The tradition of Eastern Orthodox church chant in Bulgaria goes back to more than one thousand years ago. This chant, called also “Byzantine Octoechos”, observers the rules of the Ancient Greek modes and the Ancient Greek temperament of the tones. The chants arc monophonic ones and the melody is accompanied by a base tone (hysson), which is usually the basis of the tetrachord. The octoechos canon is obligatory for this tradition. It serves as a defence of church Chant protecting it from secular influences and style. Throughout the centuries many inspired composers of songs have made their contribution to the common musical treasure-house of the Orthodox Church. The Eastern Orthodox chants sung by His Eminence Neofit, Metropolitan of Russe, аre also a precious gift presented before the altar of God with the sincere desire that it first of all praise God and provide spiritual joy to Christians.
Metropolitan Neofit’s secular name is Simeon Nikolov Dimitrov. He was born in Sofia on 15 Oct. 1945. After completing his 7-grade education, in 1959 he enrolled in the Sofia Theological Seminary. He graduated from the seminary in 1965. In September 1967 he became a student at the St. Clement of Ochrid Academy of Theology in Sofia. He completed his studies there in 1971. Following a decision of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Bulgaria, in 1971 he was sent to do post-graduate studies at the Moscow Academy of Theology, where for two years he specialized choral conducting and earned his doctoral degree. On 1 st September 1973 he was appointed lecturer in Eastern church chant and conductor of the student choir at the Academy of Theology in Sofia. On 3 rd August 1975 he was professed monk with the name of Neofit in the Troyan Monastery by Maxim, Patriarch of Bulgaria. Archimandrite Gelassiy, then hegumen of the monastery, was his spiritual elder. On 15th Aug. of the same year Patriarch Maxim ordained him as hierodeacon and on 25th March 1976— as priestmonk in the “Sveta Nedelia” (St. Kyriaki) Cathedral in Sofia. From 30th Sept. 1975 till 17th March 1986 he was conductor of the Sofia Priests’ Choir and on 15th July 1977 he became also senior lecturer in Eastern church chant and in divine service practice in the Academy of Theology in Sofia. He remained in charge of these subjects until the end of 1980. In the meantime, on 21st November 1977 he was promoted to the rank of archimandrite in the “Sveta Nedelia” (St. Kyriaki) Cathedral in Sofia by Patriarch Maxim. From 1st Jan. 1981 till December 1985 Archimandrite Neofit was chancellor of the Sofia Eparchy (Diocese). While holding that post, on 8th Dec. 1985 he was consecrated as bishop in the St. Alexander Nevsky Patriarchal Cathedral.
Thus he became titular bishop of Levkas and he was made second auxiliary bishop of the Metropolitan of Sofia. On 1st. Dec. 1989 Bishop Neofit became rector of the St. Clement of Ochrid Academy of Theology in Sofia and on 26th July 1991 he was elected also as the first dean of the Faculty of Theology at the University of St. Clement of Ochrid in Sofia. (The Faculty had again become part of the University on 1st July 1991). He remained at this post until January 1992, On 27th January 1992 he was appointed General Secretary of the Holy Synod and
Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the St. Alexander Nevsky Palriarchal Cathedral. On 27 March 1994 he was elected metropolitan of the Dorostol and Cherven Eparchy and on 3th April of the same year he was canonically confirmed as metropolitan of said diocese. On 17th Dec. 2001 following a decision of the Fifth Council of The Church and the People the eparchy of Dorostol and Cherven was divided into two eparchies — that of Russe and that of Dorostol and since then he has borne the title of “Metropolitan of Rousse”.