31 MAY 1957, Page 7

THE EXARCH STEFAN, whose death has just been reported from

Sofia, was the most imposing- looking dignitary I have ever seen—tall and broad, and made even taller by the snow-white hat of his office, with its cross of pearls, and broader by his robes and his splendid Orthodox beard. And 1 am told that in his sermons he was very much the leader of his national church, ex- horting the congregation to defend their country against the Amalekites. He seemed, in fact, the very type of that sense of immemorial yet vigorous antiquity which the Eastern churches preserve so much more unchanged than ours of the West. But he was also a very modern man who held degrees in several Western universities and worked hard for co-operation with the Anglican Church. He t ourageously and subtly opposed the German and Soviet occupiers. It is no wonder that the Russians finally removed him and imprisoned him : as not only a Christian, but a patriot and a democrat, he was a triple incarnation of the spirit they are still unsuccessfully trying to subdue in Eastern Europe.