The Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church awarded the Director of the Sofia Opera and Ballet, Acad. Plamen Kartaloff with the high ecclesiastical "St. John Koukouzelis" Order. The award was presented to the distinguished director, pedagogue, visionary and manager by Metropolitan Cyprian of Stara Zagora on the Day of the Christian Family – 21 November at a solemn ceremony in the Cathedral of St. Nedelya.
According to the decision of the Synod, taken with the blessing of His Holiness the Metropolitan of Sofia and Bulgarian Patriarch Neofit, the "St. John Koukouzelis" order is given to Acad. Kartaloff for special services to the Bulgarian spirituality and culture, for his educational activities and for the respect shown to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. The bishops also awarded the director for the performance "The Hermit of Rila", which in May marked the 70th anniversary of the restoration of the Bulgarian Patriarchate.
Academician Plamen Kartaloff thanked for the attention by saying, "Under the dome of this sacred historic cathedral, it is a great honour for me to accept this recognition of our common work, not only my own, but also that of my colleagues, with who we created humble deeds in the name of the Holy Church. All our spectacles are a spiritual message and a vocation. And the last one, which was of an outstanding composer – Father Kiril Popov. A clarion call to his contemporaries is his masterpiece musical poem "The Hermit of Rila" dedicated to St. John of Rila. It gave us the impetus, strength and power to unite the efforts of artists and audiences in faith, hope and love for everything good to happen in our homeland.