(novinite.com) - The head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Maxim, has passed away at the age of 98.
Patriarch Maxim died shortly before 4 am on Tuesday, the Bulgarian National Television reported.
The head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church was hospitalized a month ago, and in the last few days he was on life support in the Governmental Hospital in Sofia.
His All Holiness Maxim of Bulgaria turned 98 on October 29, 2012. Because of his fragile health, he was unable to honor a holy icon that was recently brought to Bulgaria from Mount Athos.
Following the news of Maxim's death, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church bishops are supposed to gather on Tuesday in order to elect a temporary head of the Holy Synod as well as a temporary Bishop of Sofia, a title also held by Maxim.
Patriarch Maxim was in charge of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church for a little over 40 years. He was born on October 29, 1914, in the village of Oreshak, Lovech District.
He became the head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church on July 4, 1971, after the death of Patriarch Kiril in March 1971, at the height of the atheistic communist regime.