His holiness Neophyte, patriarch of Bulgaria and metropolitan bishop of Sofia

The holy name of His Holiness Neophyte is Simeon Nikolov Dimitrov. Born October 15, 1945 in Sofia. After completing his primary education in the autumn of 1959, he was admitted as a student at the Sofia Seminary at the Cherepish Station, which he graduated in 1965.

In September 1967 he became a student at the Theological Academy St. Kliment Ohridski in Sofia, which he graduated in 1971.

In the autumn of 1971 until 1973 he specialized in the Church singing department of the Moscow theological academy. In 01.09.1973 he was appointed as lecturer at the East-Church singing and conductor of the Student Choir at the Theological Academy St. Kliment Ohridski in Sofia.

On 03.08.1975 in the Trojan holy monastery he was tonsured with the name Neophyte by the Bulgarian patriarch Maxim under the spiritual seniority of the then igumen archimandrite Gelasius (ex-New York metropolitan bishop). On 15.08 patriarch Maxim ordains him with the hierodeacon title and after that on 25.03.1976 in the temple St. Nedelya in the capital makes him a hieromonk.

On 30.09.1975 took the position as conductor in the Sofia priestly choir. On 15.07.1977 he became a senior lecturer on Eastern-Church singing and liturgy practice at the Theological Academy in Sofia, where remained until the end of the 1980.

During the church service on 21.11.1977 in the St. Nedelya temple in the capital he was ordained archimandrite by the Bulgarian patriarch Maxim. Since 01.01.1981 until December 1985 archimandrite Nophyte is a protosyncellus of the Sofia metropolitan bishop. As such he was appointed bishop with the title Levkiyski and was made second vicar of the metropolitan bishop of Sofia.

On 01.12.1989 bishop Neophyte became rector of the Theological academy St. Kliment Ohridski in Sofia and on 26.07.1991 he was chosen as first deacon of the restored faculty of Theology at the Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski. He held the post until January 1992.

On 27.01.1992 he was appointed chief secretary of the synod and chairman of the church board of trustees at the St. Alexander Nevski.

On 27.03.1994 he’s elected as metropolitan bishop of Dorostol and Cherven and canonically established later on 03.04.1994. With a decision by the Fifth church people’s assembly the Dorostolian-Cherven eparchy was divided into Rousse and Dorostolian eparchies and Neophyte’s title was Rousse metropolitan bishop and vicar of the restored Dorostolian metropolitan bishop’s throne.

On 02.12.2008. Rousse metropolitan bishop Neophyte receives the title Doctor Honoris Causa of the Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski. The title was given for contribution to the development of spirituality in the Sofia University and its active participation in the restoration of the Faculty of Theology.

On 22.06.2010 his holiness metropolitan bishop Neophyte was honored with the St. Cyril and Methodius order by the president of Bulgaria for his significant contributions to the development of the Theological Academy St. Kliment Ohridski, for his contribution to the development of scientific-religious relations and relations between Eastern and Western Christians and his 65th anniversary.

On 24 February 2013 during the Patriarchal electoral council in Sofia Neophyte was elected Bulgarian Patriarch and Sofia metropolitan bishop. He continued to be a temporary vicar of the Rousse throne until the moment of the canonical election of the new metropolitan bishop of Rousse, Naum which was held in the synodic Chapel St. King Boris on 23.03.2014

The inauguration of His Holiness Neophyte as Patriarch of Bulgaria was carried out on the same day as his election (24.02.2013) in the afternoon at the St. Alexander Nevsky cathedral.

Neophyt’s first service as metropolitan bishop of Sofia was on 10th march 2013 in the St. Nedelya temple in concelebration with bishops and clergy