by Stamen Manolov

Pope Francis, who visited overwhelmingly Orthodox Bulgaria, was "liked" by some people identifying themselves as being "pro-Western" "rightwing" "intellectuals" and, infamously, snubbed by the Orthodox Church whose senior clergy refused to participate in a joint prayer with the head of Roman Catholicism citing some insurmountable differences dating back to the Great Schism, in 1054.

Bishop Nikolay of Plovdiv (the one with the penchant for Rolex watches) even suggested Pope Francis anticipated and would welcome the Anti-Christ, at a later date. However, nothing that emerged from Bulgaria's senior clergy compares to the thoughts of ordinary Bulgarians as they resorted to Facebook to promulgate their hypotheses of the "real" reasons for Pope Francis's visit.

One of the obvious ones was that the Pope, who paid a visit to a refugee home on the outskirts of Sofia, planned to push the Bulgarian government to settle hundreds if not thousands of gay Afghans in the Strandzha, in southeastern Bulgaria. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church has stood out among other Orthodox Churches in Europe as being vocally opposed to any acceptance of "non-Christians" in the Bulgarian lands.

Speaking of the Strandzha, one Facebook user suggested the Pope really was after a strange casket buried under a hill near Malko Tarnovo that has been rumoured as the burial site of Bastet, the half-cat half-woman Egyptian deity. At the bottom of the Bastet theory is Vanga, the Bulgarian blind clairvoyant who told the future, established a close relationship with the establishment and became the only seer on the official payroll of a Communist country, in the 1970s and 1980s.

An even more outlandish hypothesis indicated there was something wrong with the cross the Pope wore as it depicted a pigeon looking downward. According to the people of the planet Nibiru, a small and as yet scientifically undiscovered celestial body that some Bulgarians sometimes see and communicate with. According to the people of Nibiru, the papal cross was nothing but a depiction of the death of an Egyptian god who was killed by his brother, another Egyptian god, who was married to a third Egyptian god, and their names appended to each other spelled out a word oddly similar to the Bulgarian for "devil."

On a more mundane note, the Pope was nothing but a covert manufacturer of detergents who was looking out at new markets. A Bulgarian woman writing on Facebook is convinced of the detergent business. Think about this: the Pope was born in a poor family and is now rich. He dresses in white. It is simply not possible that he doesn't produce detergents.


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