Eastern Europe    BULGARIA EXONERATES MARTYRED BISHOP
A Bulgarian bishop martyred under the Communist government in 1952 and beatified by Pope John Paul last year has had his Communist-era conviction overturned, The Tablet reports.
    Bishop Eugen Bossilkow of Nicopoli was shot by firing squad after refusing to form a national Church without ties to the Vatican, or to join the Orthodox Church. He was convicted of espionage and of leading an illegal organisation aiming to overthrow the government. The Pope beatified him as "one of the many victims sacrificed by atheistic Communism in its programme for the destruction of the Church".
    Reviewing the condemnation, Bulgaria's appeal court judges said the trial was "nothing other than the repression of those who thought differently". The Bulgarian Government and the bishops' conference are trying to find where the bishop was buried. The Government publicly acknowledged the execution of the bishop only in 1975.
   
    Tablet 1:11pm 27/9/99

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