Kliment of Tarnovo

Kliment Turnovski
Климент Търновски
2nd Prime Minister of Bulgaria
In office
6 December 1879  7 April 1880
Monarch Alexander
Preceded by Todor Burmov
Succeeded by Dragan Tsankov
In office
21 August 1886  24 August 1886
Monarch Alexander
Preceded by Petko Karavelov
Succeeded by Petko Karavelov
Minister of Education
In office
6 December 1879  7 April 1880
Premier Himself
Preceded by Georgi Atanasovich
Succeeded by Ivan Gyuzelev
Personal details
Born 1841
Shumen, Ottoman Empire
Died (1901-07-10)10 July 1901
Sofia, Bulgaria
Political party Conservative Party

Kliment Turnovski, (born Vasil Nikolov Drumev (Bulgarian: Васил Николов Друмев), c. 1841 10 July 1901, known by his title as Metropolitan Kliment of Turnovo), was a leading Bulgarian clergyman and politician. He was also a writer and one of the founders of the Bulgarian Literature Society (BLS; now known as the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences) in 1869.[1]


He was born in Shumen, where a village now bears his given name[2] in a craftsman family. Originally, he was taught in his native town by Sava Dobroplodni and Sava Filaretov, but afterwards attended the Odessa Seminary. He was influenced by the revolutionary Georgi Sava Rakovski and joined Rakovski's First Bulgarian Legion in Belgrade in 1861, where he distinguished himself in the fight against the Turkish garrison. Drumev kept close ties with Vasil Levski, Stefan Karadzha and some other Bulgarian revolutionaries.

After the Legion disbanded in 1862, Kliment emigrated in Russia, where he continued his education at the Kiev seminary. In 1869 he settled in Brăila. In 1873 he was ordained priest, and in the ensuing year he was ordained a bishop under the name Clement Branitski. He later became deputy of the metropolitan bishop in Tulcha.

After the Liberation of Bulgaria in 1878, Drumev worked as rector of the Peter-Paul seminary near Lyaskovets. In 1884 he was chosen to be metropolitan bishop of Turnovo.

Government career

Drumev also took part in the socio-political life in the Principality - he was a deputy in the Constituent assembly in 1879 and in the First Grand National Assembly that year. Drumev was a supporter of Russia and opposed openly the foreign policy of the Regency (1886–1887), the first Stefan Stambolov regime (1887–1894) and Prince Ferdinand's regime, which led to repressive measures against him.

Although a fairly reluctant political figure, in 1879 Kliment agreed to become Prime Minister on a caretaker basis until elections could be held to fill the vacancy following the collapse of the government of Todor Burmov.[3] Kliment government was largely inactive, serving only to continue the policies of Burmov until a successor could be appointed. He served a very brief second term in 1886 after the 9 August coup d'état in an attempt to co-ordinate opposition to the enforced abdication of Alexander of Bulgaria, although before long Stefan Stambolov and Petko Karavelov had taken over.[4] Indeed, Turnovski's involvement in the plot even led to Stambolov declaring him an outlaw briefly.[4]

A loyal supporter of the old monarchy, Kliment refused to celebrate the arrival of the new monarch Ferdinand I of Bulgaria, and refused to lead prayers for his arrival in Sofia.[5] Stambolov moved against Kliment and expelled him from Sofia, whilst depriving him of much of his power.[6] A strong supporter of Russia, he remained a harsh critic of the new King, although ultimately even his own flock turned against him and he was detained by the government. He was eventually released and publicly made peace with Ferdinand.[7]

With Russia trusting Kliment, in summer 1895 he headed the Bulgarian parliamentary delegation in Saint Petersburg which had to reconcile Bulgaria with Russia, which terminated their official relations in November 1886. His mission was successful. But when he saw that Ferdinand was still not changing his attitude towards Russia, Kliment took pity on his own actions, because they helped Ferdinand to be recognized as a legal Bulgarian ruler.[8]


As a writer, Kliment was father of Bulgarian fiction. He wrote the first original short story in Bulgarian, A Woeful Family (1860). Some of his important works include Student and benefactors or what is another's is another's (1864) and the drama Ivanko, the killer of Asen I (1872).[9]


  1. History of Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
  2. Map of Vasil Drumev village
  3. Richard J. Crampton, Bulgaria 1878–1918 A History, New York: Columbia University Press, 1983, p. 43
  4. 1 2 S.G. Evans, A Short History of Bulgaria, London, Lawrence and Wishart, 1960, p. 135
  5. Crampton, op cit, p. 133
  6. Crampton, op cit, p. 134
  7. Crampton, op cit, pp. 163-4
  8. Crampton, op, cit, pp. 167-8
  9.  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bulgaria/Language". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Political offices
Preceded by
Todor Burmov
Prime Minister of Bulgaria
Succeeded by
Dragan Tsankov
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