Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category

Trip to Bakadjiiski ( Bakadji ) monastery Bulgaria near Yambol peak Bakadji and a Rocker Moto feast- A little known tourist Mountain virgin perl of Bulgaria

Saturday, May 13th, 2017

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Perhaps many of Bulgarian citizens and people in Europe who have heard about Bulgaria and its Capital Sofia or have been on a tourism trip to Bulgaria know Saint Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Bulgaria capital Sofia.

However perhaps few know or have heard that saint Alexander Nevskij's Cathedral is not the only Church dedicated to the Russian saint but earlier another small Christian church was build as a remembrance and honor of the Russian-Turkish War Bulgarian liberators who were consisting of (Russian, Belarusians, Ukrainian, Finish and Romanian) soldiers who have sacrificed there life (according to official sources about 70 000 – 100 000 deaths from Russian side) but unofficial sources says 200 000 – 300 000 as a real numbers of victims of Russians and about les say at least 80 000 victims of Bulgarian side.

The Russian-Turkish Liberation war of 1877 and liberation of Bulgarian from Ottoman slavery are among the most notable events for Bulgarian history.

With the coming of peaceful times, the warm feelings and high appreaciation of Bulgarian nation to Russian liberators have been demonstrated numerous times with the creation of innumerable number of Christian Churches and Chapel and other Christian monuments, the most notable along with saint Aleksander Nevski on the city center of Sofia is the monument of emperor Alexander Nikolaevich II-nd   the Liberator

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The first monument in remembrance of the Russo-Turkish Bulgarian Liberation war was built nearby the city of Yambol after the victory of 23rd Donsk – Khazak regiment in Yambol is established 55th infantry (Podolski) regiment, 95th infantry regiment of Krasnoyarsk and some other Russian troop forces while finally in the end of year 1878 here is established 30th infantry regiment of the corups of General Skobelev-Junior.
In the beginning of next year the famous General discusses with Yambol citizens his idea to build a Church "for eternal remembrance of Russian soldiers on the battlefield during the liberation of Bulgarian of Ottoman slavery".

 

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It is decided the idea to be implemented with joint forces between the North slope on the first peak of Bakadjika – also known as "Saint Spas", and on its ridge – on the same place of the Destroyed by Turkish soldiers Monastery "Sveti Spas / Holy Saviour) during the Bulgarian Uprising of April (Aprilsko Vozstanie).
Gen Skobelev and the local people decided to build a small chappel in honor of Russian saint Alexander Nevski who played key role for the rise of Russian nation and thanks to whome Russians managed to escape slavery from the surrounding Turkish khan rulers like Bhatai Khan etc.

With the success of preliminary plan, the place become a common visited (usually mostly during Summer months) by citizens of about 12 km far Yambol city.

With the withdrawal of last Russian soldiers of the region while departing from there general Skobelev gave a precious gift to the newly built Church – an Evangelion with an Engraved Cross.

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Evangelion gift by general Skobelev

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The Cross gift by General Skobelev to the new built memoriam Church saint Alexander Nevski

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Icon of Alexander Nevski kept in the St. Aleksander Nevski Memorial Church in Bakadjika Holy Saviour Monastery.

After the depearture of Russian soldiers the consturctuion works of the temple are completed by Bulgarians with the material aids from Russia.
The iconostasis follows the Russian Orthodox Church tradition engraved by Russian monks and moved in parts to be mounted in the Church.

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The gonfalons and most of the icons are brought by Kiev Pechersk Lavra (The biggest and one of oldest if not earliest monastery on Russian lands) nowdays in capital of Ukrain Kiev.

In 1884 with the presence of the Russian embassador for Eastern Romelia with many official guests and locals
the official sanctification of the Church-monumentum st. Alexander Nevski (nowadays Bakadjishki monastery) has beenmade.
The Church and monastery had gone through a really hard times during Communism (Socialism) in Bulgaria 1944-1989 and until 10-15 years ago it has been left in a very bad state.

However thanks to locals and a Hieromonk Sofronij (known by many locals as Stefan Bradata (Stefan The Beard), the monastery has been quickly starting to recover its material base.

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Fr. Sofronij has been in process of building monastic corups where guests can stay for a night or few but is facing financial problems and he is kindly asking anyone who has the finances and love for Christ and the Eastern Orthodox Church to help with finances, material goods or even workforce and of course novice monks are always needed.

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Nearby the monastery there is a famous Cave well (holy spring water), which according to the local tradition has been revealed in a dream to a monk and the monks has dug hardly the cave wall about 30 meters and then dug down exactly the the place where the monk had the Vision of the Blessed Mother Mary.
Just like in the dream the Miraculous Holy Spring water has emerged exactly on the place shown in the dream, because of the resemblance of the Well found with the Evangelion story of the Samaritan woman at the well – whose name btw in Christian Eastern Orthodox tradition is Photinia, the well later received a name The Well of Samaritan.

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The entrance door leading to the Cave Samaritan Well

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Fr. Sofronij with the Italian sculteres of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Samaritan

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The Well with (Buklica – traditional water vessel in Bulgaria)

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Italian statues of Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well (Holy Water / Agiasmo / Aiazmo Spring)

In case if you want to spend the night in Bakadjika Monastery for a really cheap – 5 euro please contact:

Yambol Bakadjicite
089 895 4611
bradara_indjata@abv.bg


Each on Bakadjika it has become a local tradition for Rockers / Metalheads and Moto fans all around Southern Bulgaria
to gather near Bakadji just 1 km away from Bakadjiski monastery.
Since ancient times the spiritual centers has always attracted people and perhaps this is also true for Bakadjika which earlier has been a place for a heroic battles for freedom and nowdays has become a rocker arena of a different understanding of wild life and human freedom.

This year 2017 it is the 20th anniversary for Rockers gathering on 12 of May on Bakadjika-Yambol Moto feast to meet other who are alike. The rocker event is about to last 3 days until 15 of May.
For the safety of Rockers this year the rockers has been granted a great honor as a Bishop of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church (Bishop of Agathopol – Ierotey Kosakov his whole biography is on Bg-Patriarchy website here) has personally come to the event to pray (with the so called Vodosvet – Or Blessing of Water) for the well being of the Rockers who are to ride and take participation of organized games and racing events of Bakadjika feast.

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What is famous near the monastery and perhaps little known outside of Bulgaria and perhaps in Eastern Europe is the existence of Gigantic Monument (Soviet times / Communist) of Bronze build in year 1987 in honor of 110 years of the Liberation of Bulgarian from Ottoman Turkish Slavery. The monument is a kind of symbiosis between concrete plate with plastics and 32 tons of bronze.

The monument depicts events related to Bulgarian history divided on 3 parts.

1. A Russian Soldier and a Bulgarian (opalchenec = guerilla of the liberation war) – symbol of the heroic victory over Ottoman enslavers and the Victory of Christianity on Bulgarian lands over islam

2. Second comes plastics depicting a mother with a child – symbol of continuity between generations

3. A Cosmonaut (Spaceman) – a symbol for Bulgarian-Russian achievements in science and the mastering of cosmic space  and on the top with a plastic is a young-woman – a symbol for advance of resurrected Bulgarian nation

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The feasts of healer saints Cosma and Damian and saint John of Rila holy relics return to Rila Monastery – An Orthodox Christian July Morning in Kavarna with Father Vasilij Selemet

Saturday, July 9th, 2016

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Saint Cosma and Damian Healer Saints Icon

As some who were in Bulgaria already know there is this new set metal / rock / underground feast called July Morning that started from years in Communism in Bulgaria but has a strong relation with pagan feasts being celebrated before Bulgarian inhabitans were baptized and Bulgaria become enlightened Christian land.

With recent serious attempt to resurrect all paganism under a new packaging through metal / rock / rap culture festivals and the rise of rebellion against the system by so many young peoplewhich started in America in the late 1960's by the Peace Anti-War / Hippy movement the tradition of rebellious and mixed head young people has quickly spread over all the lands which had a severe American Anglo-Saxon influence and after the fall of the communist-system and shortly before this influence born the so called July Morning a feast to receive the first Sun light on every 1st of July while camping near some of the beatiful Bulgairan beaches.

Young hippy / metal / rock / hardcore / techno people as well as other alternative people from all fields of undeground music and other sub-cultures from all places from Bulgaria and even abroad gather to have fun drink and enjoy the night and stay awake 'till early morning on 1st of July, then by tradition they play Uriah Heep's July Morning being inspired by the first Sun lights while others headoff themselves with inhuman quantities of alcohol, joint and other soft-drugs.

As Kavarna become over the last 5+ years, "The rock capital of Bulgaria" and a whole Europe famous metalheads destination the need for contra reaction from traditionally Eastern Orthodox Christian Bulgaria become so evident that one of the famous priests in eparchy of Varna – father Vasilij Salemet (A Besarabia Bulgarian Gagauz) who serves as a priest in Kavarna by God's great providence decided to start a new counterfeit tradition to give glory and prayer akathist to the double feast of ancient Christian healer twin saints Cosma and Damian (A.D. 287) known as Unmercenaries because of their refusal to accept any money for healing and The Transportation (Return) of Holy relics of the Greatest Bulgarian Saint John of Rila in 1195 from Tarnovo to Rila Monastery.

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The Return of Holy Relics of saint John of Rila from Tarnovo to Rila Monastery icon

This too significant Christian feasts providently coincided with the Secular July Morning and this was a good reason for setting the Eastern Orthodox Christian litia procession "march" antiope to secular July morning is the fact that in Kavarna on the Chirakman peak cape nearby the sea is situated an enormous sized ancient Basilica which was in favour of st. Cosma and Daminos. The Christian july morning started 5 years ago by the initiative of father Vasilij's laity from the Church in honour of The Dormition of the Most Holy Virgin together laity from saint Nicolas Varna Church and people from Varna's Orthodox Christian enlightenment Center archangel Michael which btw is also famous for organizing the Week of the Eastern Orthodox Christian book and other events who aim to help people understand the Truth and Light of the Lord Jesus Christ teaching and his established Holy Church, the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church.
 

In the event by tradition also the famous in Varna father Vasilij Shagan was present and he give a short talk on the topic of Today's world disintegration and the importance of the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ which called all for spiritual unity in faith of his Holy name through His established Church with his own blood on the Golgotha Cross.

A notable guests was  young people from Varna and Dobrich region, father Dimitrij who is priest in Moldovan Besarabia city of Bolgar as well as we had the blessing to have father archimandrite Konstantin an abbot of Patleina Great Preslav  / "Veliki Preslav" monastery which is either the most ancient monastery in Bulgaria or among the 3 most ancient established after the Baptismal (Christianization) of Bulgaria in 864 A.D

The host of the Orthodox Christian July morning event was father Vasilij who as always was very hospital and settled all the guests in the few Church rooms situated nearby the Church building on the second floor of a caffeteria building.

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Akathist to Saint John of Rila, the Klir singers back left
 

The whole prayer event started on 30 of June with an akathist to Saint John of Rila in order to honor also our great Bulgarian saint this year there was no vesper or a night vigil because the people were already too tired as some of the believers came in mid day on 30th and already went to Chirakmana (hill like) cape Basilica Saint Cosma and Damian in order to clean the remains of basilica foundations from the wild grass which was taking over the place because of the heavy rains this year.

Akathist to Saint John of Rila in Kavarna Church Dormition of Mother Mary

Akathist to Saint John of Rila 30 of June  2016 evening sideview to Alter Doors (Dveri)

 

After the akathist to Saint John of Rila there was a free dinner prepared by his wife presbitera (Matushka) Ekaterina and given by father Vasilij to all present borther and sister christians and father Vasilij Shagan give his 1.5 hour speach on the need of spiritual unity between Christians and through all through faith in our Risen Lord Jesus Christ, there was a lot of referrences to Bessarabia and their previous life in Besarabia and a short speeach by father Dimitrij from Bessarabia who as we understand used to be the inspirator for priesthood of both Father Vasilij Salement and Father Vasilij Shagan which in 1992 started their priest carrers as a humble seminary students in Sofia Spiritual Christian Seminary saint John of Rila.

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Father Vasilij (Left) and Father Dimitrij (from Besarabia)

Dinner Room in Kavarna trapezaria after akathist to st John of Rila

The Fathers Vasilij, Konstantin, Vasilij, Dimitrij during the dinner

It is always a true blessing to meet other Christians as Jesus said and the joy of the shared dinner which consisted of bread, clams, caviar, mashed potatoes  a nice salad of tomatoes, pepper, cucumbers and onion.

After having the shared table and joy to meet new brothers and sisters from Dobrudja region a lot of people had the chance to have long talks with Borislav Avramov (Borko Avramov) who is a key person and lecturer in saint archangel Michael Orthodox Center and Church and a truly famous person among Varna Orthodox Christian Youth.

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Starting the Lithia (Procession) 

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The procession – notice the unique beautiful nature

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The procession climbing the way to the Roman Basilica

The first Sun lights on July Morning in Kavarna

The Sun rising over the Chirakman cape, first sun lights

Chirakman peak cape sideview from top to sea coast and the many electricity generators on the background

Chirakmana peak majestic view from top sea shore – notice the many green energy producer fins

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The procession icon of St. Cosma and St. Damianos (right) and St. John of Rila (left) with the Holy Cross and Ripidions

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Lighting up charcoal for censor (incsensory)

The Open Church Alter in Chirakmana akathist to saint Cosma and Damian

Fr. Veliko (left), fr. Konstantin, fr. Konstantin, fr. Dimitrij

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Fr. archimandrite Konstantin reading prayers

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Christians praying at the Majestic Basilica Remains

In the morning the procession started from The Dormition of the Virgin Mary Church the youngest were given icons of st. Cosma and Damian and were leading the procession and the rest of Christians were following some of which singing troparions of Saint John of Rila, The Most Holy Trinity, Troparion of saint Cosma and Damian, Trisvetoe (All Holy Thrice) hymn, O Theotokos Virgin (Bogorodice Devo), Dostoino Esty and other Church troparions.

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During the Acathist to st. Cosma and Damian

We were pleasently surprised in the morning to find out that the priest from Holy Trinity Church from Dobrich father Veliko and his wife Conka with their 2 kids Mihaela and Andrea came for the akathist prayer to st. Cosma and Damian as well as our beloved brother Stelian and his girlfriend Marinela.

To reach Chirakmana cape the walk is downside about 40 minutes walk through a beautiful wild nature from both the right and left. The road has also a drinkable water for those who got too thirsty, once reaching near the sea there was another 25 minutes walk up to reach  Chirakmana cape peak  6th century ancient Basiiica of saint Cosma and Damian.

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Father Vasilij reading the Gospel after the Acathist

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The Basilica st. Cosma and st. Damian Alter

There were also people with cars so for those tired to walk the 40 minutes downside he can get near the seashore by car, I personally was too tired and we travelled with Galin and Andrea and their 3 children.

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Father archimandrite Konstantin blessing with the sanctified water from the Acathist

This year there was no Holy Liturgy service in open space on the basilica location like they used to serve 4 years ago but fr. Vasilij promised to do his best to make it possible perhaps on next year to have the proper tent installed in order to protect the Antimens and Alter from the wind.

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Common picture of everyone after the Acathist

We walked back the road from Chirakmana to near seashore and from their our friend Stelian took me and father Konstantin to drive us to the Church in other occasions I would have walked but since I was so tired from previous day, we travelled to Holy Dormition of Virgin Mary Church with Stelian's car after filling bottles with the mineral water spring situated on the road leading to the Church.

Once all come to the meeting point which was the dinner room we had a wonderful coffee, tea and a quick free breakfast generally given again by fr. Vasilij after which everyone who had a car travelled to Kaliakra Cape which is few kilometers drive way to venerate also the chapel in honour of saint Nicolas the Myrh-Bearer.


The overall experience and spiritual joy was great for everyone I expect the new pious tradition will continue for the next years to come. Everyone who wants is invited to visit and experience the truthfulness of the words of the savior of the Lord Jesus Christ who said:

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." – Mathew 18:12

Let by the prayers of Saint Cosma and Damian and the Greastest Bulgarian Reverend desert father Saint John of Rila the All Holy Trinity have mercy on Bulgaria and all Orthodox Christian countires and All people living with faith.

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Preeminent Saint apostles Peter and Paul feast in the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church – June 29

Friday, July 1st, 2016

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"With the Grace of God I am what I am" (Corinthians 15:10)

This year the Peter and Paul feast period in the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church was just 3 days (27,28,29), because it is a movable feast and depends on the Great Lent's longitude

Saint Apostles Peter and Paul are named Preeminent because they have laboured the most in setting the basis for the Holy Christ Church.

Saint Apostle Peter together with his brother Andrew were the first which was called by the Lord Jesus Christ which was destined by the Great providence of God to become his desciples and apostles.

Saint Peter's distinguishing soul character was his pure heart and the soul simplicity. Always when the Savior asked questions from his desciples to illustrate them the greater spiritual truths of the Eternal Heavenly life and God's greatness shown through all creation and to reveal them the divine truths about the Holy Trinity it was saint Peter who answered first speaking from the name of all desciples.


That's how one time when Christ asked the pupils "Who do you think I am?", st. ap. Peter immediately answered:

"You're Christ, the Son of the Living God".
Then Jesus told him, "Blesssed are you Simon , son of Johna because no flesh and no blood has revealed this secret to you but my Father which is in heaven; and I tell you you're Peter (in Greek meaning stone), and on this stone I'll build my Church and the gates of hell would not prevail it." Mathew 16:14-18

 

This is the basis, this is the stone which the Lord used to establish his Church – the firmness of faith and the confession that Jesus is Christ (The Messiah), Son of the Living God. Since that moment apostle Peter started bearing also the name Simon-Peter.

 

By his age also saint apostle Peter was first among the apostles. After the Ascension of the Savior and the descent of the Holy Spirit over the Holy apostles he preached that firy sermon conquering the hearts and minds of the gathered many leading to the baptism of thousands.

He preached in many regions of the Roman Empire and many cities and wrote two letters which we find in today's Holy Bible, New Testament – First and Second Epistle of Peter also presented in the Roman Catholic and Protestant Bibles named Peter 1 and Peter 2.

Being in persecution, various griefs and sufferings, the primus in honor among apostles has restlessly preached the Gospel.
In 67 A.D. during the persecution against Christians in eperor Nero's time he was martyred.

His persecutors wanted to kill the apostle on the Cross because he was preaching the crucified Christ, but by his humble request to God for his
unworthiness to die with the same death as the Divine Saviour Lord Jesus Christ his executors decided to crucify him with the cross upside down where nowadays we know the inverted cross as a symbol of the holy apostle crucifix.
In later times the inverted upside-down cross started being paradoxically associated with antichrism and satanism but in reality few know that it is also a symbol left from ancient christian church.

Saint Apostle Paul before becoming the desciple and apostle of Christ was called Saulus. He was a very educated person for his time.
However even though his high education he was a soul blind and unenlightened person. He was initially a fierce persecutor of Christians and even requested by authorities to grant him a special task to persecute and kill all members of the new Roman empire "superstitio" as Christianity was called at that time.
On his way to Damascus a great miracle occured and he believed in the Risen Christ the Messiah (Saviour of the World)!

God blessed the repented persecutor with a glory. By a miraculous way the Lord Jesus Christ has appeared to him and he become from a fierest persecutor of Christians he become the most fervent preacher of the Saving Gospel and Love.
He travelled many cities and has enlightened many nations.
Often persecuted because of his preach and has been in chains was fought with sticks and received various tortures for the sake of Christ.
St. Paul wrote many apistles which are red for edification and example for perfect Christian life and dedication during Holy Liturgy to this very day in the Church and his epistle.

Finally in the same year 67 during emperor Nero after being convicted to be a Christian and an enemy of the pagan state not wanting to sacrifice to the Roman idol gods he received martyrdom being beheaded because he was a Roman citizen.

This are the short biographies of the two most glorious among the apostles. So what is the moral and the lesson by this two great saints?
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What is the common between the two originally contradictious characters / persons?

The first – simple fisherman, quick in speech and fearful in action who first has confessed the Lord Jesus Christ to be truly God and shortly after his ignition he has denied his Master and Christ thrice.

The other an educated but cruel man a persecuter and killer of Christians.
These two very different man became the two central building blocks of the Church that has enlighted a whole meriad of nations and give them examle and tutoring them in the true way of salvation in the Holy Faith and Love.

By the Grace of God which always heals the sick and the frail, by these grace which unifies not only st. Peter and st. Paul but also all of us in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. In this Church and through this grace we vitalize and are saved.

Not because of our own merits, not because we've done something worthy but only and because of God's Grace as it is also said in the Holy Scriptures "By the Grace of God I am what I am" (1 Corinthians 15:10) says apostle Paul. Let us overcome pride – the mother of all sins.
Because pride is the reason not to give the owed to God's Grace and deceive ourselves that we with our own energies and powers have become what we're.

Everything we achieve by God's Grace but the condition to attain the Grace is to humile ourselves and hope on God's mercy, because God is an enemy of the proud and to the humile he sends his Grace.

Hence, let us live by the Laws of the Gospels, handed in by the Holy Apostles and let us leave completely ourselves to the power of God's Grace and Love, Now and Forever and Ever. Amen!

Translated (with translator cosmetic changes) from Bulgarian Orthodox Church – "Church Newsletter" nr. 26 – year 1995.

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Trip to Dragalevski manastir (Dragalevci) and Bay Krystio Hut in National Park Vitosha Sofia Bulgaria

Saturday, May 28th, 2016
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The spring and summer season in capital of Bulgaria Sofia gives unique possibilities for rest of the ordinary busy IT person like me because Sofia is situated in the ridge of Vitosha Mountain. Actually mountain tourism is really a great way to reduce pressure and clean up our heads of the overbusy daily office life consisting of non stop solving complex management, programming and other system administration tasks.

Dragalevci-Pyteka

Besides being a great place for lovers of Nature Sofia and nearby places gives a lot of entertainment mountain huts (the popular Hijas, delta planers, ski lifting, horse riding,  crystal clear air and mountain springs and perhaps the best a unique virgin nature situated just a 20 minutes with bus from the center of 1.5 million people.  One common route in Sofia for residents and also for tourist who come for a visit to Sofia is actually Dragalevci (a Sofia village like Suburb) and the route leading to the ancient and famous monastery of Dragalevci which is in honour of The Holy  Theotkos (Virgin Mary) Vitoshka.

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From there there is ecological mountain footpath leading to a place called Bai Krystio who was a famous mountain tourist who helped a lot during 20 century for developing of mountain tourism in Bulgaria and Dragalevci and build a Hija (a mountain hut) which today is currently named in his honour.
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For the lazy ones after 14:00 you can also go their with a car there is an asphaltous way leading to the Mountain Hut, even though it is much preferrable to go their walking the steep wild road going through the wood surrounded by beautiful springing waters. A walk in Dragalevci to the Hut could be successfully made for less than 2 hours with a small 5 minutes breaks the pathway leading to it is long and as a lot of tourists go their regularly there is no chance for you to lost yourself.  From Dragalevci there are a lift-station  chairs called "Goli Vryh" translationg as "Naked peak". Right the Dragalevci station their is a "plazza" which leads to the very famous near Sofia rest place called "Hija Aleko  / Hut Aleko".

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Walking through the wood once reaching the asphals, there is a sign showing the way  to Aleko hut (which is named after the famous Bulgarian author and publicist Aleko Konstantinov). Our trip started from Paradise Mall and to reach their we catched a bus number 93 the bus ticket is just like an ordinary city ticket and costs only 1 leva, the bus we travelled with was a bit archaic some old medel Mercedes but in my opinion there is also a charm in these too.
 

Going to Dragalevski monastery has 2 ways either the asphalt one or the wood footpath so we me (Billiana, Ilia and Svetlana) choose the footpath from which you see and hear the relaxing voice of Dragalevska river which is parallel the walk path. Dragalevski-manastery-monk-cells-Vitosha-mountain-Sofia
      Dragalevtzi view to the nuns cells and cemetery
 
Dragalevski Nun Monastery is a very peaceful and beatiful place  behind the beautiful church is the cemetery where about 7 nuns are peacefully laying waiting for the resurrection of the Dead that is to come in the Judgment day when the Lord Jesus Christ commands all the dead to Resurrect for judgement.

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Dragalevci Eastern Orthodox Church Holy Alters (actually belonging to 2 Churches the old and the new one)
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Dragalevtzi Monastery Bells Going through a stone stairs you reach a spring water (Holy Spring / Aiazmo) and a monastery wood pavillion where you can sit to have a picnic or have a peaceful rest looking through the beautiful garden downway.
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Holy Spring in Dragalevtci Monastery Virgin Mary (Vitoshka) Dragalevski-manastery-monk-cells-Vitosha-mountain-Sofia
Nuns livings cells

If you continue uplifting the mountain footpath after about 30 – 40 minutes you reach the mountain-lifts in the region of Bai Krystio and you see a lot of people lifting down the mountain, a great way to travel back if you're too tired from the walk.

Dragalevski-lift Sofia Vitosha mountain tourism

In the Bai Krystio hut you'll find a kind of mixture of a mountain restaurant and caffeteria where you can have a great lunch / dinner of meatballs with french fries / kachamak / bob a cabbage salat with carrots, shopska salata with beer or hot tea. We had the chance to have a quick interaction with the selling old granny and the helper kitchen lady which was too kind calling everyone my child and having the mothers like behaviour. The hygene and the overall atmosphere of the  Hija was okay though don't expect a 5 stars restaurant. Also it is notable that everyone we saw on the wood path leading to the Hija was greeting us so the atmosphere was much warmer than the cold and lonely cities we live in nowdays. If you continue from Bai krystio you can reach the marked pathway leading to Goli Vryh and from their you will reach to Aleko Hut, Cherni Vryh (Black Peak) or Momina Skala (The Maiden Rock).

Kraj_Momina_skala-view-to-mountain

We enjoyed a lot and I'm thankful to God for the great day we had today, if you happen to live in Sofia and looking for enjoyment for the weekend or you are on a holiday i recommend you go Dragelvtzi you'll not regret it.

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Trip to Balckhik Sea Resort City, Saint George Church Liturgy and The Palace Sea Garden of the Romanian Queen

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Balchik_Sea-Resort-Bulgaria_Aerial_photo-from-Black-Sea


Last Sunday 08.05.2016, we travelled with my beloved friend Elica on Opel Astra car (The so called Police Opel as this opel is well known in Bulgaria because it is the most used car by Police forces in Bulgaria. The distance  from Dobrich to Balchik Sea Town is very near (by car its only 31.5 km).
Nearby Balchik situated in 20-30 km, there are plenty of other uniquely beatiful Sea resorts, just to name a few Albena, Kranevo, Golden Sands, Kavarna.

From Balchik Seacoast it is visible Albena's remote shore, which is one of favourite tourist destination for Russian and one of the most famous tourist resort in Bulgaria are visible. What makes Balchik a great place to visit is also its unique and rich history, the city was inhibited more than 2500+ years ago, according to Herodotus in 585 – 550 year B.C.

Balchik-sea-resort-boats-near-coast

Balchik's history is very dramaticit was of the important sea cities to control by Thracians (during Thracian Empire) later by  Romans, conseqnently by Greeks in Byzantine times and since the creation of Bulgaria in year 681 by Bulgarians (during first and second Bulgarian Kingdom) and under Turkish Slavery 1396-1878 by Turks (during Ottoman Turkish Empire), then after the liberation again by Bulgarians, during the Balkan wars controlled by Romanians as part of Romania and finally since September 7 1940 after the restoration of Southern Dobrudzha region to Bulgaria again part of Re-United Bulgaria.

Once reaching Balchik, we attended Sunday Holy Liturgy in the Saint George majestic Church which on a first looks by its size gives the observer the impression of a small Eastern Cathedral Cathedral. On this date it was the Sunday of the Doubting Thomas the last day of the so called Bright week (the first week after Eastern Orthodox Pascha).

The service was amazingly beautiful with ac choire of only few ladies headed for my surprise by a non-Bulgarian (Belarusian) chorister lady Svetlana. The serving priest Father Stratia is a really tall and ascetic looking priest by the way he served the service and he prayed it was evident he possess a deep faith in God and perhaps a true heart relationship with Christ. The Church is full of icons and has a very unique iconostatis which by the words of the priest is the most unique Church iconostasis made by a Russian person and is the most unique and beatiful Church craftwork in the whole Dobrich region.

saint_George-Church-Eastern-Orthodox-Church-Seacity-Balchik

Saint George Eastern Orthodox Church Entrance – Balchik Sea City Resort, Bulgaria


The Russian influence in the Church is also evident by the many icons of well known Russian saints such as Saint John of Kronstadt, Saint Seraphim Seravski, Saint Xenia from Peterburg, Saint Matriona from Moscow, Saint King Vladimir etc. etc. Also it is very remembering experience in this Church the high number of different icons of saint George, many of which are well known and miracle making from Mount Athos (Fanailova) icon etc.

Saint_George_church-alter-in-Balchik-SeaCity-resort

Saint George Eastern Orthodox Church Alter – Balchik, Bulgaria

After the end of the Church service we had a walk through a piece of old stone strairs which are common for Balchik.

Balchik-old-city-stone-strairs

At the end of the service he blessed and wished a lot of "brightness and love" for the coming week and we went down from Balchik city center through a beautiful old stone stairs leading down to the Seacoast and Balchik's beach.

Balchik_cheap-caffeteria-sideview-to-black-sea-shore

We spend some time on the coffee waiting for Mitko and Samuil to drop by because we had agreed the previous day to travel by Mitko's Citroen C3 Pluriel (tutle sized car) from Balchik to Sofia.

Nearby the sea coast as in most of resorts there is a line with caffeterias and restaurands with a nice view facing the sea and a remote tiny mountain hights.
Balchik and the region is one of the most beautiful and green locations all around Dobrudja region with a beatiful plants, trees, herbs, woods. There are also few springs mineral drinable water in and nearby Balchik and the town is also famous for the healing mud center and many thermal springs of Tuzlata.

The temperature of the health water is 33 degrees centigrade; it is without color, low mineralized, and has excellent gustatory properties. The curative mud which comes from two firth lakes is dark brown, coarse-grained and has perfect physic-chemical properties. Near to the lakes there is a balneological center. Using the healing properties of the mug, good results have been reported on the treatment of gynecological, nervous diseases, diseases of the locomotory system and so on.

Balchik Tuzlata healing mud for recovering from and healing all kind of neurological, psycho-emotional and other diseases.

Balchik-Tuzlata-healing-mud-for-recovering-from-and-healing-of-all-kind-of-neurological-and-other-diseases

Perhaps the most famous and worthy thing to see in Balchik is Baclhik Palace (Dvoretz Balchik) which was constructed during 1926 – 1937  for the rest needs of the Romanian Queen during romanian control of the region in communist years of Bulgaria (1945 – 1989) and onwards it was reorganized to become one of the major and biggest Botanical garden in Bulgaria and is famous as Balchiks Botanical Garden exposing the largest collection of large cactuses in Bulgaria arranged in 1000 m2, the second biggest collection of Cactuses following after the one in Monaco.

Balchik-Botanical-garden-cactuses-second-largest-europe-collection-of-cactuses-in-Bulgaria

Few Cactuses shot – Balchik Botanical Garden Second Largest Botanical Garden in Europe

Balchik-Botanical-Garden-in-late-spring-Bulgaria-one-of-biggest-botanical-gardens-in-Europe

View to a Roman Catholic Chapel in Balchik Garden
 

The current Balchik Botanical garden has area of 65,000 m² and accommodates 2000 plant species belonging to 85 families and 200 genera a similar garden but smaller garden was build in Vrana's Bulgarian King Palace nearby Sofia

Balchik-sea-Botanical-Garden-and-a-queen-palace-one-of-most-beatiful-botanical-gardens-in-europe-and-world

The garden is absolutely unique to see mixing together architectural characteristics for Balkans and oriental motifs such as from Islam the garden was build by Italian architects Augustino and Americo and the overall arrangement of the Palace was made by a Swiss frorist.

Balchik-unique-one-world-best-botanical-gardens-Bulgaria

The main Palace building's extravagant minaret coexists with a Christian chapel, perfectly illustrating the queen's Bahá'í beliefs.

Balchik-heaven-like-botanical-garden-one-of-best-in-Europe

A virtual tour of Balchik Palace check is on the official site of Palace here


Dvorec-Balchik-Botanical-Garden-Islamic-Minare

Though Balchik is only about 10000 to 12000 of citizens it is the second largest town in Dobrich region, rich for historical reason in diverse culture and architecture.

Below is a small chunk of the many interesting old historical things the lover of beauty can enjoy.

Balchik_old_townhouse_1871_-_door_detail

Though it is a little in size it has obsiouly rich citizen spirituality as the city has 5 Churches 4 of which in active service.

Saint_Nicholas_liberation-movement-Church-Balchik

Saint Nicolas Church built in Liberation of Bulgaria period

Sveta_Petka_Tarnovska-Church-in-Balchik


Another unique beatiful Eastern Orthodox Church to visit if you happen to be in Balchik is Saint Petka Tarnovska Church

Balchik is situated on a steep hills thus, the roads are а bit uneven like in mountains, one can see in city center also some builtiful 'bulgarian renesanse' buildings left from 19th century architecture in the famous for that time Austrian / Italian Architecture.

Bulgaria-Balchik-old_building-from-19th-century

As Balchik is small in size it is perfect for people who want to have rest in a cozy town and still have all conveniences of a beach resort. The overall feeling of being in Balchik is like in a small Italian sea town with the only difference that the prices of food and drinks in Balchik are quite affordable if compared to Western Europe resorts. A four people meal with some small drinks nearby see would be cheap like 40-50 euro.

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How Orthodox Easter is calculated or Why Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate Pascha (later) on a different date from Roman Catholics ?

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

 

 

why-eastern-orthodox-eastern-is-on-different-date-from-roman-catholics-why-we-orthodox-celebrate-easter-later

 

 


Why Does Eastern Orthodox Churches celebrate their Eastern often on a later or a different date from (Western Christians) – Roman Catholic Church, Greek Catholic Church, Anglican, Presbyterian or Protestant (Evangelist), Old Catholic Methodist, Calvinist or some other kind of Lutheran or Charismatic Christian sects?

If you happen to be born innd raised in America or Western European contry it is most likely, you're little if at all or not at all aware of the fact that in the Eastern Orthodox Churches the date of Eastern (Passcha) is celebrated often on a different date from the Roman Catholic and the other schismatic churches.

For example, this year 2016 Roman Catholics already celebrated Passcha on March 27th and we Eastern Orthodox Christians are still in the Great Lent (Fasting) period and we'll have the Easter celebrated on 1st of May.
That certainly raises some questions across people who are not Eastern Orthodox, because the Western Roman Catholic Church and the rest of Protestant Christians are the biggest group of Christians out there and even atheists and people belonging to other religions such as Buddhism or Islam might be puzzled why the Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate easter on a different they if after all they're Christian and what and why is this division among Christians?

With the increased globalization of the World and the fact that currently there are a lot of multi-national international companies and the fact that the companies and businesses today are mostly multi-cultural with people from all the world and all religions across the globe, for some countries situated within countries with predominant Eastern Orthodox population such as Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Greece, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia etc. it might be quite a disturbance because there Orthodox Christian country situated branches might be not able to operate on the days of Orthodox Easter. 

Here is a short example on the martch and dismatch by years between Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Church by years from 2010 to 2020

 

Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Easters from year 2010 to 2020

Year 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
                       
Catholic 4/4 24/4 8/4 31/3 20/4 5/4 27/3 16/4 1/4 21/4 12/4
Orthodox 4/4 24/4 15/4 5/5 20/4 12/4 1/5 16/4 8/4 28/4 19/4

Easter 2000 to 2009

Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
                     
Catholic 23/4 15/4 31/3 20/4 11/4 27/3 16/4 8/4 23/3 12/4
Orthodox 30/4 15/4 5/5 27/4 11/4 1/5 23/4 8/4 27/4 19/4


A complete list of Eastern Orthodox Pascha feast days is here

Funnly or strangely e ven many people who are situated within an Eastern Orthodox country doesn't have a good understanding why and what is the reason our Eastern Orthodox Easter feast is celebrated on a different date.
There is a lot written on the reasons why Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates on a different date Passcha from Catholics however in this article, I'll try to make it as short and clear as the reasons behind are often presented quiet messy.

 

In short there are 2 reasons (rules) why Eastern Orthodox Christian Church celebrates Eastern often on a different date:

1) The Julian calendar which is still used by the Eastern Orthodox Church for counting time
2) Adherence of the Orthodox to the early practices of the Original and Ancient Christian Church for Christian Passcha to not coincide with the Jewish Passover

The consequence of these 2 rules is that the Eastern Orthodox Christians on about 50% of the time throughout  years celebrate Christistmas later from Catholics because the Orthodox Church is following the First Church Ecumenical Council of Nicea (325 A.D.) that has set the rule that Passcha must take place always after the Jewish Passover  because in the Church the Biblical described consequence of events of the Passover and the Crucifix are followed, it appears rest of the Christian churches ignore (break) this requirement and this makes them fall under the Anatemas of the Church fathers from the I Ecumenical Council (see the Full decisions of the 7 Ecumenical Canonical Councils of the Original Church here).


Here the difference for Catholics celebrating on a different date Eastern stems from the fact since the XVI century they're using in Catholic Church the Gregorian calendar (adopted by Pope Gregory the XIII-th) because of scientifical superiority claimed by the Gregorian calendar.

Gregorian Julian calendar-fall-behind-dates by years from 1582 to year 2200

Well as you can see the scientific accuracy of Gregorian calendar is better and with years the Julian calendar is starting to miss astronomical re-calculated dates, causing mathematical incorrectness but the problem with the acceptance of the Gregorian Calendar and the reason why the Eastern Orthodox Church decided not to use the Gregorian calendar for Pascha is the fact that when the Gregorian Calendar was accepted in secular western world and the  Roman Catholic Church in order to matematically align the missing date 13 days were simply dropped off (or from Thursday 4th of October 1582 under Julian Calendar the next day Friday people started being in 15th of October, see the picture below:

inconsistency_change_from_Julian_to_Gregorian_calendar-Date_Change-and-the-missing-13-days

Well as you can see Friday October the 15,  1582 was quite a crazy year for the people as they lay down as 4th of Thursday and they woke up on 15th the next day 🙂

The Eastern Orthodox still to follow the Julian Calendar for Easter feast and some Churches adopted to using partly the Gregorian (Secular) calendar for some of the feasts under the pressure of the Greek Ecumenical Patriarchate , whether some Churches such as the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) which as of time of writting is the biggest Orthodox Crhuch as well as the Serbian Church are completely using the Julian calendar for calculating all feast days. Now what should be known is difference between Julian and Gregorian calendar is 13 days falling back (Gregorian Calendar is 13 days in future), while Julian calendar is 13 days in time behind the Gregorian.
However as prior said sometimes throughout years the Easterns of (Western) Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church coincide, such a date on which we celebrated Eastern on one date is on 24 April 2011.
The two dates coincide when the full moon following the equinox comes so late that it counts as the first full moon after 21 March in the Julian calendar as well as the Gregorian.
In recent years the conciding years was frequent in 2010, 2011, 2014 and will be again  2017 but after that there will be no coincidence of Orthodox and  Catholic Easter feasts until 2034.

For those who might be wondering why the Eastern Orthodox Church choose to not celebrate Easter on a different date here is some information on how Pascha (Easter) was determined historically in the One and Holy Apostolic Church
which for historical and dogmatical reasons is today Our Holy Eastern Orthodox Church.

During the first three centuries of Christianity, some Christians celebrates Pascha on the First date after Jewish Passover and others celebrates the feast on the same time as Passover.
This was causing confusions in across Churches and this together with other heretical teachings caused the Holy Church Fathers (successors of Holy Apostols) of the First Ecumenical Council to gather and decide
how to solve the issue.

The Holy Fathers therefore devices a uniform formula for calculating the date of the Pascha that was inline and taking in consideration the most early traditions of the Church as well as the Biblical
sequence of events.

Here is the Easter calculation forumla devices on I Ecumenical Council:

Pascha is to be always celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox but  always after the Jewish Passover.
 

To even better ensure that there was no confusion as to when the vernal equinox occured the date of the vernal equinox was set to be March 21 (which is April 3rd or 13 days later on the Julain Calendar).
The formula was universally accepted by all of Christianity, ensuring the Pascha was celebrated on the same day throughout the entire Universe (world).
The Eastern Orthodox Church which is keeping to strictly keep the decisions of the fathers 7 Councils and thus strictly keeps the formula in the Church.
The Western Church (Roman Catholic Church) used to be holding also the Eastern calculation formula however in modern times it rejected the Nicene formulate that requires that Pascha to always follow the Jewish  Passover.

Now as the apostacy from True Christian faith is increasing Western theologians and many of the misguided or so called heretical (ecumenism movement oriented) orthodox theologians are starting to claim that the provision about the formula
was not important and thus provision of the formula is rejected and thus ignoring the fact that during years 325 – 1582 as well as the historical date from early Christian historians and Early Canons such as Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons clearly reads:

“If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon celebrate the holy day of Pascha before the vernal equinox with the Jews, let him be deposed.”
 

 The Calendar Issue came to be in 1582  by Pope Gregory XIII with  instituted reform of the traditional Julian calendar. Actually the Protestant Reformation in its beginning harshly defended the Julian Calendar and kept the new Julian Calendar as an unnecessery information at times
when large chunks of the protestantized countries such as Germany and Netherlands were thinking actively of joining the Orthodox Church, however for some historical reason and by the settle backs of the Roman Catholic Church the rejoining of large sea of protestants with Orthodox sadly never happened.

Until 1923 all Eastern Orthodox Chuches was following the Julian calendar for all yearly feasts however as in 1923 an inter-Orthodox congress was helpd in Constantinople attended by some but not all of the Orthodox Churches, the Church fathers gathering took the very
controversial decision to follow a revised Julian calendar (the so called new Orthodox Church Calendar / New Style) which is essentially the same as Gregorian calendar for all things except the celebration of Pascha and few other feasts which continued to be celebrated across all Orthodox Churches on the same dates across all  Eastern Orthodox Churches who are in full eucharistic communion.

The official claimed reason for accepting the Gregorian calendar and moving most of the feasts +13 days in future  was that within some eastern countries many of the orthodox christian workers couldn't attend many of the 12 important feasts because of work duties (for example 7th of January is a working day in most of the world except Russia and thus it is a problem for many to attend the Church service and prepare and much more confortable if the feast is celebrated on 24th of December like it is in Roman Catholic and Protestant christians) – i.e. the change was initiated most for economical reasons right after the end of the 1st world war.

The result is now many of the great 12 Church Feasts in Orthodox Church like Christmas (Nativity of Christ), Epiphany, the Nativity of the Holy Theotokos, Entrance Presentation of the Theotokos in many of the Orthodox Churches together with Catholics but not with Russian Church and the other Orthodox Churches who still stick to the Julian Calendar.
The only other feasts which are being celebrated together with Russian Orthodox Church is Pentecost and Ascension as they're movable feasts depending on Pascha according to Julian calendar.

For us Orthodox tradition and Church teachings are of paramount importance and thus sadly the change to re-visited Julian calendar just created further confusion internally in the Eastern Orthodox Church, today many people who completely stick to the Julian calendar and refuse the re-visited Julian calendar has joined Schismatic Self-Proclaimed Orthodox Old Calendar Churches or for those who prefered to stay in full communion with the rest of the Eastern Orthodox Churches and stick to old calendar joined the Russian Orthodox Church and Serbian Church as they're considered to better keep the true faith tradition and spiritual descendance from the holy apostles. The question of the calendar difference has been largely discussed within the Orthodox Church and hopefully on the upcoming Holy All Orthodox Council upcoming this year in June 16 – 27 2016 the question of returning back the Old Julian calendar for all Church feasts might be also raised and resolved, once and for all.

As a closure I'll say that the most important thing why Pascha tends to falls different from Catholics is to show that actually the Eastern Orthodox Church is the original Church and different from Roman Catholic and the true Church of Christ falling the prescription of the Church fathers.

P.S. As the so called "Holy Orthodox Council", often called by many 8th ecumenical counil already has taken place in Crete and there was no real signs for it to be neither ecuminical nor holy as the Bulgarian, The Russian, Antiochian and Georgian Orthodox Churches refused to take participation and the overall observation online from their website holycouncil.org  evidently shows that this council is not needed neither solved any of the real important non-doctrinal problems of the Orthodox Church it also prooved to be a PR kind of council trying to make in the eyes of the world the ecumenical patriarch Bartholomeo to look like an Orthodox Church (head) pope and perhaps the ones who organized this council had this intention together with the intention to put even more confusion concerning the unity of the Orthodox Church and separate the chirch into two parties (a conservatives) and (liberals) sides.
Also after the council finalized it prooved not to be really what it meant to be Thanks be to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The refusal of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to take participation in the council from my point of view as a member of the Orthodox Church was a right one and has delayed the plans of global enemies of the church to destroy it.
An interesting rumor is the holy council in Crete was sponsored with 70 000 000 from anonymous donators within United States some priests claim the money come from secret societies such as free masonry also it is mostly ridiculous the costs that this ecumenical council impeded.

 

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New Russian Saint canonized in Bulgaria Archibishop Seraphim (Sobolev) a true defender of true Christ given faith, the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Archibishop_Seraphim_Sobolev-Russian-Church-in-Bulgaria

 

It is my great joy to share with my dear readers, that Archibishop Saint Seraphim Sobolev (1881-1950), Archibishop of Bogochar has been canonized officially by the Russian Orthodox Church on yesterday 3rd of 2016 in their plenary meeting
held at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow.

Saint Seraphim Sobolev, has long time has been considered a saint by many Bulgarians and Russians in Bulgaria, for his countless spiritual intercessions for those who venerate him
and ask for his prayer and spiritual guidance. St. Seraphim Sobolev crypt in the Russian Orthodox Chruch in Sofia Bulgaria in honor of Saint Nicolas.

Even my joy is greater his Eminence Metropolitan Ioan (John) of Varna and Veliki Preslav, who happens also the Bishop of my birth place Dobrich, Bulgaria was present On the official canonization.
Also it is not a coincidence that our Metropolitan Ioan was present at the canonization, since he happens to be a spiritual child of a direct disciple of st. Seraphim Sobolev.

Some other notable bishop presents at the canonization Church service was, His Grace Bishop Arseny of Znepolsk, Vicar of the Plovdiv Metropoliate, and Archimandrite Feoktist (Dimitrov), representative of the Bulgarian Patriarch to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.  The overall count of Bishops, Archibishops and Metropolitans who took participation in the canonization was approximately 320, almost all the bishops of Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate).

The news that holy Seraphim Sobolev is considered for canonization has been sweeping the Bulgarian Church space for a long time. A nice priest lady has made even a notable movie, about the saint pointing the general turning points of his difficult life, last year and the movie was presented in the Russian Cultural Center in Sofia Bulgaria, below is the movie (unfortunately in Bulgaria and Russian), hopefully soon someone to translate it also to English:

full of a lot of sorrow and uncertainties, because of the harsh Soviet time in which the saint was serving the Church.
In order to caninize a saint, the process is quite long and usually in Russian Church it takes pretty longer sometimes from 20 to 50 years, however with St. Seraphim Soboev, already 66 years already passed since his peaceful passing to Christ on 26th February 1950. The head of the local Russian Church council was his Eminence Patriarch Kiril Bishop of Moscow and all Russia.

 The members of the Council unanimously voted for the glorification of Archbishop Seraphim, who has been venerated for many years in Bulgaria and Russia. Metropolitan Ilarion then read the Act of the Holy Council of Bishops announcing the canonization of Archbishop Seraphim among the host of saints. The Council members then sang the exaltation to the newly-glorified saint. His Holiness Patriarch Kirill then gave Metropolitan Ioann an icon of St Seraphim painted at St Petersburg Theological Academy as a gift to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.


The full canonization title given to st. Seraphim Sobolev (archibishop Bogocharski) from Sofia (The Wonder worker).

picture-of-saint-Seraphim-Sobolev

So who is Archibishop Seraphim Sobolev?

St. Nicolas Borisovich Sobolev is born on 1st of December 1881 in Russia, province of Rezan in the Russian Empire. After completion of seminary in 1904, he entered Saint Peterburg spiritual academy, which he completed in 1908 y. with the honour of candidate of Theological studies.
At that time he has been ordained for hieromonk. After a short pastoral service in a school in Jitomir, in 1909 fr. Seraphim become a helpng overseer in Kalujsk spiritual school in 1911 and was inspector in the seminary of Kostroma, in 1912 he become a rector of the spiritual seminary in Voronej.

While in Vironej he had experience the terrors of Red (Soviet) Revolution. In autumn of 1919 archimandrite Seraphim went to Ekaterinodar and from then transferred to Crimea. There in 14.10.1920, he was ordained in bishop Lubenski. The ordaining was God's plan for him and also happened perhaps, because of the need of bihops, because of mass inprisonment of bishops and archibishops by the red beasts of the communist party.

With the blessing of his spiritual elder bishop Seraphim has left Russia. From this day on his life is a life of an emigrant. For a while he has taught Theology in the spiritual school of Constantionople's patriarchy on the Island of Chalkidiki.
In 1921 he was assigned as a bishop of the Christian temple in the Russian Church in honour of Saint Nicolas the Wonderworker in Sofia which was made as a monument of The Bulgarian Liberation – the Russian-Turkish Liebaration war.
Same year with a decree of patriarch Tikhon, who now is also canonized – st. Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow and all Russia he was assigned to govern the Russian parishes in Bulgaria with the archibishop title Bogucharski.
Until 1944, bishop Seraphim who in 1934, became archibishop was under the jurisdiction of Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia (ROCOR) from 1934.
In 1945 he has joined back to the Russian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchy. In 1948 archibishop Seraphim took participation in the All-Orthodox gathering in  Moscow.
St. Seraphim Sobolev was a fervent fighter for holy and true orthodoxy and a great enemy of the movement of Ecumenism movement (a movement aiming to unite all Orthodox and then all Churches under the government of a protestant like body called World Council of Churches).
All his life just like Jesus Christ, st. Seraphim Sobolev has lived without possessing on own house. He paid for his one room apartment from his small money priest sallary which at that time was hardly enough to pay his rent and for some food. He lived all his life renting an apartment with his own money, (something which was absolutely unthinkable), for a bishop of all Russian eparchies of Bulgaria at that times.
Even during lifetime, he helped and turned a lot of people from the sinful ways leading to death, had a lot of spiritual children after him, he established a small nun monastery Kniajevo nearby Sofia.
He also was one a fervent fighter against the cult of Dynovism (Danovism), started by anti-christian posing christian, Peter Dynov.
St. Seraphim Sobolev was a fervent defender of Orthodoxy, freely showing up the delusions of Roman-Catholicism, Protestantism, Pentecostals, Baptism, Adventism and was strongly against the popular at that time united prayers between Orthodox and non-orthodox christian teachings. He is also an author of Theological literature who in details makes a comparison between Anglican Protestant Christianity and the Eastern Orthodoxy.

St Seraphim, denounced on a multiple occasions, the movement of ecumenism as being anti-christian and not in the spirit of the one Holy Eastern Orthodox Church, thus all his life and all his spiritual children were strongly trying to hold the Church teachings, was supporters of the celebration of Church feasts under the Julian calender, and was against the untroduction of the Gregorian Calendar – so called new Style calender in the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

It has to be said that it is a bit of paradox that the canonization of st. Seraphim Sobolev was made by the Russian Church, as the Russian Orthodox Church, along with Romanian and Serbian and many other Orthodox Churches continues to be an active member in the Ecumenical Movement. Because of St. Seraphim Sobolev even to these days, there are a lot of Christians who continue to follow the old Julian Calendar feasts style, the so cold Old Calendarists.

The most notable work of st. Seraphim Sobolev in my humble opinion is the creation of Acathist of the Greatest Bulgarian Saint, Saint John of Rila.

Perhaps as a fervent fighter to keep the true teaching of the Holy Orthodox Church and his incessant labor for the true Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, God give him a blessed departure from earthly life to the saviour of mankind the Lord Jesus Christ on the Church feast day of Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy.

For the 66 years since his passing to Christ, each day on the grave of st. Seraphim Sobolev has been served a special service for co-memoration of the deceased and for forgiveness of his sins called in orthodox terminology Panihida, and the remembemrance of all the brothers and sisters in Christ who has departed from life.

http://pc-freak.net/images/saint_Seraphim_Sobolev-Russian_Orthodox-Church-Bulgaria-new-canonized-saint

There is plenty of things online already online about St. Seraphim Sobolev, one good link with a bit of short biography worthy to check is here. For those who live in Bulgaria and want to get a book on his living

The grave of Saint Seraphim Sobolev is situated in a small chapel (crypt) located in the center of Sofia, Bulgaria, Russian Orthodox Church, St. Nicolas. Even to this day people go daily on a big queues to ask the saint for help in hardships in life.
The accepted way that people turn for prayer intercession is by writting their beseeches, needs, problems on a piece of paper and then dropping the small letter in a box called (Iashtik)  Russian.
I myself have been there and prayed and a lot of the things, I've asked the saint for my personal life and well being already come true. I know also of other people who by the prayers of the saint has been saved from a impossible to escape situations and a lot of people received spiritual confort and peace as well as spiritual healing when turning to the saint.
Saint Seraphim Sobolev, pray the Lord Jesus Christ for us the sinful Bulgarians and all the suffering people around the world, for the refugees, for the sick for the hungry for the homeless and for all nations that we turn to repentance and come back to the way of salvation you Lord Jesus has shown to the nations.

 

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A proof Islam is false religion not pleasable to God? 717 people died during Hajj in Mecca on Greatest Muslim feast Kurban Bayrami

Friday, September 25th, 2015

The frequent deaths in Mecca in Muslim Islamic Hajj a proof islam is a false religion

This year on 24 September, for one more time on the day of Greatest Muslim feast Eid-Al-Adha in turkey known as Kurban Bayrami (translated as Feast of Sacrifice) Saudi Arabia's Hajj (during the veneration of the greatest Muslim relic Kaaba (stone)  in Mecca (said to be the birth place of Muhammad), again at least  717 poor people were killed (crushed to death) and 863 injured during Hajj's common million muslim people's prayer gathering. |

Sadly Incidents like this for Muslim pilgrims are not news and they happen quite often sadly and if taken the statistics of death toll of pilgrims for the past years is shocking.

Here are some statistics on the latest 25 years of deaths of pilgrims on a Hajj travel or those who directly died in Mecca:

Mosquee_Masjid_el_Hara_a_Mecque
 

Some notable incidents during Hajj and Mecca pilgrimages in the last 25 years include:
 

  • July 2, 1990: A stampede inside a pedestrian tunnel (Al-Ma'aisim tunnel) leading out from Mecca towards Mina and the Plains of Arafat led to the deaths of 1,426 pilgrims, many of them of Malaysian, Indonesian and Pakistani origin.[2][3]
  • May 23, 1994: A stampede killed at least 270 pilgrims at the stoning of the Devil ritual.
  • April 9, 1998: at least 118 pilgrims were trampled to death and 180 injured in an incident on Jamarat Bridge.[4]
  • March 5, 2001: 35 pilgrims were trampled to death in a stampede during the stoning of the Devil ritual.[5]
  • February 11, 2003: The stoning of the Devil ritual claimed 14 pilgrims' lives.[6]
  • February 1, 2004: 251 pilgrims were killed and another 244 injured in a stampede during the stoning ritual in Mina.[7]
  • January 12, 2006: A stampede during the stoning of the Devil on the last day of the Hajj in Mina killed at least 346 pilgrims and injured at least 289 more. The incident occurred shortly after 13:00 local time, when a busload of travellers arrived together at the eastern access ramps to the Jamarat Bridge. This caused pilgrims to trip, rapidly resulting in a lethal stampede. An estimated two million people were performing the ritual at the time.
  • September 24, 2015: 717 pilgrims were killed and another 800 injured during a stampede in the 2015 Hajj


The Kabba stone is the central pilgrimage place for muslims and accoriding to Islam faith it is a stone which came from heaven, there are pleny of legends and superstitious speculations regarding this stone circulating among muslims and it is hard to say which is really true, however what is sure is Hajj on Mecca has been practiced by muslims since the early days of Islam even to this very day.

From a Christian staind point going to venerate a stone is simply a venerating an idol (as a stone is a creation) and not the creator and is very different from us Christians venerating the icons, as we venerate not the icon itself but the image of personality depicted on it The Lord Jesus Christ (Christ meaning Messiah), The Most holy Theotokos Virgin Mary, John the Baptist the Angels, Archangels and Saints who immitated Christ's life and who reached immerse holines even in this life being able to perform miracles.

Tomb-of-Islam-creator-Mohammad

One really strange thing which I guess no muslim could answer is why if Muhammad was the greatest and last prophet of Allah, he did not perform any miracles in lifetime or after death. Another thing is the veneration of the grave of Muhammad (At the Green Dome) practiced in Islam that is a really strange thing and contradicts the laws of the Qu'ran instructing not to venerate anything except Ala.

I would say the main proof against Islam as being the right faith in God is the fact Muhammad died like every normal person. The greatest venerated prophet for 1.5 billion muslims more venerated even than the Isa's Allah messanger (Isa is Jesus's name in Qu'ran) died like every normal person with a peaceful death without any super-natural indication he was a prophet after his death.

In Christianity we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the son of God (The Father the Son and the Holy Spirit) which we call The Holy Trinity (a undividable unity between the 3 hyposthasis.
The proof for us Christians that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Savior of Mankind is the empty Tomb (Grave of Christ), because JESUS HAS RISEN AND WITH BODY IN HEAVEN!
 

It is interesting that these bright days for muslims often end up with immerse sorrow for some families which loose beloved husbands in accidents like this.

Interestingly on Christian Easter feast be it Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox there is no records of tragic incidents.
Even it can be considered a miracle that on Eastern feasts in Jerusalem's Church of Resurrection where the Lord Jesus Christ has been risen (resurrected) from the dead there are no crushing incidents even though the big crowds, neither there are any burned people even though the whole Holy Sepulchure (Resurrection) church is filled with people holding lighted up candles with the every year reoccuring of Miracle Holy Fire.

The_Ressurrection_of_Christ-orthodox-icon

The lack of incidents on The day of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (Eastern) in my humble opionion is a clear sign that this feast is a pleasing God.

Muslims believe and claim that it is the greatest joy of all to die for (God) Allah and those incidents are sent blessing from Allah for those who died in those incidents and in a sense dying for God is a blessing if you die for God's sake as a martyr while testifying faith in God but being killed while you're on a way to venerate God seems a bit illogical to me.
I have red the Holy Bible Old Testament as well as the Qu'ran sometimes ago two books which more or less are being regarded by muslims and in none of them I found not a story of someone on the way to pilgrim God or who have promised to pilgrim God who have been killed, so I guess this kind of thinking is an invention of Mullam / Imams who try to justify the event and make it look beneficial for islaam, a justification which I believe most of people looking for truth and non muslims would never justity.

Crucifixion_by_Theophanes_the_Cretan

From a my view point the crushment of people during a pilgrimage is a clear sign God's Grace and Holy Angels doesn't guard the place but the devil is let to often kill those poor people because of the rejection of muslims of the true Light the Lord Jesus Christ as a true Son of God and a saviour of the Lord who came to give his holy life on the cross not only for Christians who believed in him but for all People from all religions in the world from all ages including the direct descending from Muhammad (as I heard from some Kurdish muslim people) Muslim.

I pray our Lord Jesus Christ to have mercy on the  souls of all this Mecca pilgrimages who died yesterday and the in the past accidents through the years and to have mercy and open the spiirtual eyes of Muslim around the world and enlighten them with the truthful word of the Holy Gospel.

 

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Redirect www to non www with .htaccess Apache rewrite rule

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

http://www.pc-freak.net/images/redirect_domain_name_without_changing_url_apache_rewrite_rule_preventing_host_in_ip_mod_rewrite_
Sometimes it happens that some websites are indexed in Search Engines (Google, Yandex, Yahoo, Bing, Ask Jeeves etc.) with www.website-name.com and you want to get rid of the www in the hostname in favour of just the hostname in terms of Apache .htaccess redirect. I knwo redirect www to non-www, might seem a bit weird as usually people want to redirect their website domain without www to point to www but there is a good reason for that weirdness, if you're a Christian and you dislike the fact that WWW is being red as Waw Waw Waw's or Vav / Vav Vav letters in Hebrew which represents in hebrew 666 or the mark of the beast prophecised in last book of Holy Bible (Revelation) written by saint John, the book is also called often Apocalypse.

Using Apache mod_rewrite's .htaccess is a good way to do the redirect especially if you're in a shared hosting, where you don't have direct access to edit Apache Virtualhost httpd.conf file but have only access to your user's home public_html directory via lets say FTP or SFTP.

To achieve the www to non-www domain URL redirect, just edit .htaccess with available hosting editor (in case if shell SSH access is available) or web interface or download the .htaccess via FTP / SFTP modify it and upload it back to server.

You need to include following mod_rewrite RewriteCond rules to .htaccess (preferrably somewhere near beginning of file):
 

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.Your-Website.org [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://Your-Website.org/$1 [L,R=301]


As .htaccess is being dynamically red by Apache's mod_rewrite module no Apache webserver restart is required and you should see immediately the affect, hopefully if the webhosting doesn't imply some caching with mod_cache or there is no some cache expiry setting preventing the new .htaccess to be properly redable by webserver.
Also in case of troubles make sure the new uploaded .htaccess file is properly readable e.g. has some permissions such as 755. Also in case if it doesn't immediately works out, make sure to clean up your browser cache and assure your browser is not configured to use some caching proxy host (be it visible or transparent).
Besides this would work and your Search Engines in future will hopefully stop indexing your site with WWW. in front of domain name, there is a downside of using .htaccess instead of including it straight into Apache's VirtualHost configuration is that this will cause a bit of degraded performance and add some milliseconds slowness to serve requests to your domain, thus if you're on your own dedicated server and have access to Apache configuration implement the www to non www hostname redirect directly using VirtualHost as explained in my prior article here

 

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Axion Estin – It is Truly Meet feast in Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Today is a glorious feast in Eastern Orthodox Churches (especially in Slavonic ones) because on this day an ArchAngel Gabiel on Holy Mount Athos in year 773  handed an Angel song in praise of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary), Mother of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

 

Dostojno_est_It-is-truly-meet-orthodox_icon
 

Liturgical use

The hymn is chanted at Matins, Compline, and other services; but its most important occurrence is at the Divine Liturgy, where it is chanted at the conclusion of the Anaphora. The second half of the hymn, "More honorable…" is frequently chanted before the dismissal which concludes services.

Often, the chanting of this hymn is followed by either a metania or a prostration.

It is truly meet In Church Slavonic

Досто́йно ’е́сть ’я́ко вои́стину блажи́ти Тѧ֨, Богоро́дицу,
Присноблаже́нную ’и Пренепоро́чную ’и Ма́терь Бо́га на́шего.
Честне́йшую херуви́мъ ’и сла́внейшую безˈ сравне́ния серафи́мъ, безי ᾿истле́ния Бо́га Сло́ва ро́ждшую,
су́щую Богоро́дицу, Тя֙ велича́емъ.

 


It is Truly Meet in Bulgarian / Достойно есть

 

Достойно е, наистина, да Те облажаваме, Богородице,
винаги блажена и пренепорочна и Майка на нашия Бог.

По-чтима от херувимите и несравнено по-славна от серафимите,
нетленно родила Бог Слово, същинска Богородица, Те величаем.

 

Holy_Mother-of-God-Theotokos-All-the-world-rejoice-in-you

All the World rejoices in You Holy Icon

Axion Estin (Greek) – It is truly meet

It is truly right to bless thee, O Theotokos,
thou the ever blessed, and most pure, and the Mother of our God.
Thou the more honorable than the cherubim,
and beyond compare more glorious than the seraphim,
who without corruption gavest birth to God the Word,
thou the true Theotokos, we magnify thee.

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