While there are problems with its public image, the Orthodox Church is nevertheless the most trusted institution in Bulgaria, according to a new Gallup International poll dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the democratic change in Bulgaria, when Communist Party leader Todor Zhivkov stepped down after more than 30 years.
Compared to other institutions in the country, the Church enjoys relatively high levels of trust. Since the election of His Holiness Patriarch Neofit in 2013, the Church has consistently garnered the trust of between 40 and 50% of the people. Confidence had briefly waned before that due to various scandals involving clergy.
Furthermore, while Orthodoxy is the majority religion in Bulgaria, according to 2011 census data, it is a smaller majority (59.5%), while 9.3% considered themselves not religious, 7.9%—Muslims, and 21.8% not declared.
Nevertheless, the Church still finds itself the most trusted institution in Bulgaria, where 46% of the people blame the government for most of the problems in their lives.
The poll was conducted face-to-face with 839 people from August 2 to 9, representing the 18+ population of Bulgaria.
According to a 2017 poll from Sofia’s Open Society Institute, 55% trusted the Church, while 30% said they distrust the Church.
SOURCE: Serbian Orthodox Church