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Bulgarian Bishop's Rolex to Pay Church Electricity Bill

W460

A top Bulgarian cleric accused of leading a privileged lifestyle, has offered his luxurious Rolex watch to pay his cash-strapped church's electricity bills.

"Plovdiv Metropolitan Nikolay has offered one of his few personal objects, a Rolex watch, to the Saint Marina church, requesting that it be sold so that the electricity bill can be paid," said the church, one of the main ones in the central Bulgarian city of Plovdiv.

Bulgaria's Orthodox Church is the largest property owner in the country after the state but is short on liquid funds and its clergy receive a pittance in salary.

It has come under fire for accepting donations from rich patrons eager for respectability.

Nikolay's Rolex watch and a Lincoln car owned by his counterpart in the city of Varna, for example, have spurred numerous comments in the press.

The cost of electricity in Bulgaria more than doubled in January from December, sending tens of thousands into the streets in protests that led last week to Prime Minister Boyko Borisov's resignation.

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