Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

Saint George’s day in an Elder – Spiritual father Georgi (91 years old Priest) in Jeglarci’s Village Bulgaria

Friday, May 9th, 2014

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This year on 6th of May – saint George's day Church feast and army celebration in Bulgaria I had the blessing to be in a small village with 868 citizens – Jiglarci (Jeglarci).
Jeglarci is situated about 40 km from Dobrich. Father Georgi from Jiglarci is a well known priest in Dobrich region. He is spiritual father of many priests, monks and nuns here in Bulgaria. This is the 3rd time I'm visiting Jiglarci one time I was on Great and Holy Friday – the day on which the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified and one time I was a few months ago with some brothers and sisters from Holy Trinity Church in Dobrich. This time I had the blessing to go fr. Georgi with my wife Svetlana with Russian family from moscow Mihail and Mariana, and Denica (a sister from Church in Dobrich).

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The Church saint George in Jeglarci village

Each time I visit father Georgi I have the blessing to see and hear a living proof of God's existence. Father's Georgi from Jeglarci is famous all around Bulgaria for being one of the spiritual elders of Bulgaria. He is now 91 years old but even though his age  continues his service for God (serves Holy Liturgy every day during great Lent!), continue to preach and accept dozens of people almost daily looking for spiritual advice, spiritual help, confession, or questions on how to deal with life hardship situations.
Father Georgi is known in the world under the secular name Georgi Stoyanov Peev his life is full of miracles, interesting events and wondrous facts. In communism times of atheism and Orthodox Christian faith persecutions, father Georgi was one of the many priests who underwent tortures and persecutions for his faith in Christ. Because of his firm faith of zealous priest, the Lord endowed the fr. with great spiritual gifts. In short I will mention some facts about fr. Georgi From Jeglarci life as the father is an example of a living saint, very much like another Bulgarian Church Elder (Dijado) Dobri from Baylovo.

Father Georgi has been nurtured with Christian virtues since his childhood – his aunt (sister of his father) was a nun. By his own words, "Since a child, the joy of my life was in faith". Since his youth years his faith was strong and because of that God has helped him in numerous times. Fr. Georgi had 6 children 3 sons and 3 daughters. All of his sons choose the way of priesthood and are now priests in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. His nephew fr. Stoyan is also a priest in Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Dobrich. The father become priest while being 43 years old, by studying in seminary after feeing the call of God and need for firm believers and mass disbelieve in atheistic communist times. In seminary father Georgi studied together with his son. To be able to support himself and his family financially, he worked all kind of hard labour  (sand mining near his village). His all life was labor and prayer in all his free time during studing he learned the church services, readhing the living of saints and holy bible.

Thanks to the house whom he turned into a small chapel almost 20 people become priests later in Bulgarian Orthodox Church. In his priesthood fr. Georgi was among the minority which opposed the ungodly communistic regime, he rejected to comply with communist desires to close the Church in Jeglarci and as a responce to their closure opened as a Church his own house. He was questioned and asked for reports being increminated from local Communist authorities, threatened with death and called in police stations many times because of his refusal to stop his service in Church and preaching the Gospel.

Here is a story of fr. Georgi's youth:

"Our Lord as a Good Father, not only listens our prayers but also reads in the hearts. In 1953 my brother Atanas was a soldier. We received a letter, that soldiers will be dismissed in January next year, this was a very long time. It was st. Dimiter's feast and I wanted my brother to be home for Christmas. At night I prayed the Lord, simple and by all my heart: "Lord for you nothing is hard or impossible. I beg you – in one way or another make it possible, that my brother Atanas to come home earlier.

I had a strong faith in God. My faith in God was so strong that I was feeling like being able to fly. In 3 days later only, when I saw my brother Atanas on the front door, my legs started shaking and I sat down, started crying and in my thoughts started giving thanks to the Lord, "Lord, Lord I'm a big sinner and what you've done for me the sinner …
In a short while, my brother told me how in a human way everything ordered in a way that he was able to come home, 3 days after my prayer. When I received the letter on St. Dimiter's day I've prayed, the prayer was heard and God moved. The human mind is a spiritual substance connected with God. God orders things and we in a human way receive them. On the next day after st. Dimiter's feast the coy was gathered and the commander said, "Atanas Stoyanov Peichev, make 5 steps forward and start Marching!". Together with another man commander sent them in hospital, where a doctor had to inspect their health. The two soldiers took their luggate, foreseeing that they might be kept in hospital. The health check prooved they're healthy. There were 4 months until service completion but in hospital the doctor told them – "Come on go home. Your service is over". – Do you see how in a human way the things ordered. Disbelievers would say it was a coincidence but believers knows the Lord hears our prayers, when they're prayed by our whole being and with pure heart."

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Saint George Church in Jeglarci – Altar and Dveri

Another of his stories is connected with fasting:

"The fasting of the body is a big power. It does clean up the body and draws us near God. The fasting gives a big power. I was hindered in many ways, disbelieving authorities in the village has done me many attempts to do me evil but the Lord has saved me. Didn't allowed them nothing bad to happen to me. He grant me powers, spirit to speak the truth and to not resign from righteousness. But I leave fasting …

Fasting and Prayer are lights leading to God. I was warned 3 times by our Lord about fasting significance. When we were living in North Dobrudja, following thing happened to me: " I was 15 years old. Near our village Karamankyoij a river rich of fish was flowing. One day my bigger brother cought a lot of fish from the white one. My father and all of us was tempted, we wanted eating and it was during the Great Lent. My father said, "Okay prepare the fish and let us eat, God will forgive us?" Notice he said that in faith! apostol Paul writes, 'who eat eats for the Lord and who doesn't eat- also doesn't eat for the Lord'". We have done so as well, we were big family 7-8 children,  grandma, grandpa, my father, mother. Some eat others doesn't. I was in the group of those who ate. We ate and we went to bed. A sudden pain in stomach came … hard to explain. Nothing helps, a thought came to my mind: "Lord forgive me, I will no longer eat fish during fasting". The pain immediately disappeared I immediately got well.

But unfortunately I was weak. On the other day my brother prepared fish again and invited me.

– Genyo, come lets eat.
– I suffered yesterday – I don't want.
– Don't worry your pains was from something else not from the fish, come eat I beg you.

I was tempted and ate. We played until night time and all was well with me. In night, I fall asleep, but suddenly the pain come again, 3 times more painful. I thought I am dying, I was all sweating. My mother and grandma tried to heal me but nothing helped. Then I turned with a prayer to the Lord: "Please Lord forgive me this time also." And out of a sudden I hear a noise like from many waters coming like from heaven. Something went through me and took away the pain. There was a flash in front of my eyes. Do you see how merciful is the Lord!"

Among the many spiritual gifts of fr. Georgi is the gift of "foreseeing" (thoughts and deeds, and future). Many people who visited him later narrated the father told them things which helped them improve their spiritual life. During my first visit of the father I had the possibility to raise few questions on my spiritual life, his answers was a proove for myself that the fr. has truly the gift of sagacity.
Father Georgi had many dreams during his life and many of his dreams were prophetic about future events to come. By his own words often God spoke to him in "dreams and visions". A very notable gift he has is the gift of humility and pure Godly love. He speaks in his stories about everyone including of many who tried to do him evil with profound love and forgiveness.

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By prayers of father Georgi many miracles has happened, he openly speaks of this miracles, believing that through this the weak in faith are strengthened. The father says "Even if the whole earth is convincing me to deny what I saw and experienced with my spiritual eyes I will not forsake.

His humility is sincere, he says about himself: "I am just negligible mot and the miracle is not in human deed but in God's. God uses a lot simple people and through them creates miracle to edify "the smart", those which is of God is being remembered like it happened today.  Wondrous are God's deeds!"

fr-Georgi-Jeglarci-elder-of-Dobrich-Bulgaria-1
 

"The Spiritual deed is very hard. I have worked many kind of works, when you get tired you take a rest, and for the spirit there is no rest.
What to say, how to behave, how to determine the spiritual in you, to be vigilant for your food and for body pureness for pureness of your thoughts and your heart … And of course the Prayer! This is a hard labour. The devil is trying to hit us exactly there, because in all those is the direct relationship with God. Your thought is careless, you remember "important" things, you get tired to be concentrated … And it is most harder to collect your mind and feelings and enter the heart with pure infinite faith that the Lord is with you and he hears you and then pray from all your heart and soul … So is this all easy?! And there is no end and there is no station. But once you live like this there is delight and you can't live no longer in another way …"

 

 

Thomas Sunday – The day of Disbelievers

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Thomas-sunday-the-day-of-disbelieve-Thomas-reaching-to-Jesus-wounds

A week passed since we Christian celebrated Resurrection of Christ (Pascha). Each year on first Sunday after Easter in orthodox Church is celebrated the so called Thomas Sunday. So why is it called Thomas Sunday and why it is the day of disbelievers?
The root of this ancient Christian feast comes after commemoration of Christ desciple St. Thomas who disbelieved the testimony of ( 10 apostles ) and the Virgin Mary  that Jesus Christ is Risen from the Death.

The disbelieve of Thomas was logical and human cause even though Thomas was with the Apostles with Christ for 3 years, saw all Jesus miracles and shared the Secret Supper (Last Supper), and even knew in advance (heard by Jesus on Last supper) that Jesus will betrayed mocked, hanged on the Cross and Rise from the death on the third day, he disbelieved.

Thomas Sunday (Sundy of Thomas) is "the day of Disbelievers", because all are disbelievers in moments of their life not only those who believe God but all the humanity!  Even the most faithful Christian, be it a deacon, monk or priest has difficult moments in life where God's existence or providence for one's faith is seriously questioned.
The fallen nature of man is such that the initial belief in God given to man in Eden (Paradise garden) is broken, and only in Jesus's name through the Gift of Faith given by the Holy Spirit, believe in God is restored.

Thomas very much like unto everyone of us doubted the rumors of Christ resurrection and said he would only believe in Resurrected Christ only if he sees his hands nails print and put his fingers into Christ’s wounds to test he is not seeing a Ghost but Christ is alive in a body after his death.

Here is the Gospel reading re-telling the story in short:

“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” (John 20:19)

“But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:24-26)

And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31)

We Christians should be joyful for have not seen Christ in Flesh but have believed for we are blessed for his believe without seeing.

By same faith in God without seeing him even in old times the Jews were led by the Lord God in the desert have won wars by their believing without seeing God, prophets has prophecised, Simeon (The God receiver) hold The Savior (Christ) in his hands, by faith David won the battle with Goliath, by faith we understand the universe was formed at God’s command, by faith we know that the visible came out of the invisible.

o Kyrios mou kai o Theos mou (Greek) – My Lord and my God (Jn. 20:28) this declaration of faith clearly shows an unexpressable excitement of Thomas and his unexpectency to see Christ resurrected. Here it is interesting that here the son of God Jesus Christ is called by Thomas exactly how Jewish used to call God Yahweh (One and Only God) in the Old testament.

Today the evangical story is very accurate for our generation – a generation of disbelievers, even we who say we believe often doesn’t justify our believe with our deeds, we say we believe but we don’t keep God’s commandment “to love God and our neigbor like ourselves.” Often only difference between believers and disbelievers is on Sunday we believers visit Church and “play Christians”, but even but in daily life our deeds are same like unbelievers. Often many are disbelievers not because they reject God but because they never heard the Gospel or misheard it, also we disbelieve because we’re very much like st. Thomas, we often say “I will believe in God if I see him”, but even Thomas who saw God before the Crucifix and knew him disbelieved – a proof that often seing once could still leave space for doubt. The glorious event of Christ showing himself Alive to Thomas was made by Christ to establish the Church and strengthen faith of first Christians in resurrection. Nowadays there are plenty of people who question God’s existence saying that they will believe if they see but they’re not given to see the resurrected Christ because God knows that even if we see the Lord Jesus Christ resurrected we would try to rationally explain the phenomenon with holograms, modern technology or science.

Thomas Sunday is not only a day of Thomas disbelieve it is a day of disbelieve of all humanity. , St. Thomas should be an example even to all of us Christian disbelievers and non-believers that even if we disbelieve and doubt and strive to see God, He is powerful to come and appear Resurrected in His Glory to our souls.
Let us therefore have the Wisdom of the Holy Apostles and say together with them “Lord, Increase our faith.” Luke 17:5

Christ is Risen! Truly he is Risen ! – Christ is Risen in many Languages Happy Easter ! :)

Monday, April 21st, 2014

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For one more year its the feast of feasts. Demons Fall, Angels sing in Heaven, People rejoice because Christ is Risen !  This is a day which God created for us to rejoice! Let nobody be sorrowful for the kingdom of Heaven is open for everyone! Let nobody cry for his sins because forgiveness has risen from the grave of the Savior !
Let nobody be afraid from Death cause Christ – Savior's death has released us from death!

"Peace be on you" – said Christ to his followers, conforting and strengthening their faith in the Resurrection.
The savior appears to every Christian in the same way to hear his  voice saying "Rejoice!" Let we keep in our souls the graceful joy of Easter and by the same grace and faith always triumpth over sorrowful times and hardships of earthly life.

In the spiritual fight we are not alone. Always until the end of ages the Resurrected Savior Jesus is with us according to his promise "I'm with you until the end of ages" (Mathew 28:20)

Christ is Risen Troparion in many languages (part 1)

Christ is Risen Troparion in many languages (part 2 )

 

 

"I am the resurrection and the Life whoever believes in me even he dies he will live" (John 11:25)
This is the eternal life given to us all Christians let us not be ashamed and loudly great all with

 

 

CHRIST IS RISEN!
 

Russians Celebrate Christmas / Why some Orthodox Christians celebrate Nativity ( Christmas ) on 7th of January

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

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Merry Christmas to all Eastern Orthodox Christians!

I wish to all my Russian blog readers Christ's blessings, Wisdom of the 3 Wise man following the star. Humility of Christ for being born in a Cave and love of Mother of God Virgin Mary and Joseph to the incarnated Lord in flesh, Joy of the universe for the Universe rejoiced seing the birth of the savior of us sinful humans!

On 7th of January, the day on which biggest part of Eastern Orthodox Church,- Russian Orthodox Church along with Ukrainian, Macedonian, Croation, Serbian Arabic and part of Greek orthodox Church and Holy Mount Athos celebrate the day of Christ's birth. The original place where the Lord Jesus Christ was born as we read in the Gospels is BethlehemAccording to Church tradition on top of the Cave (known as Grotto) where the savior was born a Church basilica was built around year 333 A.D..

church of nativity bethlehem nowadays palestine - Jesus Christ birth place

The first Church building on top of Nativity Cave begun by Saint Helena, the mother of saint Emperor Constantine.

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The Basilica was destroyed a couple of times throughout the 3th, 4th, 5th, 10-th , 14-th and 18-th centuries in attempt to wipe out memory for Christ's birth and futile attempt of early times Roman emperors to destroy christianity.
Today Bethlehem Church is situated on Palestinian territories and place for pilgrimage of both Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians. Its
interior is a very interesting mixture of a classic Orthodox Christian and a Roman Catholic basillica.

Church of the Holy Nativity Christs birth place Bethlehem

There is plenty of confusion and misunderstanding on the topic why bigger part of Christians worldwide celebrate Christmas on 24th against 25th of December and why more than half of Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate on 6th against of 7th of January?

In fact it is interesting fact that in the early Christian one holy apostolic Church, Christmas and Eastern was celebrated many times as this two feasts since beginning of the Church are center of Christian faith. In later times, when Church was already formed as an Eastern and Western Church, there are Church canons on exact date to celebrate Christmas and Eastern following the Julian Calendar (introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BC). In later times with development of Science it was found that this calendar was not so precise and another Church calendar was introduced in y. 1582 by Roman Catholic pope Gregory XVIII (Gregorian Calendar named after pope). I will not get into details but from modern science Astronomical point of view Gregorian calendar is more scientifically correct. The Gregorian calendar quickly become in secular life because of its mathematical precision. And by Western Roman Catholic church Influence and desire to be more scientifically correct parts of the Eastern Orthodox Church partly accepted use of the Gregorian Calendar for counting the Church feasts. Because of that many of the feasts in those Eastern Orthodox Churches moved in forward with 13 days like the Romanian and Bulgarian Orthodox Church. However due to Church canon part of the feasts in Eastern Church can't be celebrated according to the Gregorian Calendar dates. Most important feast dates is the Resurrection day (Eastern), which according to Orthodox Church rule has always to be one week after the Jewish Pascha. There are plenty of problems that emerged due to change of acceptance of reformed Church calendar in part of the Eastern Orthodox Church, however what is most important is that the difference doesn't separate Orthodox Christian it just gives us reason to celebrate feast twice 🙂

Merry Christmas from Pomorie Monastery and a small monastic fire that ended well

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

chestito-rojdestvo-hristovo-merry-Christmas-a-monastery-fire-stopped-by-Gods-grace

I spend the Christmas eve for a first time in Monastery with the brotherhood in Pomorie monastery. The night on 24-th against 25-th when Christmas is celebrated in Bulgaria was marked by the usual morning service and a Holy Liturgy. Silent Night Holy Night song was sung in the Church near the end of the Holy Liturgy.

All went well except small fire incident, out of a suddenr right after the end of the Church service a fire ignited  in one of the monastery store rooms. Actually it was a huge miracle that the fire didn't spread in whole monastic cell buildings as the fire used to be active without anyone noticing it for about 6 hours or so. The restult of fire was that  just one room full of sheets and sanitary equipment burn out completely. The fire happened in a room nearby my room on second stage one stage lower (on first floor). The fire brigade come quickly and stashed the fireplace without serious troubles.

The fire would have quickly spread if in the burning room if only one of the water tubes didn't break up pouring water inside on the burning stuff. The fire emerged around 12:40 and was already еxtinguished for less than hour. Thanks God there was no one in the burning room and no victims  Another sure miracle is that today weather is very calm no wind blowing so fire didn't ignited in a quick pace and was easily extinguished.  

Below are the immersly beautiful Christmas Church Troparion, Kontaktion and Feast singings as translated to English

Thy nativity, O Christ our God,
has shown to the world the light of wisdom;
for by it, those who worshipped the stars
were taught by a star to adore Thee
the Sun of Righteousness,
and to know Thee, the Orient from on high.
O Lord, glory to Thee."

Today the virgin, gives birth to the incomprehensible One;
and the earth offers a cave to the unapproachable One;
Angels and shepherds glorify Him;
the Wisemen journey with a star;
since for our sakes is born the ETERNAL GOD, as a little Child.

Christ is born, glorify him.
Christ is from heaven, go to meet him.
Christ is an earth, be ye lifted up.
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing out with gladness, all ye people.
For he is glorified.

To the Son begotten of the Father
without change before the ages,
and in these last times without seed made flesh from a Virgin,
to Christ God let us cry aloud:
Thou hast exalted our horn. Holy are Thou, O Lord!'

Rod of the root of Jesse,  and flower that blossomed from his stem, O Christ,
Thou hast sprung from the Virgin.
From the Mountain overshadowed by the forest
Thou hast come, made flesh from her that knew not wedlock,
O God who art not formed from matter.
Glory to Thy power, O Lord.

As Thou art God of peace and Father of mercies,
Thou hast sent us Thy Angel of great counsel,
Who grants us peace;
so we are guided by the knowledge of God,
watching before dawn we glorify Thee, only Lover of mankind'.

The monster from the deep
spat Jonas from its bowels like a new born babe,
just as it had received him;
while the Word having dwelt in the Virgin and taken flesh,
came forth, yet kept her incorrupt,
for being himself not subject to decay,
he preserved his mother free from harm'.

The Youths brought up together in godliness,
scorning the impious decree,
feared not the threat of fire,
but standing in the midst of the flame they sang:
God of our Fathers, blessed are Thou!

The furnace moist with dew was the image and the figure of a wonder past nature;
for it did not burn those it had received;
even as the fire of the Godhead
did not consume the Virgin's womb into which it has descended.
Therefore in praise let us sing:
Let all creation bless the Lord,
and highly exalt Him to all the ages.

Magnify, O my soul, the most glorious Theotokos,
more honourable and more glorious than the hosts on high.
'I behold a strange and wonderful mystery,
heaven is the Cave, the Cherubim thrown — Virgin,
the Manger the Place in which Christ lay,
the God whom nothing can contain. Whom we praise and magnify.

I wish to my dear readers have a great and blessed Christmas Holiday time, let Christ's love, peace and mercies are abundant in your hearts!

Orthodox Christian Church songs performance of Psalms 1, 2, 3

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

I have idea to collect if possible all performance of Psalms in the Orthodox Church. I'm not sure if I would be able to find all of them in the internet. So far I could find the first 3 performed by Church choires and monasteries. Hopefully if God bless so I will be able to make a list of all Psalms as Sung by our brothers and sisters in Christ.


 

† Bigorski monastery † – Blessed is the man (Psalm 1) 2007


 

Romanian Orthodox Chant – Psalm 1,2,3 at Putna Monastery


 

PSALM 3 – ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN SONG (Sung by an Orthodox Christian


 

Fr. Yousef Asaad – Psalm 3 (Coptic Orthodox Church chant)

 

Enjoy the first 3 ones! 🙂

The Thrice Holy Orthodox Christian hymn sang on Holy Mount Athos

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

 

Last year by Holy Virgin Mery Theotokos I was able to visit probably the second by holiness place in the world – Holy Athos. Agios Oros as called in greek is an island in the deep of Greece inhabited only by male monks. In fact there is a prophecy that if woman start visiting the place by God's desire the place will sunk. Holy Mount Athos is alsothe biggest orthodox monks community nowdays existing on the planet. Athos is inhabited by more than 1600 monks all from different orthodox nations. Some of the Orthodox Monasteries present by nationalities are:
 

– Ours Bulgarian Monastery (Saint Martyr George the Glory Bringer)
– Serbian
– Russian
– Greek

Probably there are more but this is ruffly the main ones I can remember
There are also Ukrainian and monks belonging to the other orthodox Churches. There are a lot of monks on Agios Oros that still are living a type of life as hermits. Even probably there are secret people who live completely as hermits. As the times are changing quickly and the earth is going to destruction the existence of such a big place inhabited by monks to pray Christ for us is truly a great God mercy to us. If you're interested in Agios Oros and you're orthodox Christian and want to visit it for pilgrimage pray to The Holy Theotokos and if it is God will you will be permitted to go.

The Legend of the Christmas Tree and Why do we put Christmas trees at home in Christmas time? :)

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Why we put Pine tree / Fir in Christmas origins of Christmas tree / Legends for the Christmas Tree
 

Christmas has just passed away. As a Christian I was curious what is the reason in so many Christian countries, we decorate Pine trees and I did a quick research on the topic. In this small article, I'll present my findings.

Observing the Christmas Pine Tree tradition has been quite ancient and probably according to many sources dates back to the XIIth century.
The first written records of a Christmas tree are of an anonymous Frenchman who visited Strasbourg, Germany in 1601. His description of the decoratd pine tree says like "wafers and golden sugar-twists (Barley sugar), roses cut out of many-colored paper, apples, gold foil and sweets."

Later in the 1800s, the local German Christmas pine tree tradition was spread across America by German emmigrants.
In UK the Pine tree decorating tradition appeard in 1841, where a royalty (Prince Albert) decorated his castle (Winston Castle).

A little later after the Queen Victoria adopted the pine tree, United Kingdom citizens started to decorate pine trees for themselves, folliwng the highly regarded Queen.
Usually the pine tree has historically been decorated with gifts as well as an Bright star is put atop.

One of the Christian interpretations for the Christmas tree is that it represents the same Cross (tree) on which Christ was crucifixed. Then after Christ's resurrection because of (or through that) tree, the humanity received the Lord big spiritual blessings. These blessings are represented by the gifts decorated on the Fir tree. The pine tree itself is in Christianity a reference for the symbol of Salvation that we received came from the Holy Cross, where our saviour was crucified.

The Fir is decorated with lights to represent the joy and the lights of Christmas (that burns in our hearts), the star atop the tree is a reminder of the Star that rised in the East during the night of Christ's birth as we read in the gospels.

Roman Catholic Church Christmas Pine Trees
Decorating Pine trees is commonly observed mostly in Roman Catholic Church and often followed by some protestant denominations and less used in Orthodox Church (though this is changing nowdays).

In Eastern Europe, the Christmas tree appeared quite Legends about the Christmas Fir Treelate and the whole concept was unknown in the Orthodox Christian countries, just until the end of the 19th century.

With the recent severe globalization the pine tree was silenty adopted in almost all parts of the world, including even communist countries and even sometimes in muslim ones.
Enormous Fir Tree in Tarnovo city hill Bulgaria

Unfortunately, the relation between the Fir tree and our Christian faith is little known today and with the years to come it will be less and less associated with Christianity.

Here are few interesting legends which I found explaining, some of the possible roots of the Christmas tree decoration:

Legends about the Christmas Fir Tree

1. Legend of the Pine Tree Saving the Holy Family

When the Holy family was pursued by Herod's soldiers, many plants offered to provide them with shelter.
One such plant was the Pine tree. With Mary too weary to travel any longer, the family stopped at the edge of a forest to rest.
A gnarled old Pine which had grown hollow with the years invited them to rest within its trunk.
Then, it closed its branches down upon them, keeping the family safe until the soldiers had passed.
Upon leaving, the Christ Child blessed the Pine and the imprint of his tiny hand was left forever in the tree's fruit… the Pine cone.
If a cone is cut lengthwise, the hand may still be seen.

2. Pine tree and Easter Legend
 

Pine tree on cones on Easter forms Cross shape

There is a legend that pine trees "know" when it's Easter.
The pine trees start their new growth in the weeks before Easter.
If you look at the tops of the pine trees two weeks before Easter you'll see the yellow shoots.
As the days get closer to Easter Sunday, the tallest shoot will branch off and form a cross.
By the time Easter Sunday comes around, you will see that most of the pine trees will have small yellow crosses on all of the tallest shoots.
This really happens we live where there are lots of pines,
and each year this actually happens, it is amazing to watch,
and the process of the new growth appears as crosses on the ends
of each branch.

I've not personally observed that, but according to people who live in pine tree forest areas this is a fact.

3. Legend about M. Luther and the Pine tree

Martin Luther, founder of the Protestant religion, was taking a stroll through the woods late one night.
The sky was clear and many stars were shining through the branches of the trees,
giving the impression of twinkling lights.
Luther was so captivated and inspired by the beautiful brilliance of the sight
that he cut down a small evergreen and brought it home.
He recreated the stars by placing candles upon the tree's branches to imitate
their radiance and presented it to his children.

This story explains why, the pine tree become so wide spread initially in the "western world", as it gives some connection between the Pine tree and Protestant Christianity.

4. The Children Legend of the Fir Tree (Kids Story)

On the night of the Christ Child's birth, all living creatures, both flora and fauna, traveled to Bethlehem bearing gifts.
The Olive tree, for example, brought its fruit and the Palm tree its dates.
But the little Fir tree had no gift and was so tired that it was unable to resist when the larger trees pushed it into the background and hid it from view.
But then, a nearby Angel took pity and commanded a cluster of stars to descend and rest upon its delicate boughs.
When the Baby Jesus beheld this lovely lighted tree, he smiled and blessed it,
declaring henceforth that Fir trees should always be filled with lights at
Christmastime to please little children.
When Christianity first came to Northern Europe, three personages representing
virtues were dispatched from Heaven to place lights on the original Christmas tree.
These personages were Faith, Hope and Charity.
Their search was long, since they were required to find a tree as high as hope, as great as love and as sweet as charity.
In addition, the tree had to bear the sign of the cross on every bough.
Their search finally ended in the forests of the North where they found the Fir.
Lit by the radiance of the stars, it became the first Christmas tree.
The triangular design of the Fir has also been usedto describe the Holy Trinity of God the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.
Eventually, converts began to revere the Fir as God's Tree…as they had once revered the Oak.
By the Twelfth Century it was being hung, upside-down, from ceilings at Christmastime
in Central Europe, as a symbol of Christianity.

5. The Paradise Tree Legend

A very old and delightful European custom centers around decorating a Fir tree with apples and small white wafers which represents the Holy Eucharist.
These wafers were later replaced by small pieces of pastry cut into the shapes of stars, angels, hearts, flowers and bells.
Eventually additional pastries were introduced bearing the shapes of men, birds, roosters and other animals.

During the middle Ages, around the Eleventh century, religious theater was born.
One of the most popular plays …
The German mystery play concerned Adam and Eve and their fall and expulsion from the Garden of Eden, represented by a Fir tree hung with apples.
This tree was symbolic of both the Tree of Life and the Tree of Discernment of Good and Evil, which stood in the center of Paradise.
The play ended with the prophecy of a coming Saviour. For this reason, it was often enacted during Advent.

The one piece of scenery, the "Paradeisbaum" or "Paradise Tree" become a popular object and was often set up in churches.
Eventually it also found its way in private homes and became symbol of the Saviour.
Since the tree was representative not only to Paradise and the fall of man, but also the premise of salvation.
It was hung not merely with apples, but with bread of wafers (Holy Eucharist) and often sweet to represent the sweetness of redemption.
In some areas of Bavaria, fir branches and little trees decorated with lights, apples and tinsel are still called "Paradeis".

According to some other Christian legends, it was a Fir tree that grew as the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden.
When Eve plucked its fruit, the foliage and flowers shrank to nothing but needles.
Only on the night of Nativity would the Fir tree bloom again a moment marked perhaps by the Christmas tree we Christians use.

Of course these are just legends and as with every legend there is plenty of romantism included.
Nevertheless I consider most legends similar to proverbs contain deep truth and contain truthful facts. Moreover knowing the legends of our forefathers connect us to who and what we are and from antropological point of view is precious knowledge, we should try to sustain and spread to our children.
 

A living saint in Bulgaria Dqdo (Elder) Dobri of Baylovo village – The living Christ example we Christians should follow

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

elder-dobri-from-baylovo-a-great-saint-like-example-christians-should-follow

In this dark days of humanity, we can rarely find persons who live in a holy way like the saints from the Holy Bible or the Books of the Living of the Saints

Saintship has been slowly disappearing from earth just like it's prophecised by Christ our Saviour and the Holy Apostles and in later times by many monks, Church hierarchs, patriarchs and hermits.

In Bulgaria as in most parts of the Orthodox world the Christian faith apostacy is also clearly seen.
We can no longer see saint hermits like our patron saint of Bulgaria Saint John of Rila

Even in this dark days God still shows mercy to us and still present us some of his saints.
The topic of this article as you have already red in the title is Elder Dobri of the Baylovo village

Elder Dobri of Baylova has been a regular person like all of us with a family and children just until 12 years ago.
About 12 years ago the I would call him The Living saint has decided to let all the earthly passions and sorrows for Christ and his eternal salvation.
He despised the earthly goodness and become a beggar, all the collected money he got were distributed among other poor people or donated to Churches and monasteries belonging to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

Day by day and a coin by coin, he has collected thousands of levs (the bulgaria national currency).
The gathered money were given to support the live of monasteries and Churches, by this very date. This old man is the greatest donator for the Cathedral Church St. Alexsander Nevski (situated at the heart of Bulgaria's capital Sofia)

His words spoken just like the saints are full of grace and goodness. One of his famous sayings are:

Man has Always two wills in himself in every moment of his life, the will to do good and the will to do evil
As all the truths his sayings are simple but represent the ultimate truth which was also said in many other forms in The Holy Bible Gospels and God's law.

The external outlook of Dqdo Dobri is also saintly, he has long beard a shining eyes and a national folklore dress.
He looks like he has been out of some old Bulgarian tale.

It's very striking fact that he that this old man is the biggest donator for our Cathedral Temple, we have many millionaires and businessman in Bulgaria but nobody has decided to donate to our Church such a high sum of money.

Elder Dobri's donation for the St. Alexander Nevski's Church is in value 35700 levs (around 19000 euros).
Dqdo Dobri is a beggar for Christ, this is one of the major types of saintship we read about in the living of the saints.
All the collected money from people are given for God's Glory. It's amazing heroism and an example, all we the Christians should follow to fulfill Christ's law of love and inherit the internal salvation.
A friend of mine who has the blessing to see Elder Dobri with her own eyes and have a small talk with him, has shared with me that even though he wears an old ragged clothes, his clothes and body emit a roses like odor!

As the fame about the same has grown these days, the Bulgarian National television has prepared a small video about the saint. I believe the video as a true blessing for us the Christians and will encourage us to persist in the good deads.
Here I present you the videos you can see the living saint, I hope by his holy prayers God will show mercy to all us who watch his graceful words:


The Living Christian Saint from Baylovo Village – Bulgaria


Elder Dobri from Baylovo – Bulgaria

Inteview with Elder Dobri in his house in Baylovo (the interview is in Bulgarian)

Christ is Risen! – Truly he is Risen! Hristos Voskrese! Voistinu Voskrese!

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

The Gloriour Resurrection of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling on death by death, and on those in the tombs bestowing life.Christ is Risen!Indeed He is Risen!

Check out the Paschal Greeting which is common to be pronounced as a hello greetin the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Also widely common practice in Bulgaria during The day of the Glorious Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!