections.
Huge thanks, Your Majesty, for your time and for your prayerful intercession before God for the Bulgarian people! Finally – your message to the Bulgarians in the days of the Resurrection of Christ.
Above all, I wish my compatriots and the whole world the peace so necessary for all of us in these difficult days! Along with that – to rejoice and celebrate this brightest day – the day of Christ’s Resurrection!
Photo: Simeon Saxe-Coburg for the first time indicated his choice of heir to the throne – the young Prince Boris (right)