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Europejskiego Trybunału Praw Człowieka
z dnia 5 lipca 2011 r.






Applications nos. 40047/04 et al.

by Raina PANTUSHEVA and Others

against Bulgaria

The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 5 July 2011 as a Chamber composed of:

Nicolas Bratza, President,

Lech Garlicki,

Ljiljana Mijović,

Sverre Erik Jebens,

Päivi Hirvelä,

Ledi Bianku,

Zdravka Kalaydjieva, judges,

and Lawrence Early, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the applications listed in the appendix,

Having regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government and the observations in reply submitted by the applicants,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

Uzasadnienie faktyczne



1. The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.

2. The thirty-four applications under examination were introduced by eight hundred and fifteen Bulgarian nationals. The names of all applicants, the application numbers and all dates of introduction are listed in the appendix to this decision.

3. Most applications were introduced on 1 November 2004. The complaints in application no. 3713/05, Barakov and Others and in application no. 25729/09, Assenova and Others, were introduced on 22 December 2004 (the latter application having eventually received a 2009 number for purely technical reasons). Application no. 2044/05, submitted by Mr Mihail Kmetov and 174 other applicants was introduced on 11 January 2005. The application of Mr Stoyan Sarnov (no. 38332/05) was introduced on 6 October 2005 and the application of Mr Georgi Shopov (no. 14973/08) was introduced on 27 February 2008.

4. Eight hundred and thirteen applicants were represented by Mr L. Popov, a lawyer practising in Sofia. Mr D. Karnalov (application no. 40187/04) was represented by Mr M. Neykov, a lawyer practising in Plovdiv. Another applicant, Mr Y. Stoykov (application no. 2176/05), was represented by Mr M. Ekimdjiev, a lawyer practising in Plovdiv.

5. The Bulgarian Government ("the Government") were represented by their Agents, Ms N. Nikolova and Ms M. Dimova, of the Ministry of Justice.

6. The applicants are Christian Orthodox believers who regularly attend church services and participate in the life of their religious community. Most of them are lay believers. Others used to be or still are members of the clergy of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church ("the Church") or staff employed by various bodies of the Church (see the list of applicants). Some of the applicants were members of or presided over local church councils which, according to the Statute of the Church, govern local temples.

7. The applicants complain in their personal capacity with the exception of Mr Y. Stoykov (formerly Bishop Danail) who submitted that his complaints also concerned the Plovdiv Eparchy which he administered until the impugned events and Mr D. Karnalov, a former priest, who also stated that he represented the Plovdiv Eparchy.

8. Since the beginning of the democratic changes in Bulgaria after the fall of communism the Church was divided, with two groups of leaders claiming legitimacy and seeking to unite the believers under their leadership.

9. All applicants supported the "alternative leadership", presided over by Patriarch Pimen until his death in 1999 and thereafter by Metropolitan Inokentiy, and did not accept the leadership of Patriarch Maxim.

10. Following the adoption of the Religious Denominations Act 2002, which entered into force on 1 January 2003, the activities of the "alternative leadership" presided over by Metropolitan Inokentiy were suppressed and the Church was forcibly united under the control of Patriarch Maxim. In a massive police operation ordered by the Chief Public Prosecutor and carried out on 21 July 2004, clergy, staff and believers supporting the alternative leadership were evicted from all churches, monasteries and administrative premises that they controlled. Clergy and staff loyal to Patriarch Maxim took possession of these properties and of documents and archives. Some of the applicants were present and were physically evicted.

11. Some of the ousted religious ministers or representatives of local church councils sought the assistance of the prosecuting authorities against the forceful evictions or appealed against local prosecutors' decisions whereby the police operation of 21 July 2004 had been ordered. Their complaints were rejected by prosecutors' decisions of August and September 2004 and, in some cases, of January and March 2005. The latest decisions submitted by the applicants were dated 24 March 2005 and concerned solely the applicants Mr S. Ivanov, Mr P. Grudev, Mr H. Damyanov, Mr I. Anguelov and Mr L. Dimitrov.

12. The complaints were rejected essentially on the basis of the prosecutors' findings that following the adoption of the Religious Denominations Act 2002 the sole legitimate leadership of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church was that presided over by Patriarch Maxim and that it had been necessary therefore to assist that leadership to regain possession of buildings occupied by persons who belonged to the illegitimate alternative Synod.

13. The complaints were rejected in all cases in which some of the applicants were involved, including complaints submitted by persons lawfully registered as representatives of temples, which had separate legal personality according to the Statute of the Church, or by persons presiding over parishes or eparchies by virtue of appointments made in accordance with the Statute of the Church, in some cases even before the beginning of the conflict within the Christian Orthodox community.

14. These events are described in detail in the Court's judgment in the case of Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church (Metropolitan Inokentiy) and Others v. Bulgaria, nos. 412/03 and 35677/04, 22 January 2009).

15. In the years after 2004 a number of priests and other ministers, including some of the applicants, made statements of repentance for having supported the "alternative Synod" in order to be allowed to resume service as Church ministers. It appears, however, that none of the applicants who used to be clergy or staff of the Church was ever allowed by the Church to take up the same duties again.


16. A summary of the relevant domestic law and practice can be found in the Court's above-cited judgment.



17. The applicants complained, relying on Articles 9 and 13 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 that they had been the victims of an unlawful and arbitrary State interference in the internal affairs of the Church, that they had been deprived of property and that they did not have effective remedies. Some of the applicants also complained under Article 6 of the Convention that they had been deprived of access to court in relation to the actions of the prosecuting authorities.

Uzasadnienie prawne



18. In July and October 2010 and April 2011 the heirs of seven applicants who passed away after the introduction of their applications - Mr E. Iliev (application no. 40176/04), Mr G. Galev (application no. 40212/04), Mr B. Bogoev (application no. 40215/04), Mr P. Dambov, Mr M. Malinov and Mr N. Zagorchin (application no. 25729/09, Assenova and Others) and Mr K. Barakov (application no. 40235/04) informed the Court that they wished to pursue the complaints.

19. It has not been disputed that those heirs are entitled to pursue the applications on the deceased applicants' behalf and the Court sees no reason to hold otherwise (see, for example, Kozimor v. Poland, no. 10816/02, §§ 25-29, 12 April 2007). For reasons of convenience, the text of this decision will continue to refer to the above mentioned deceased persons as "the applicants", although their heirs are today to be regarded as having this status. The Court further finds unsubstantiated the Government's statement that some of the remaining applicants may have died without their heirs expressing the wish to pursue their applications.

20. The Court further notes that two of the applicants, Mr Y. Stoykov and Mr D. Karnalov, alleged, independently of each other, that their complaints were submitted both in their individual capacity and as representatives of the Plovdiv Eparchy. Mr Stoykov (formerly Bishop Danail) stated that he used to administer that Eparchy prior to the events at issue. Mr Karnalov, who was a priest but submitted that he also carried the title of bishop, did not clarify why he should be seen as representing the same Eparchy, apart from stating that he had had some "administrative functions".

21. The Court observes that neither Mr Stoykov nor Mr Karnalov have distinguished in any way between claims made in an individual capacity and claims made on behalf of the Eparchy but have, indeed, only stated facts and arguments which relate to their rights as individual applicants. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that their claims for just satisfaction concern only their individual position, not the Plovdiv Eparchy. In these circumstances, the Court finds that it is not necessary to treat the Plovdiv Eparchy as a separate applicant.


22. In accordance with Rule 42 § 1 of the Rules of Court, the Court finds it appropriate to join the applications, given their similar factual and legal background.


23. The applicants complained that, in violation of Article 9 of the Convention, they had been the victims of an unlawful and arbitrary State interference in the internal affairs of the religious community in whose life they participated. Article 9 reads as follows:

"1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

2. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."

A. The six months' time-limit

1. The parties' submissions

24. The Government invited the Court to reject the complaints of Mr Stoyan Sarnov (application no. 38332/05) and Mr Georgi Shopov (application no. 14973/08), as having been submitted outside the six months' time-limit under Article 35 § 1 of the Convention.

25. In the same vein, apparently referring to the fact that the Court had given a 2009 registration number to the complaints of the applicants in Assenova and Others, no. 25729/09, the Government stated that the issues under examination did not constitute a continuing situation and that the Court should not continue to accept additional applications related to the same events.

26. The applicants replied that even today they continued to suffer the consequences of the State action complained of.

2. The Court's assessment

27. The six-month rule stipulated in Article 35 § 1 is intended to promote security of the law and to ensure that cases raising issues under the Convention are dealt with within a reasonable time. It protects the authorities and other persons concerned from uncertainty for a prolonged period of time. In assessing whether an applicant has complied with Article 35 § 1, it is important to recall that the requirements contained in that Article concerning the exhaustion of domestic remedies and the six–month period are closely interrelated. Thus, where no effective remedy is available to an applicant the time-limit expires six months after the date of the acts or measures about which he complains, or after the date of knowledge of that act or its effect or prejudice on the applicant (see Kolu v. Finland (dec.), no. 56463/10, 3 May 2011, with further references).

28. Nonetheless the six month time-limit does not apply as such to continuing situations (see, for example, Agrotexim Hellas S.A. and Others v. Greece, no. 14807/89; and Cone v. Romania, no. 35935/02, § 22, 24 June 2008). This is because, if there is a situation of ongoing breach, the time–limit in effect starts afresh each day and it is only once the situation ceases that the final period of six months will run to its end (see, Varnava and Others v. Turkey [GC], nos. 16064/90 et al., §§ 158 and 159, ECHR 2009–...).

29. In the present case the applicants, like the six individual applicants in Holy Synod and Others (cited above), considered that they did not have effective remedies at their disposal.

30. With two exceptions, the applicants in the present case, including those in Assenova and Others, no. 25729/09, whose complaints were registered under a 2009 number for purely technical reasons, introduced their applications on dates between 1 November 2004 and 11 January 2005, less than six months after the events of 21 July 2004 (see paragraphs 2 and 3 above and the appended list of applicants). This was also the case of the six individual applicants in Holy Synod and Others whose complaints had been lodged in time and were examined on the merits (see, in particular §§ 3 and 7 and the operative provisions of that judgment).

31. An issue arises, however, as regards the complaints of two of the applicants, Mr Sarnov and Mr Shopov. They introduced their applications on 6 October 2005 and 27 February 2008 respectively. Even if account is taken of the dates of the most recent domestic decisions submitted to the Court, the prosecutors' decisions dated 24 March 2005 whereby the complaints of other applicants were dismissed (see paragraph 14 above), the applications of Mr Sarnov and Mr Shopov would still appear to be out of time.

32. On the understanding that the applicants did not have to have recourse to domestic remedies (see Holy Synod and Others v. Bulgaria (dec.), nos. 412/03 and 35677/04, 22 May 2007), the Court must determine whether Mr Sarnov's and Mr Shopov's complaints concern an on-going breach of the Convention and have thus been submitted in time, or whether they concern an act or situation which ended more than six months before the date of introduction of their applications.

33. The applicants complained that they had been the victims of an unlawful and arbitrary State interference in the internal affairs of the Church as a result of the operation of the Religious Denominations Act 2002, its implementation in general and the events of July 2004 in particular. Since both Mr Sarnov and Mr Shopov were parish priests and Mr Sarnov presided over the local church council, they also complained that those events resulted in deprivation of property and denial of access to a court. They have not referred to any relevant events occurring after the summer of 2004 and, indeed, do not seem to allege that the State continued to intervene in the internal affairs of the Church after that period.

34. In its case-law the Court has considered that there were "continuing situations" bringing the case within its competence with regard to Article 35 § 1 where, inter alia, there were successive relevant events which continued at the time of introduction of the application or ended less than six months before that (see, for example, Bayram and Yıldırım v. Turkey (dec.), no. 38587/97, decision of 29 January 2002, ECHR 2002 III; and Vladimirova and Others v. Bulgaria, no. 42617/02, 26 February 2009) or where a legal provision gave rise to a permanent state of affairs in the form of a permanent limitation on an individual Convention-protected right, such as the right to vote or to stand for elections (see Paksas v. Lithuania [GC], no. 34932/04, § 83, 6 January 2011, with further references).

35. It is clear from the facts established in Holy Synod and Others (cited above) and in this case that the State intervention in the internal organisation of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and, consequently, the interference with the applicants' Article 9 rights, began with the adoption of the Religious Denominations Act 2002, in force since 1 January 2003, and culminated in the events of July 2004. Unlike the situation that obtained in Paksas (cited above), the 2002 Act did not provide for a permanent limitation on the applicants' rights. The adoption of the Act was a part of, and served as the legal basis for, one-off State action to force an end to the divisions within the Christian Orthodox community in Bulgaria (see, Holy Synod and Others cited above). Following the rejection, in the months after July 2004, of the complaints and actions filed by the central leadership of the "alternative Synod" or by local leaders, there were no new relevant events. In the summer of 2004 the forced unification of the Church was completed and the applicants have not alleged that the authorities continued to intervene in the affairs of the Church after that.

36. It is true that Mr Sarnov and Mr Shopov complained that the State intervention had caused them to lose their livelihood as parish priests and referred to enduring transformations in the Christian Orthodox community in Bulgaria, the results of which persist to the present day. The Court does not consider, however, that this is sufficient for a finding that there has been a continuous situation. There is clearly a difference between, on the one hand, continuing State action or inaction in breach of Convention rights or enduring legal effects thereof, and, on the other hand, the continuing presence of facts that were the consequence of past actions.

37. It is also true that the Court stated in Holy Synod and Others that the Religious Denominations Act 2002 continued to be the source of legal uncertainty (see § 157 of the judgment on the merits of 22 January 2009 in that case). The Court indicated to the respondent Government, in the context of Articles 41 and 46 of the Convention, that compliance with its judgment required an appropriate legislative amendment (see §§ 47-50 of the judgment on just satisfaction of 16 September 2010 in the above-mentioned case). The fact that such measures are necessary does not mean, however, that the legal deficiencies in question amount as such to a continuing violation of the rights of persons in the applicants' position. As noted above, the applicants have not argued that the Bulgarian authorities continued to interfere in the internal organisation of the Church after the summer of 2004 or that the deficient provisions of the 2002 Act were used again, as in 2004, for any such interference.

38. In these circumstances, noting that Mr Sarnov and Mr Shopov introduced their complaints more than six months after the events complained of, the Court finds that they must be rejected as time-barred, in accordance with Article 35 §§ 1 and 4.

39. As regards the remaining eight hundred and thirteen applicants, the Court finds that their applications were introduced in time and rejects the Government's objection.

B. The Court's decision concerning the complaints of eight hundred and thirteen applicants under Article 9

1. The parties' submissions

(a) The Government

40. The Government submitted that the applicants could not claim to be victims of violations of Article 9. That was so in respect of both aspects of their complaints: the alleged State intervention in the leadership dispute in the Church and the events of July 2004. In particular, none of the applicants had ever been prevented from manifesting their religion, practising it or associating with others to that end. The events of July 2004 did not affect directly the right to freedom of religion of the applicants whether as believers or staff employed by parishes. In so far as the religious leaders were concerned, the Court had already found a violation of Article 9 in their regard. That was sufficient. It could not be considered that every believer should be able to claim a violation of his or her rights in relation to the choice of leader of their religious community. A distinction must be drawn between the Patriarch, whose election was regulated by canon law, and the priests in local parishes, who were appointed by the Church hierarchy. Similarly, local church councils were collective bodies and had a limited term of office.

41. Commenting on the facts of the case, the Government took the position that the Court had erred in its judgment in the case of Holy Synod and Others v. Bulgaria (cited above). They explained in detail their view that Patriarch Maxim was the canonical head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church as confirmed, notably, by the Pan-Orthodox Council held in 1998, and that, contrary to what the Court found in that judgment, the Bulgarian authorities had not interfered with the autonomous organisation of the Church but had only recognised the legitimacy of its canonical Patriarch and its canonical unity.

42. The Government went on to explain that contrary to the Court's findings in Holy Synod and Others the prosecuting authorities and the police had acted lawfully in July 2004. The Church and not the State had decided to appoint other priests in a number of churches and those who had resisted the Church decisions had to be removed. The prosecuting authorities had been under a duty to react to the applicants' unlawful conduct and restore legality. The prosecutors had identified the lawful representatives of the Church on the basis of the law, canon law and the decision of the Constitutional Court rejecting the request to declare unconstitutional relevant amendments to the Religious Denominations Act.

43. The Government further stated that many of the applicants who were priests or ministers had in the meantime made statements of repentance and had accepted the leadership of Patriarch Maxim.

(b) The applicants

44. The applicants submitted that the issue of victim status was settled by the Court in the Holy Synod and Others judgment (cited above) and its case-law in general. Being members of the Church presided over by the "alternative Synod", the applicants were victims of the State interference complained of. As a result of that State action the "alternative Synod" could not continue any meaningful existence. Those applicants who were employees or clergy instantly lost their livelihood and suffered most, including in terms of pecuniary damage. All applicants, however, were victims. As already established by the Court in Holy Synod and Others (cited above), the believers adhering to the alternative Synod and wishing to practise their religion were unlawfully forced, through legislative intervention and a sweeping police action, to worship under the clergy and leadership imposed on them by the Bulgarian Government. The applicants witnessed their clergy and fellow church goers being removed from temples by the police. The Court had held in Hasan and Chaush v. Bulgaria ([GC], no. 30985/96, ECHR 2000–XI) that the personality of religious ministers is undoubtedly of importance to every member of the religious community and that arbitrary State intervention in a leadership dispute within a religious community encroaches on believers' Article 9 rights.

45. As to the Government's position that the authorities had done nothing more than enforce canon law, the applicants stated that this was in fact an admission of a State interference with religious freedoms. It was certainly not the role of the Government to enforce canon law against those deemed not to abide by it. The Government's lengthy explanations on the correct reading of canon law were erroneous but above all irrelevant as this case concerned State interference with religious freedoms, not canonical legitimacy of religious leaders. Having regard to Bulgaria's history, upholding the right to religious freedom by the Court was essential.

46. The applicants stated that the possibility for clergy adhering to the alternative Synod to resume their religious duties by making a forced statement of repentance and accepting to serve under the leadership of Patriarch Maxim was not an answer to their complaints which concerned State intervention with the organisation of the religious community, not the actions of Patriarch Maxim.

47. The applicants further stated that the content of the Government's observations demonstrated that they refused to accept the Court's findings in Holy Synod and Others and, moreover, continued their policy of discriminating against those adhering to the "alternative Synod". The applicants invited the Court to hold the respondent Government accountable for their actions.

48. Mr Yordan Stoykov (formerly Bishop Danail) stated that the complaints submitted by him under Article 9 of the Convention as an individual and representative of the Plovdiv Eparchy, which he administered until the impugned events, were identical to those examined by the Court in Holy Synod and Others (cited above) and that the Court therefore should find a violation in his case.

2. The Court's assessment

49. The Court notes that the complaints under Article 9 of eight hundred and thirteen applicants in the present case are identical to those of the six individual applicants in Holy Synod and Others.

50. Indeed, in Holy Synod, for reasons of procedural efficiency, the Court selected for examination the complaints of several out of more than eight hundred individuals who filed cases in 2004 and at the beginning of 2005 in relation to the same events. That was done in order to clarify the relevant principles and deal exhaustively with the relevant issues in one main case, so as to allow for a simplified treatment of the remaining cases.

51. The above approach has often been applied by the Court in situations where a significant number of individuals have filed similar applications (see, for example, Perks and Others v. the United Kingdom, nos. 25277/94 et al., 12 October 1999, and Velikovi and Others v. Bulgaria, nos. 43278/98 et al., 15 March 2007).

52. The approach has been refined and developed further in pilot–judgment cases, which concern structural or systemic problems in the legal system of a respondent State which give rise or may give rise to similar applications (see, Broniowski v. Poland [GC], no 31443/96, ECHR 2004–V).

53. When dealing with groups of follow-up applications involving an already identified violation of the Convention, the Court has different options. It may decide to adjourn all or part of them pending the introduction of an effective domestic remedy in execution of a pilot judgment (see Broniowski, cited above, Burdov v. Russia (no. 2), no. 33509/04, ECHR 2009–... and Olaru and Others v. Moldova, nos. 476/07, 22539/05, 17911/08 and 13136/07, 28 July 2009), to continue their examination in order to secure timely relief for the individuals concerned (Rumpf v. Germany, no. 46344/06, 2 September 2010 and Vassilios Athanasiou and Others v. Greece, no. 50973/08, 21 December 2010, Velikovi and Others v. Bulgaria, cited above) or, if the conditions are present, to strike them out of the list of cases in accordance with Article 37 § 1 of the Convention (see Greens and M.T. v. the United Kingdom, nos. 60041/08 and 60054/08, ECHR 2010–... (extracts)).

54. In Greens and M.T. v. the United Kingdom (cited above), the Court indicated that, in accordance with Article 37 § 1, it would consider striking out of its list follow-up applications from prisoners challenging the voting ban imposed on them by domestic legal provisions. The ban in question had already been held to be in violation of Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 (see Hirst v. the United Kingdom (no. 2) [GC], no. 74025/01, ECHR 2005–IX). In Greens and M.T., the Court noted that, while there was a violation of Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 in respect of every prisoner in the United Kingdom otherwise entitled to vote, the continued examination of every application asserting the same violation was no longer justified. That was so, in particular, in view of the nature of that violation, the fact that no individual examination was required in order to assess appropriate redress and the fact that no financial compensation was payable in such cases.

55. The Court finds that a similar approach is warranted in the present case. Article 37 § 1 of the Convention provides, in so far as relevant:

"The Court may at any stage of the proceedings decide to strike an application out of its list of cases where the circumstances lead to the conclusion that


(c) for any other reason established by the Court, it is no longer justified to continue the examination of the application.

However, the Court shall continue the examination of the application if respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and the Protocols thereto so requires."

56. In Holy Synod and Others, the Court held that in 2003-2004 the Bulgarian authorities interfered with the internal organisation of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in an unlawful and disproportionate manner, in violation of Article 9. The Court clearly established that the events of 2003–2004 gave rise to a violation of Article 9 in respect of every active member of the affected religious community. It further declined to award damages to individual applicants in respect of this violation and decided that no individual measures, such as the requested restoration of the status quo ante, or other measures, were called for (see the principal judgment of 22 January 2009 and the judgment on just satisfaction of 16 September 2010).

57. In these circumstances, the Court considers that it has discharged its obligation under Article 19 of the Convention, "to ensure the observance of the engagements undertaken by the High Contracting Parties in the Convention and the Protocols thereto" and concludes that nothing is to be gained, nor will justice be best served, by the repetition of its findings in a lengthy series of comparable or even identical cases, at a significant burden on its own resources and with the resulting impact on its considerable caseload. In particular, such an exercise would not contribute usefully or in any meaningful way to the strengthening of human rights protection under the Convention.

58. It is true that in its just satisfaction judgment in Holy Synod and Others the Court indicated, in order to assist the respondent Government in the execution of their duty under Article 46 of the Convention to comply with its judgments, that the general measures to be taken should include such amendment to the Religious Denominations Act 2002 as to ensure that leadership conflicts in religious communities are left to be resolved by the religious community concerned and that disputes about the civil consequences of such conflicts are decided by the courts. The Court is not aware of any such amendment having already been introduced. In Greens and M.T., where the pilot-judgment procedure was applied, the Court stated that striking out follow-up applications would be considered in the event of compliance, by the United Kingdom Government, with the indication to amend the impugned legislation. The question arises whether the Court should not await compliance by the Bulgarian Government with the indication to amend the Religious Denominations Act 2002 and only proceed to strike out the present applications after that.

59. The Court notes in this respect that, unlike Greens and M.T., the violation found in Holy Synod and Others did not concern a permanent statutory ban on exercising a Convention-protected right but particular events which happened in 2003-2004 and violated Article 9 without giving rise to a continuing situation (see paragraphs 32-38 above). It is clear that, following Holy Synod and Others, amendments to the Religious Denominations Act 2002 are necessary as a general measure to prevent possible future violations of the Convention in the event of religious leadership disputes, if they occur, and not as a measure to put an end to a situation violating the rights of the applicants. Furthermore, the applicants in the present case were affected by the State action violating the Convention not because of their legal status (such as the status of serving prisoners, as in Greens and M.T.) but simply because they happened to be active members of a religious community at a time when the State interfered with its organisation. In these circumstances, the progress in the Bulgarian authorities' compliance with the Court's judgments in Holy Synod and Others in general, and the above-mentioned indications to amend the law in particular, cannot be seen as directly decisive for the approach to be taken to the examination of the Article 9 complaints in the present case. Those are issues to be dealt with by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. No particular reason relating to respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols requires the Court to continue its examination of the application under Article 37 § 1 in fine.

60. In sum, in accordance with Article 37 § 1(c) of the Convention, the Court considers it appropriate to discontinue its examination of the applicants' complaints under Article 9 and to strike this part of applications out of its list.


61. The applicants complained that they had been deprived of their possessions, did not have an effective remedy in this respect and that they had been denied access to a court.

A. The parties' submissions

1. The Government

62. The Government's position was that the applicants were not entitled to any proprietary interest in temples or buildings belonging to local parishes and the Church, that they should have filed claims with the domestic courts in respect of loss of salary or other lost income and that their claims in this respect were in any event unsubstantiated.

2. The applicants

(a) Submissions of all applicants with the exception of Mr Yordan Stoykov

63. The applicants submitted that those of them who were clergy or lay employees of the Church and had remained loyal to their convictions, refusing to submit to the arbitrary State action, had lost their livelihood, including salary, pension rights and social cover. Their rights under Article 6 and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 had been violated.

64. Referring to the Court's findings in the case of Holy Synod and Others (cited above), the applicants stated that no effective remedies were available to them in respect of the events complained of and that their rights under Articles 6 and 13 had therefore been violated. In particular, as a result of the provisions of the Religious Denominations Act 2002 and the prosecutors' orders, any theoretically available remedy had become inaccessible and illusory. The applicants added that those of them who had been employed by the Church did not have access to the courts because their employment contracts had never been terminated in law. Also, after the events of July 2004 they did not have access to relevant documents.

(b) Submissions of Mr Yordan Stoykov

65. He considered that in Holy Synod and Others (cited above) the Court had not found violations of Article 6 and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 because the six individual applicants had formulated their claims in a very specific manner. His claims were different. In particular, unlike the individual applicants in Holy Synod, Mr Stoykov did not claim rights over temples or church buildings but only that he had been deprived of his salary and that he did not have access to a court in this respect. Mr Stoykov was not an ordinary employee of the Church but a member of the clergy, holding the title of bishop. Following the events of July 2004 Mr Stoykov had been compelled by the circumstances to repent and seek to reintegrate into the Church presided over by Patriarch Maxim but had been told to assume the functions of a neophyte in a monastery - in reality, a janitor's job. This "offer" had been obviously aimed at humiliating him. Mr Stoykov had thus been deprived of his income and had left the Church. It was not possible for him to bring an action against the Church claiming a breach of labour rights since there was no clear practice demonstrating that such a claim would be successful.

B. The Court's assessment

66. For the reasons set out above, the Court rejects as time-barred the complaints under Articles 6 and 13 and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 of Mr Sarnov and Mr Shopov (applications nos. 38332/05 and 14073/08).

67. As regards the remaining applicants, the Court finds little difference between the complaints of the applicants in the present case and the complaints it rejected in its judgment in Holy Synod and Others (cited above). In that case, in paragraphs 168 and 169, the Court stated:

"The Court notes that the six individual applicants did not allege that they had a proprietary interest of any kind in the temples, office buildings or other property over which the applicant organisation had lost control as a result of the events complained of. In so far as the applicants claimed that they had suffered a loss of income, the Court notes that none of them has clarified the dates and surrounding circumstances of any termination of their functions. In so far as the applicants may be understood to be claiming that they felt unable to continue to perform their functions, and thus lost income, as a result of the fact that the State forcibly imposed on them leaders whom they did not accept as legitimate, the Court considers that this statement only concerns alleged damage resulting from the violation of Article 9 found in this case and does not disclose a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention. Furthermore, the Court finds that the assertion by the six individual applicants that they could not turn to the civil courts to seek the determination of their own civil rights and obligations is not supported by convincing arguments... [T]he complaints of the six individual applicants that the events at issue violated their rights under Article 6 of the Convention or Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 are unsubstantiated and must be rejected as unproven."

68. Similarly, in the present case, the applicants' argument that they did not have access to the domestic courts to bring actions for salaries or other income is unsubstantiated and unconvincing. There is nothing to indicate that had the applicants brought such actions, the domestic courts would have refused to deal with the merits of the dispute. This applies equally in respect of applicants who were lay staff of the Church and those who were ministers (see paragraph 20 above). As in Holy Synod and Others (cited above, § 168), the applicants' submissions under Article 6 and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 concern in reality indirect damage allegedly resulting from the violation of Article 9 rather than genuine issues of access to court or deprivation of property by the State.

69. There being no arguable claim under Article 6 or Article 1 of Protocol No. 1, no issue arises under Article 13 in conjunction with those provisions. In any event, and as regards Article 13 in conjunction with Article 9, the Court refers to its findings in Holy Synod and Others (cited above). In that case it found that, in the very special circumstances at issue, since the State action complained of had been effected through legislative provisions interpreted in the process of their implementation as directly mandating the unification of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church under Patriarch Maxim, Article 13 could not be seen as requiring the availability of a remedy to challenge at the national level the respondent State's laws (ibid., §§ 175–179). The same is true in respect of the applicants in the present case.

70. The Court thus considers that the above complaints must be rejected as being manifestly ill-founded in accordance with Article 35 § 3(a) and 4 of the Convention.


71. Rule 43 § 4 of the Rules of Court provides:

"When an application has been struck out, the costs shall be at the discretion of the Court. ..."

72. The applicants who were represented by Mr L. Popov jointly claimed EUR 11,510 for the costs and expenses incurred in the preparation of the applications and the proceedings before the Court. The sum claimed included legal fees for 126 hours of legal work and expenses made for translation, copying and office supplies. The applicants submitted invoices. Seeing that the Court rejected as time barred the complaints of two of the applicants represented by Mr L. Popov, the above mentioned claim concerns eight hundred and eleven applicants (see paragraphs 4 and 38 above).

73. Mr D. Karnalov (application no. 40187/04) claimed EUR 2,000 in legal fees. No supporting documents were submitted.

74. The remaining applicant, Mr Y. Stoykov (application no. 2176/05), claimed EUR 4,346.60 in respect of fifty-four hours of legal work on the application before the Court and EUR 215.62 in respect of translation, copying, mailing and office expenses. He requested that these amounts be payable directly into the bank account of his legal representatives, Mr M. Ekimdjiev and Mrs K. Boncheva. The applicant submitted copies of a legal fees and translation fees agreements, a time-sheet and postal receipts.

75. The Government considered that the claims were excessive and, in respect of Mr D. Karnalov, not supported by documents.

76. In so far as the complaints of eight hundred and thirteen applicants under Article 9 of the Convention are concerned, the Court decided to discontinue their examination and strike this part of the applications out of its list of cases (see paragraphs 49-60 above). With regard to this part of the case, therefore, the question of the application of Rule 43 § 4 arises.

77. The Court reiterates that the general principles governing reimbursement of costs under Rule 43 § 4 are essentially the same as under Article 41 of the Convention (see Pisano v. Italy (striking out) [GC], no. 36732/97, §§ 53-54, 24 October 2002 and Voorhuis v. the Netherlands (dec.), no. 28692/06, 3 March 2009). According to the Court's case-law, an applicant is entitled to the reimbursement of costs and expenses only in so far as it has been shown that these have been actually and necessarily incurred and were reasonable as to quantum. Furthermore, itemised particulars of any claim must be submitted, together with the relevant supporting documents or vouchers, failing which the Court may reject the claim in whole or in part (see, Kovačić and Others v. Slovenia (striking out) [GC], nos. 44574/98, 45133/98 and 48316/99, § 276, 3 October 2008).

78. In the present case, regard being had to the documents in its possession and the above criteria, the Court, noting in particular that the preparation of all individual applications must have required significant time and effort given the number of applicants involved, but also the similarity between the present case and Holy Synod and Others (cited above), considers it reasonable to award to the eight hundred and eleven applicants represented by Mr L. Popov the sum of EUR 6,000 covering costs under all heads.

79. The Court further notes that the claim made by Mr D. Karnalov was not supported by a single document and rejects it.

80. Finally, it awards EUR 800 in respect of costs under all heads to the remaining applicant, Mr Y. Stoykov, to be paid directly into the bank account of his legal representatives, Mr. M. Ekimdjiev and Mrs K. Boncheva.

81. The Court considers it appropriate that the default interest should be based on the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank, to which should be added three percentage points.



1. Decides to join the applications;

2. Decides to strike out of its list of cases the complaints under Article 9 of the Convention of all applicants, with the exception of Mr Sarnov and Mr Shopov (applications nos. 38332/05 and 14973/08);

3. Declares the remainder of the applications inadmissible;

4. Holds

(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicants the following amounts in respect of costs and expenses, to be converted into Bulgarian levs at the rate applicable at the date of settlement:

(i) EUR 6,000 (six thousand euros) to the eight hundred and eleven applicants represented by Mr L. Popov, plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicants;

(ii) EUR 800 (eight hundred euros) to Mr Y. Stoykov, to be paid directly into the bank account of his legal representatives, Mr M. Ekimdjiev and Mrs K. Boncheva, plus any tax that may be chargeable to Mr Y. Stoykov;

(b) that if settlement has not been made upon the expiry of three months from the date of notification of the decision, simple interest shall be payable on the above amounts at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points.

Lawrence Early

Nicolas Bratza




Applications introduced on 1 November 2004:

Application No

Names of applicants



1. Raina Pantusheva

2. Stanka Batalova

3. Liliana Valkova

4. Todora Kiryakova

5. Evgelina Ilcheva

6. Stanimir Ilchev

7. Ivan Ilchev

8. Todor Pichurov

9. Vesela Pichurova

10. Dimitar Pichurov

11. Petar Talev

12. Nikola Dandarov

13. Todor Radoev

14. Kostadin Radoev

15. Radoslava Mihaleva

16. Jivko Mihalev

17. Angelina Radoeva

18. Petar Andreev

19. Vaska Kasabova

20. Stanka Rusinova

21. Maria Taleva

22. Hristina Lukanova

23. Yordan Popov

24. Maria Popova

25. Hristina Teneva

26. Ivan Denchev

27. Argir Petkov

28. Maria Pepelanova

29. Liliana Apostolova

30. Boriana Lukanova

31. Georgi Belenozov

32. Lilia Belenezova

33. Margarita Dandarova

34. Maria Ilieva

35. Dimitrina Apostolova

36. Stanka Pantusheva

37. Georgi Pantushev

38. Lubka Sarakoleva

39. Nadejda Kovacheva

40. Shinka Taleva



1. Velichka Georgieva

2. Stefka Doichinova

3. Donka Taseva

4. Angelin Tasev

5. Todor Nekezov

6. Ivanka Nekezova

7. Ruska Bozukova



1. Evlogi Iliev - bishop (passed away, heirs wish to pursue the complaints)

2. Dimitar Kutzev - priest

3. Svetla Pichurova

4. Keti Mihaleva

5. Kostadin Sarakolev

6. Yanko Pichurov

7. Vladimir Dandorov



1. Velichko Kanchev - priest

2. Spas Marinov

3. Apostol Strikov

4. Liliana Koleva

5. Nadejda Dimitrova

6. Shina Milcheva-Garova

7. Dobrina Valcheva



1. Dimitar Karnalov - priest

2. Nikola Zahariev - priest

3. Dragan Draganov - priest

4. Blaga Peneva

5. Maria Kaloferova

6. Damyanka Karnalova

7. Krastyu Iliev



1. Violeta Draganova

2. Antoaneta Draganova

3. Sofia Kutzeva

4. Miroslav Kutzev

5. Nestor Kutzev

6. Vesela Miteva-Nekezova

7. Ginka Ilieva



1. Petria Petrova

2. Emil Petrov

3. Velichko Petrov

4. Velika Paskaleva

5. Mariana Simeonova

6. Atans Simeonov

7. Stoyan Kanchev



1. Angel Karpuzov

2. Slavyan Yanev

3. Pavel Popov

4. Loza Popova

5. Svetoslava Popova

6. Lybka Dyakova

7. Slave Yanev



Georgi Galev - metropolitan (passed away, heirs wish to pursue the complaints)



1. Boris Bogoev - metropolitan (passed away, heirs wish to pursue the complaints)

2. Yancho Todorov

3. Iliya Nekezov

4. Yordanka Zaharieva

5. Minko Zahariev



1. Kamen Barakov - priest (passed away, heirs wish to pursue the complaints)

2. Bojidar Maslarov - priest

3. Stefan Ivanov - priest

4. Plamen Asenov - priest

5. Lybomir Mladenov

6. Gergana Asenova - employee



Georgi Velikov - priest



1. Spas Kozarev - priest

2. Roza Kozareva

3. Yordanka Kozareva

4. Rumyana Kozareva



Georgi Iliev - priest



Dimitar Yanev - priest



1. Elka Valeva

2. Kiril Katinin

3. Boris Angushev

4. Siika Galeva



1. Magdalena Krumova

2. Dobrinka Tzekova

3. Verginia Sotirova

4. Vesilka Vodenicharova



1. Ivan Kushlev - priest

2. Proletzveta Kushleva

3. Valkan Kuhtev

4. Maya Tyaneva

5. Krum Kushlev



1. Emil Tankov

2. Galya Tankova

3. Marin Tankov

4. Georgi Mutev

5. Tonka Muteva

6. Ruen Kubatov



1. Strahil Rashkov - priest

2. Yordan Vasilev - priest

3. Djena Yordanova-Rashkova

4. Milka Kutzeva

5. Spas Paskalev

6. Ivanka Ganeva

7. Georgi Ganev



1. Lyubka Puleva

2. Ivan Galev

3. Kostadin Bozdev

4. Verka Bozdeva

5. Maria Bakalova

6. Iliya Dulev

7. Maria Ovcharova



1. Boyan Argirov - priest

2. Maria Popova

3. Penka Atanasova

4. Nedyalka Stamenova

5. Dimitar Rosenov

6. Nikola Shopov

7. Zapryana Madjarova



1. Lyubomir Papo - priest

2. Mira Petkova-Papo

3. Simeon Simeonov

4. Ivanka Savova

5. Maria Domakinova

6. Katerina Sevrieva

7. Krasimira Kupdurdjieva



1. Nikola Zahariev - priest

2. Hristo Bonev

3. Dimitar Draganov

4. Yordan Raichev

5. Rumiana Duraie

6. Milena Paunova

7. Georgi Todorov



1. Katerina Obretenova

2. Krasimir Obretenov

3. Kostadin Tashev

4. Mariika Tasheva

5. Vasil Dyulgerov

6. Vasil Duylgerov

7. Jorjeta Dyulgerova

8. Svetlana Chuchuranova

9. Margarita Veleva

10. Georgi Velev

11. Georgi Kutzev

12. Stefka Kutzeva



1. Maria Urumova

2. Vera Urumova

3. Kostadinka Mohaylova

4. Kostadin Kaninski

5. Tencho Kaninski

6. Atanas Kaninski

7. Nevena Kaninska

8. Stoyanka Boneva

9. Anka Stavreva

10. Angel Stavrev

11. Maria Raicheva

12. Nikola Raichev

13. Kolyu Mitrev

14. Milko Urumov



1. Tzvetanka Tringova - employee

2. Natalia Lashkova

3. Adriana Pobornikova

4. Teodora Pobornikova

5. Lyuben Lashkov

6. Veneta Lashkova

7. Violeta Mihaylova

8. Marin Marinov

9. Margarita Farchalova

10. Svilanka Pashova

11. Dimitar Nanov

12. Yulia Georgieva

13. Ivailo Mavrev

14. Milen Asenov

15. Stoyanka Mitova

16. Boika Asenova



1. Anton Dachev

2. Valentin Bogushev

3. Dimitar Dachev

4. Diana Bojurska

5. Nikolay Stoyanov

6. Alexander Bojurski

7. Daniela Galabova

8. Vesela Andonova

9. Georgi Todorov

10. Roza Blagoeva

11. Milka Hristova

12. Dimitar Georgiev

13. Roza Ilieva

14. Petar Pintiiski

15. Katya Petrevska

16. Maria Palahanova

17. Maria Shopalska

18. Vasilka Andonova

19. Nevena Puleva

20. Spas Vaklinov

Application introduced on 11 January 2005:

Application No

Names of applicants



1. Mihail Tihomirov Kmetov

2. Tsvetanka Angelova Kmetova

3. Stefanka Tihomirova Kmetova

4. Natasha Staikova Georgieva

5. Veneta Kirilova Vulchkova

6. Teodora Mihaylova Paounova

7. Elka Georgieva Dimitrova

8. Raicho Merkov Rangelov

9. Iskra Tselova Petkova (Vulcheva)

10. Petko Kamenov Petkov

11. Lyubomir Raichev Rangelov

12. Plamen Raichov Rangelov

13. Mariyka Todorova Rangelova

14. Hristo Kirilov Damyanov - priest

15. Mimi Ferdinandova Koleva

16. Tomi Hristov Madzharov

17. Roumen Alexandrov Sprostranov

18. Ekaterina Stoyanova Sprostranova

19. Nadezhda Dimitrova Radeva

20. Milan Lyubenov Radev

21. Kiril Kroumo Bachev - priest

22. Ivanka Todorova Bacheva

23. Kira Todorova Pougyova

24. Kostadin Alexandrov Stankov

25. Ilinka Simeonova Stankova

26. Stoyanka Georgieva Stoyanova

27. Stefan Petrov Stoyanov

28. Stefan Emilov Stoyanov

29. Stefan Petrov Stoyanov

30. Ivanka Kouzmanova Shishkova

31. Kina Vasileva Stoyanova

32. Maria Vasileva Koleva

33. Georgi Mouraveev Radev

34. Atanas Dimitrov Dinchev

35. Mariyka Ivanova Petrova

36. Yakov Georgiev Serafimov

37. Vidka Alexandrova Kableshkova

38. Todor Pavlov Pavlov

39. Harizan Iliev Botev

40. Maria Petrova Koulinova

41. Stiliyana Petrova Koulinova

42. Peter Stoitsov Koulinov

43. Katya Stefanova Koulinova

44. Todor Stefanov Paounov

45. Nadezhda Todorova Paounova

46. Lidiya Gancheva Rangelova

47. Ivan Dimitrov Rangelov

48. Magdalena Petrova Arabadzhiyska

49. Tanka Nikolova Vulkova

50. Eli Slavcheva Hristeva

51. Ivan Slavchev Lavrenov

52. Veselina Angelova Chakurova

53. Pena Velyova Popova

54. Magdalena Ivanova Stamatova

55. Donka Hristova Ivanova

56. Ivan Vasilev Dobrev

57. Ivanka Krusteva Dobreva

58. Krustinka Ivanova Yankova

59. Vasil Ivanov Dobrev

60. Elena Ivanova Zozikova

61. Ekaterina Stoyanova Lavrenova

62. Yovka Andonova Radeva

63. Tonka Petkova Vasileva

64. Petko Vasilev Vasilev

65. Vasil Todorov Vasilev

66. Anastasiya Stefanova Vasileva

67. Penka Stoyanova Vasileva

68. Bozhanka Petrova Kiryakova

69. Stoika Hristova Georgieva

70. Ivanka Petrova Georgieva

71. Penka Petrova Dishlyanova

72. Raina Dimitrova Filipova

73. Roumen Kostadinov Filipov

74. Diana Boyanova Stoeva

75. Minko Kostadinov Stoev

76. Genko Hristov Keranov

77. Boris Zapryanov Argilashki

78. Hristo Ivanov Souvandzhiev

79. Georgi Borisov Georgiev

80. Ivan Iliev Dimitrov

81. Kiril Hristov Andonov

82. Antoaneta Vasileva Kasabova

83. Nadezhda Pencheva Gouncheva

84. Grozdan Petrov Sendov

85. Raina Grozdanova Sendova

86. Peter Grozdanov Sendov

87. Mariyana Krusteva Popova

88. Rositsa Hristova Mancheva

89. Dimitar Georgiev Dimitrov

90. Todor Vulchev Chobanov

91. Elenka Vasileva Chobanova

92. Lyubka Stavreva Chobanova

93. Elena Veselinova Chobanova

94. Kalin Todorov Chobanov

95. Veselin Todorov Chobanov

96. Teodora Veselinova Chobanova

97. Kalina Georgieva Sokolova

98. Yordanka Hristeva Shturbanova

99. Shtirka Hristeva Kovacheva

100. Mariyka Dimitrova Sokolova

101. Angel Dimitrov Dikov

102. Stefka Georgieva Ilieva

103. Kostadin Enev Iliev

104. Anka Kuneva Teneva

105. Milka Petrova Ivanova

106. Atanas Genchev Ivanov

107. Desislava Andonova Ivanova

108. Danail Atanasov Ivanov

109. Diana Stefanova Georgieva

110. Krasimira Zhechkova Georgieva

111. Rousi Georgiev Rousev

112. Elena Yaneva Koleva

113. Petya Georgieva Donkova - employee

114. Liliya Blagoeva Nikolova

115. Stana Bogomilova Alexieva - employee

116. Bogdan Borisov Nikolov

117. Silviya Angelova Tsekova-Neshkova

118. Marin Petrov Neshkov

119. Peter Borislavov Neshkov

120. Alipiy Veselinov Naidenov

121. Mina Vladimirova Doundova-Toushanova

122. Zhan Petkov Toushanov

123. Trendafila Todorova Stoyanova

124. Stoyan Krustev Malinov

125. Georgi Petrov Petrov

126. Nadezhda Stoyanova Staliyanova

127. Yordanka Georgieva Stoyanchova

128. Todor Petrov Stoyanchov

129. Aneliya Todorova Stoyanchova

130. Dimitar Lyubenov Sokolov

131. Iliyana Georgieva Sokolova

132. Tsvetanka Dimitrova Stiliyanova

133. Zlatan Vasiliev Yanev

134. Vasil Mitkov Yanev

135. Todorka Vladimirova Yaneva

136. Lyubomira Vasileva Stanimirova

137. Tencho Georgiev Stoyanov

138. Lyudmila Grogorevna Stoyanova

139. Penka Georgieva Malinova

140. Lyudmila Yoanova Malinova

141. Ivan Malinov Malinov

142. Penka Zhechkova Georgieva

143. Maria Dimova Stefanova

144. Stanislav Dimitrov Stefanov

145. Mladen Ventsislavov Mladenov

146. Ivanichka Todorova Hristova

147. Yordan Ivanov Hristov

148. Ventsislav Simeonov Krustev

149. Nadezhda Petkova Simeonova

150. Galya Veselinova Ivanova

151. Ivan Yordanov Ivanov

152. Lyubka Zhelyazkova Ivanova

153. Imela Velinova Markova

154. Stoyan Georgiev Delev

155. Yaninka Dimitrova Angelinkova

156. Dobrin Veselinov Nikolov

157. Dimitar Nedev Ivanov

158. Elena Ivanova Gekova

159. Boris Kirilov Elenkov

160. Verzhiniya Borisova Staneva

161. Angelina Borisova Peleva

162. Nedka Ivanova Stefanova

163. Aneliya Kostadinova Georgieva

164. Kostadin Velikov Georgiev

165. Roumen Georgiev Veselinov

166. Venelin Georgiev Veselinov

167. Miroslav Yoakimov Pantaleev

168. Magdalena Danailova Pantaleeva

169. Pepa Tsvetanova Stankova

170. Veronika Velichkova Kovacheva

171. Spasimir Marinov Stankov

172. Krasimira Slaveikova Petrova

173. Teodora Trifonova Zhelyazkova

174. Todor Simeonov Zhelyazkov

175. Zdravko Donev Nedyalkov

Application introduced on 6 January 2005:

Application No

Names of applicants



Yordan Stoykov - bishop

Applications introduced on 22 December 2004:

Application No

Names of applicants



1. Yordan Barakov

2. Nikoleta Petrova

3. Tzvetan Simeonov

4. Yordan Krastev

5. Ludmil Mladenov

6. Mariyan Nenov

7. Ivan Ivanov



1. Nikulina Asenova

2. Antoaneta Asenova

3. Elisaveta Mladenova

4. Radoslav Mladenov

5. Ludmila Dobreva

6. Nedelcho Dobrev

7. Rumyana Kostadinova

8. Ivailo Petrov - bishop

9. Alexandar Velkov

10. Todor Nikolov

11. Boyan Delchev

12. Mladenka Vatzeva

13. Tzvetan Dimitrov

14. Milanka Dimitrova

15. Angel Kayadjiev

16. Mariana Mukareva

17. Dimitra Mukareva

18. Boika Nikolova

19. Tzvetelina Nikolova

20. Georgi Nikolov

21. Vasil Nikolov

22. Anelia Portokalska

23. Desislava Mehova

24. Alexandar Portokalski

25. Krasimira Portokalska

26. Stefan Hristov

27. Valentina Pintiiska

28. Simeon Velkov

29. Evelina Sherziiska

30. Vladimir Sherziiski

31. Rosen Sherziiski

32. Daniela Ivanova

33. Anton Pupev

34. Mariana Kashaikova

35. Velka Kalenderska

36. Rosen Kalenderski

37. Verka Portokalska

38. Biser Portokalski

39. Nasko Davidkov

40. Rumen Ivanov

41. Roza Drenovska

42. Radka Tzvetkova

43. Lubima Petrova

44. Sedefka Tzvetkova

45. Elka Umlenova

46. Vladimir Dimitrov

47. Spasuna Hristova

48. Georgi Mirchev

49. Iliana Mircheva

50. Blagoveska Palahanova

51. Nikolay Stoyanov

52. Ivanka Stoyanova

53. Slavenka Georgieva

54. Svilen Palahanov

55. Kapka Bagasheva

56. Spas Georgiev

57. Kameliya Stoicheva

58. Gancho Stoichev

59. Stefan Stoichev

60. Danka Stoicheva

61. Dimitar Stoichev

62. Alexandar Iliev

63. Lilyana Ilieva

64. Sevda Borisova

65. Svetoslav Borisov

66. Zapryanka Shlukarska

67. Slavcho Shlukarski

68. Nikola Zagorchin - priest (passed away, heirs wish to pursue the complaints)

69. Zorka Kolchagova

70. Lazar Kolchagov

71. Dimitar Zagrochin

72. Ana Zagorchina

73. Ivanka Kamberova

74. Kostadin Zagorchin

75. Filip Belejkov - priest

76. Stefka Zagorchina - employee

77. Ivan Angelov - priest

78. Stefan Ovcharov - priest

79. Konstantin Kostov - deacon

80. Vasilka Kostova

81. Nedyalka Ovcharova

82. Ekaterina Ovcharova

83. Grigor Karastoyanov

84. Kapka Angelova

85. Krasimir Dzakov

86. Asya Angelova

87. Todor Kalchev

88. Mariyana Boborachka

89. Kalinka Manolova

90. Milka Kutzarova

91. Georgi Gorganov

92. Elena Kirova

93. Ivan Kirov

94. Rumen Mitrov

95. Ganka Radeva

96. Vasil Petrov

97. Yordanka Minkova

98. Krasimir Parteniev

99. Stoyan Petkov

100. Dimcho Enchev

101. Dimitar Enchev

102. Yoana Georgieva

103. Galina Georgieva

104. Rumen Rusev

105. Nadya Mihailova

106. Yulia Toshkova

107. Mariika Ivanova

108. Nedyalko Dimitrov - priest

109. Stoyan Toshkov

110. Marchela Dimitrova

111. Rozalia Biks

112. Nevena Dyakova-Chavdarova

113. Kostadin Tonkov

114. Vera Dimitrova

115. Stefan Ivanov - priest

116. Lilyana Shtereva

117. Jivko Jivkov

118. Slavcho Panov

119. Tzvetanka Kurkchiiska

120. Krasimir Kukrchiiski

121. Dragomir Kurkchiiski

122. Kunka Pancheva

123. Yordan Panchev

124. Zaptyan Pisanov - priest

125. Yoan Madjurov - priest

126. Todor Todorov

127. Stanislava Staneva

128. Boryana Stoimenova

129. Veneta Metodieva

130. Ivailo Nikolov

131. Kristina Shukova

132. Stanka Baltova

133. Asen Antonov

134. Dilyana Nakova

135. Dimitar Shukov

136. Varban Shukov

137. Anton Koshtrov

138. Nadejda Mitreva

139. Preslavka Velichkova

140. Evgeni Peichev

141. Vladimir Peichev

142. Velichka Georgieva

143. Ivanka Popova

144. Petra Staneva

145. Vasilka Georgieva

146. Nina Trifonova

147. Elena Krasteva

148. Milka Ivanova

149. Elena Yovcheva

150. Radka Bojikova

151. Natasha Vazleva

152. Stefka Ivanova

153. Dimitar Ivanov

154. Dimitar Vazlev

155. Elena Vazleva

156. Margarita Manolova

157. Veneta Hriskova

158. Ana Malinova

159. Stoyan Malinov - employee

160. Marko Dimitrov

161. Verjiniya Shkodreva

162. Evgeni Shkodrev

163. Nadejda Malinova-Dimitrova

164. Anna Furnadjieva

165. Detelina Koleva

166. Nikolay Kolev

167. Traiko Kolev

168. Boiko Kolev

169. Desislava Stoimenova

170. Alexandra Stoimenova

171. Ana Blagoeva

172. Ivan Todorov - priest

173. Kadefia Paskaleva

174. Kiril Paskalev

175. Zdravka Marinova

176. Anastasia Buchinska

177. Radka Georgieva

178. Ivan Hadjiev

179. Zapryan Pisanov

180. Atanaska Pisanova

181. Yanka Ignatova

182. Ignat Ignatov

183. Dimitar Pisanov

184. Gergana Tonkova

185. Georgi Tonkov

186. Stefka Shopova

187. Slavcho Shopov

188. Stanimir Lazarov

189. Margarita Ivanova

190. Sonya Papadopulu

191. Konstantinos Papadopolus

192. Violetka Bonova

193. Ekaterina Marinova

194. Hristo Dimitrov

195. Valentina Dimitrova

196. Martin Dimitrov

197. Violeta Dimitrova

198. Valentin Andonov

199. Luben Dimitrov - priest

200. Metodi Spasov

201. Kiril Papadopolus

202. Stoyanka Nedelcheva

203. Velko Nedelchev

204. Violin Nedelchev

205. Irena Nedelcheva

206. Darinka Milanova

207. Stefka Stefanova

208. Antoaneta Bundjulova

209. Mariika Petrova

210. Evridika Tzenkova

211. Stefan Petrov

212. Mariyana Dimitrova

213. Nadejda Kurteva

214. Luba Atanasova

215. Slavcho Shterev

216. Kiril Dankov

217. Temenujka Dimitrova

218. Tzvetanka Stefanova

219. Stoyanka Alexandrova

220. Veneta Metodieva-Krastanova

221. Petar Boyadjiev

222. Elena Nanevska

223. Nonka Stamenova

224. Svetla Grozdanova

225. Tzvetan Grozdanov

226. Lubomir Grozdanov

227. Vasil Ivanov

228. Dimitar Dimitrov

229. Katina Ivanova

230. Gurgiya Nanevska

231. Elenka Petrova

232. Elena Gurkova

233. Anastasiya Stoilova

234. Ludmila Jejova

235. Todor Jejov

236. Georgi Georgiev

237. Nevena Mihalkova

238. Stoino Pitkov - employee

239. Toma Pitkov

240. Hristo Karagitliev - employee

241. Ivan Nenov

242. Margarita Pitkova

243. Zorka Dimitrova

244. Ivailo Dimitrov

245. Neiko Georgiev

246. Andrei Georgiev

247. Goritza Georgieva

248. Todorka Petrova

249. Elena Hristova

250. Emilia Nacheva

251. Stoyan Nachev

252. Milen Stankov

253. Mitko Velikov

254. Kaloyan Stankov

255. Ivan Kovachev - priest

256. Tzvetislava Stankova

257. Detelin Ivanov

258. Stoika Hristova

259. Lyudmila Tencheva

260. Magdalina Ivanova - employee

261. Malin Malinov - priest (passed away, heirs wish to pursue the complaints)

262. Kler Zeeva

263. Vishnya Malinova - employee

264. Maria Florova - employee

265. Lyudmila Dekova

266. Nikolay Ninov - deacon

267. Yordan Topalov - employee

268. Slavka Topalova

269. Radka Encheva

270. Mariika Nikolova

271. Ekaterina Jabinska-Nikolova

272. Todor Nikolov

273. Anna Nikolova-Kostova

274. Yordan Marchev

275. Vera Boyukova

276. Milena Petkova

277. Milcho Milanov

278. Lilyana Milanova

279. Emil Milanov

280. Boika Georgieva

281. Tzvetanka Stoyanova

282. Gergana Georgieva

283. Antoaneta Stoyanova

284. Velichka Nikolova

285. Bogdan Nikolov

286. Boris Nikolov

287. Lyubomir Londrev

288. Maria Latinova

289. Simeon Dachev

290. Yordan Dachev

291. Gergana Dacheva

292. Georgi Ivanov - priest

293. Stanislava Ivanova

294. Spas Stoilov

295. Boyan Vasilev

296. Bogomilka Stoilova

297. Elizaveta Vasileva

298. Todorka georgieva

299. Maria Vasileva

300. Irina Georgieva

301. Magdalina Dincheva

302. Lilyana Tzvetkova

303. Tihomir Chogolyanski

304. Yavor Antonov

305. Alexander Stoilov

306. Spaska Stoilova

307. Bilyana Vasileva

308. Svilen Tepavicharov

309. Zorka Stoeva

310. Milka Ivanova

311. Tanya Argilashka

312. Todorka Lesova

313. Elenka Georgieva

314. Bonka Toneva

315. Olga Obletova

316. Nikolai Dudin

317. Vasil Vasilev

318. Yordan Lesov - priest

319. Olimpi Dimitrov

320. Nikolitza Svilenova

321. Mariika Hristova

322. Diana Koseva

323. Irena Veneva

324. Ivan Andonov

325. Stefan Yordanov

326. Margarita Nikolova

327. Stoyan Patarov

328. Milka Patarova

329. Lyubomir Petzanov - monk

330. Mila Petkova

331. Angel Patarov

332. Lilyana Dobreva

333. Stoyan Chuchev

334. Nikola Daskalov

335. Plamen Kostov

336. Yordanka Ribarova

337. Milena Tzankova

338. Valentin Gadjev - priest

339. Angel Gateshki - monk

340. Ilianna Georgieva

341. Kostadin Georgiev

342. Tzveta Georgieva

343. Dimitrina Maslarova

344. Petar Maslarov

345. Diana Galabova

346. Lyubomir Maslarov

347. Maria Kostadinova

348. Ivanka Galabova

349. Konstantin Galabov

350. Vasil Vasilev

351. Emilia Vasileva

352. Tzvetelina Vasileva

353. Dobrinka Vatashka

354. Todor Georgiev

355. Georgi Farchalov

356. Iliyana Batembergska-Nenova

357. Dimitar Nenov

358. Stefan Boshnakov

359. Raina Shumelova

360. Gancho Shumelov

361. Simeon Dimitrov

362. Sava Morov

363. Petar Yanakov - deacon

364. Svetla Yanakova

365. Ivan Yanakov

366. Iliyan Meramdjiev

367. Milka Karagyozova

368. Hristina Budinova

369. Raina Guneva

370. Grozdan Paterichev - employee

371. Elena Patericheva

372. Lyubka Todorova - employee

373. Krasimira Dambova

374. Dimitar Dambov

375. Nina Dimitrova

376. Ralitza Dimitrova

377. Indiana Ivanova

378. Otto Bakalov

379. Violeta Bakalova

380. Luisa Bakalova

381. Lazar Stamov

382. Petar Grudev - priest

383. Hristo Damyanov - priest

384. Maria Brankova

385. Ivailo Simeonov

386. Ina Boyadjieva

387. Vasil NItov

388. Venetz Tzonev

389. Gencho Mladenov - priest

390. Petar Dambov - priest (passed away, heirs wish to pursue the complaints)

391. Mladen Mladenov - employee

392. Emiliya Mladenova

393. Roza Yotzova

394. Amaliya Koleva

395. Gina Yotzova

396. Georgi Yotzov

397. Atanas Atanasov

398. Margarita Grudeva

399. Kiril Damyanov

400. Stefan Grudev

401. Evlambiya Radeva

402. Evelina Damyanova

403. Georgi Petrov

404. Radoslav Pavlov - priest

405. Petar Petrov-Pokrovski - priest

406. Georgi Iliev - priest

Application introduced on 6 October 2005

Application No

Names of applicants



Stoyan Sarnov - priest

Application introduced on 27 February 2008

Application No

Names of applicants



Georgi Shopov - priest