New Bulgarian Bill on Religion Brought Back to Parliament for Corrections

The new bill on religion was voted in Bulgaria on the last working day of 2018. As we celebrated the holidays thinking the drama was over, yet a new bill was being drafted. At the beginning of the parliamentarian season, on January 31, 2019 several new corrections were introduced to the just voted-in bill as follows:

  1. $10,000,000 in stipends to be given to the Eastern Orthodox in the form of salaries
  2. A similar type subsidy in the amount of $400,000 will be provided to the Muslim confession
  3. A one time tax amnesty would be given to various confessions for prior debt toward the Bulgarian state. In the case of the Muslim confession, this one time amnesty has been calculated at $8,000,000. The amnesty amount for the Eastern Orthodox Church is yet to be calculated due to the thousands of churches and monasteries they occupy across the country.

These are just a few of the changes being proposed currently. More will follow as the bill goes for discussion on the Parliament floor. But one thing jumps out from the text that is worth mentioning. The large government “stipend” is designated to the “Orthodox and Muslim confession” (singular). Such in Bulgaria does not exist. Yet!

If the authors wanted to indicate two separate religions, just like in the English language more so by Bulgarian grammar rules, they should have used the plural confession(s). The phrase is repeated several times in the document eliminating the possibility of a grammatical error or a simple typo. If the new bill purpose to merge Orthodoxy and Islam under the same state budget will become clear soon.