This country report examines the governance of religion and religious diversity, and challenges linked to violent radicalisation in Bulgaria. It offers an informative discussion of the religious make-up of Bulgarian society and the economic and cultural trends related to this type of diversity. The author contextualizes the current institutional framework for the management of religion by providing a historical account of state-religion relations. The organizational structures established by the main denominations are also explored. Lastly, the report tackles issues pertaining to violent religious radicalisation in the country and highlights the implications of radicalisation for the administration of religious diversity.
The model of state-religion relations in Bulgaria is one of a two-way autonomy, characterised by moderate state control over religious groups. The interplay between opposing factors, such as secularisation of the population, weak religious institutions, and persisting religious elements in the nation’s cultural identity, renders religion easily manipulated for political purposes. The inter-ethnic balance in the country may be jeopardised by the authorities’ securitised approach to the real and perceived manifestations of religious radicalisation.