Posts Tagged ‘feast’

Saint King Boris feast and a Holy Liturgy in the Great Basilica of Pliska – 2nd of May 2018

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

Pliska-Great-Basilica-air-view-biggest-medieval-church-Europe

Pliska is the first capital of Bulgaira and an ancient city that traces its roots back to the Baptizmal of Bulgaria by Saint King Boris (The Baptizer of Bulgarian lands and Slavonic People) the feast is of a great importance for Bulgaria to be pressent on the map of Europe over the last XV centuries since Bulgaria's establishment in 681 A.D. 

 

Pliska which is an enormous architectural complex dated from IX / X century hsa played a pivotal role for the Baptizmal process of Bulgarian nation as it was King Boris's palace at that time and the Christianization of Bulgarians and Slavonic (natioons) people started exactly in the newly built so called Great Basilica of Pliska  which was an archibishop seat and a central Monastery and Palace Church of Bulgaria, the building was completed approximately in 875 A.D. and was the biggest Cathedral church in Europe for about 1000 years onwards with the gigantic area of 2,920 square meters (31, 400 ft).

Old_Basilica_in_Pliska-walls-reconstruction

20 century reconsturction of the Church walls based on descriptions from history annals 

The Basillica was build on top of ruins of older Bulgar pagan temple and has martyrium (a place dedicated to a martyr who has been martyred there) as many of the ancient Churches had. It is believed that the martyrium may be Saint (Boyan) Enravota – the first Bulgarian saint (circa 833). The basillica has a form of a Cross shaped mausuleum.

 

Old_Basilica_in_Pliska-left-part-of-the-alter

Reconstruction of walls left part of the Altar


The archibishop residence was north and south of the basillica on the northern yard there was a residential building with a bath which included hypocaust (an ancient water warming system). Building south of the cathedral was used as school and scriptorium. Nearby the basillica are situated necropolis (most likely monk graves).

Old_Basilica_in_Pliska_Sarcophagus-near-altar

Pliska Sarcophagus near the Great Basillica Church altar

As with every basilica of that time there is a special allocated place of the Church for nobles. Yard northside was used as a kitchen and a dining room and accomodated other monsatic buildings.


The Old Basilica reconstruciton original model should have looked something similar to below picture which is found in the Museum (which holds a little part of the artefacts found) situated about 1.5 kilometer from the Basilica.

Old_Basilica_in_Pliska_Reconstruction-model

A presumable reconstruction model of the Old Basilica

On 2nd of May KIng Boris Feast in 2015 for a first time since many centuries in memoriam of 1150 years since Christianization of Bulgaria in the Great Basilica was served an Eastern Orthodox Christian (an open air) Holy Liturgy headed by the Bulgarian Patriarch Neofit with many Metropolitans guests from other Eastern Orthodox national Churches where the ex-president Rosen Plevneliev and the Living ancestor King Simeon the III-rd was present.

1150-years-baptismal-of-bulgaria-feast-patriarch-Neofit-Pliska-Great-Basilica

Patriarch Neofit Patriarch and head of Bulgarian Orthodox Church blessing in Great Basilica y. – 2018

The event in 2015 was continued with the idea to become an yearly event on the feast of Saint King Boris each 2nd of May yesterday in 2018 by the Metropolitan of Varna and Veliko Preslav his eminence Metropoltian Ioan (John).

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Orthodox Christian Believers in the Great Basilica Preslav 2018 (People gathered being transported by free of charge buses organized by the Eparchy from Dobrich, Varna, Shumen, Targovishte 

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Fr. Peter reading The Apostle readings

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Metropolitan Ioan (John) of Varna and Veliki Preslav Blessing in Holy Liturgy 2018

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The Holy Altar with the Holy Sacraments in Pliska Basilica in 2018 (Metropolitan Ioan and his deacon)

The Church service was a big gathering for the region (if we take the fact that the current town Pliska has about 900 citizens and is in practice a village), the overall present people were perhaps about 200 to 250. More than 1/3 of the priests (38 priests) from the whole Eparchy served the service together with the Bishop. The weather before the service was rainy but just after the service and onwards, it came sunny again just like it was saint King Boris with all the Christian saints rejoiced to see so many Christians gather together just like the times when Christianity started to spread from this same place over the lands of Bulgaria country and later during the golden age throughout the territories of Bulgarian Empire and all the Slavonic borderlines such as nowadays Romania, Serbia, Ukraine and Russia. 

The whole set of pictures from saint King Boris feast in Pliska can be seen on the official  website of Varna and Veliko Preslav eparchy here

Introduction of Holy Virgin Mary in Solomon’s temple feast in Orthodox Church – 21 November

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

Presentation-of-Theotokos-st-Joachim-and-Anna-bringing-the-Virgin-Mary-to_Jerusalem_Temple_feast-of-introducition-of-Mother-of-God-into-temple
Presentation (Introduction) of the Holy Mother of God (Virgin Mary)
to the Solomon's temple (at that time of event the second temple) is celebrated on 21th November each year in the Orthodox Church (some Orthodox Churches like Russian / Serbian Orthodox celebrate the feast 13 days later because still celebrating the feast according to the Julian Calendar). Feast is celebrated also on November 21 in Roman Catholic Church but not celebrated in Protestant Church, because the feast is part of Church's tradition and its source of veneration is not the Holy Bible but the apocryphal book the Infancy Narrative of James (Gospel of James) also known as Protevangelion dated from (~ 147 A.D. – 170 AD

The feast is one of the Great feasts in the Church part of 12 Central Church Feasts;

September 8, the Nativity of the Theotokos
September 14, the Exaltation of the Cross
November 21, the Presentation of the Theotokos
December 25, the Nativity of Christ/Christmas
January 6, the Baptism of Christ – Theophany, also called Epiphany
February 2, the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple
March 25, the Annunciation
The Sunday before Pascha (Easter) – the Entry into Jerusalem or Flowery/Willow/Palm Sunday
Forty Days after Pascha (Easter) – the Ascension of Christ
Fifty Days after Pascha (Easter) – Pentecost
August 6, the Transfiguration
August 15, the Dormition (Falling Asleep) of the Theotokos

The feast commemorates the entrance of the Holy Theotokos for a first time into Jerusalem's temple which (for Jewish was the only temple where believed God lived in his full Glory). The Jewish even though gathering in Synagogues to read the Old Testament (Talmud) and pray, does not understand Synagogues in the sense we Christians understand Churches. According to Old Testament given revelation to the Jews, there was one temple holding the (The Ark of the Covenant) nowadays said to be kept in Ethiopian Orthodox Church in the city of Axun. In this temple people went for a special pilgrimage, thanksgiving to God and prayer. The Temple of Jerusalem was a religious site for pilgrimage which is similar to Mecca is for Muslim and  as Jerusalem's Tomb of Jesus (The Church of Sepulchre) is for us Christians. The temple was separted in 3 major parts:
Porch, Holy Place and Holy of Holies. In the Holy Place only priests and priest helpers could enter to service to God and in the Holy of Holies only the High Priest could enter once a year to sacrificy animal according to Jewish Custom. For us Orthodox Christian the High Priest nowdays is the Bishops, Arch-bishops, Metropolitans and Patriarchs). 

Virgin_Mary-outrunning-the-young-maidens-who-intruduced-her-to-Jerusalem-temple-choosing-Gods-chooseness-of-the_Theotokos

All believing members of the Jewish community B.C. had to be presented "officially" in front of God in the Holy Temple. When the Holy Virgin was born from the already aged (around 90 years old) St. Joachim and St. Anna. The parents out of thankfulnes to God for giving them a child dedicated their child Mary to God and when Virgin Mary turned 3 years old, st. Joachim and st. Anna decided the time to fulfill their promise and offer the Holy Theotokos to the Lord has come and after gathering other young neighbor girls (which were to introduce Mary) holding lighted torches walked in front of the young Mary.

Remarkably the Holy Theotokos walked straight without even looking back to their parents weeping (as most children does) or felt regret for being separated with parents. It was remarkable miracle showing she was choosen by God to become the Mother of the Saviour when her parents left her on the first high step (out of 15 big steps) leading to the temple, she could climb freely like a grown person without falling or showing any weakness a usual kid would do. As the young girls were singing from the Holy of Holies the High priest being told in advance by the Holy Spirit came out to receive the young kid which later become the Mother of our Saviour Jesus Christ. 

Entrance_Introduction_Presentation_of-the-Virgin-Mary-to-Jerusalem-Temple
The young Mary run in joy to the hands of the High Priest Zacharias who were waiting her at the gate of the temple with other elders outrunning the other maidens.

Zacharias blessed her saying, "It is in you that He has glorified your name in every generation. It is in you that He will reveal the Redemption that He has prepared for His people in the last days."
Then, Zacharias brought the child (being moved by the Holy spirit) into the Holy of Holies place where only the High Priest was permitted to enter once a year on the Day of Atonement. He placed her on the steps of the altar, and the grace of the Lord descended upon her. The Holy Theotokos arose being overfilled by the unspoken joy that only the Spirit of Truth.

The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple signifies her total dedication to God and her readiness for her future vocation as the Mother of the Incarnate Lord.  

HYMNS OF THE PRESENTATION OF THEOTKOS TO JERUSALEM TEMPLE

Apolytikion (Fourth Tone)
Today is the prelude of God's pleasure and the proclamation of man's salvation. The Virgin is clearly made manifest in the temple of God and foretells Christ to all. Let us also cry out to her with mighty voice, "Hail, fulfillment of the Creator's dispensation."

Kontakion (Fourth Tone)
Today, the most pure temple of the Savior, the precious bridal chamber and Virgin, the sacred treasure of God, enters the house of the Lord, bringing the grace of the Divine Spirit. The Angels of God praise her. She is the heavenly tabernacle.

 

Origin of Halloween (All Hallows Eve) or the Day of All Saints is actually Christian

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

 

 

The-Christian_Original-of-Halloween-Cross_on-a-pumpkin

 

 

Many people would "celebrate" Halloween today, however many don't know or understand the true feast origin. It would probably news to many that halloween that is today so much associated with satanism, evil spirits and horror has christian origin! Here is what wikipedia States about Halloween quote:
 

The word Halloween or Hallowe'en dates to about 1745 and is of Christian origin. The word "Halloween" means "hallowed evening" or "holy evening". It comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows' Eve (the evening before All Hallows' Day). In Scots, the word "eve" is even, and this is contracted to e'en or een. Over time, (All) Hallow(s) Eve(n) evolved into Halloween. Although the phrase "All Hallows'" is found in Old English (ealra hālgena mæssedæg, all saints mass-day), "All Hallows' Eve" is itself not seen until 1556.

 

All-Saints-day-Latin-Roman-Catholic-icon

Before Christianization of Western societies – e.g. Irish, Old English, Scots and the other Gaelic nations, in Ancient celtic traditions Samhain (celebrated at end of October) give the beginning of the Celtic New Year. Celts believed that the spirits of the dead over the previous year come to roam the world looking for living people to possess. As a mean of protect Celts put on their face animal skin and other objects in order to be as scare as possible to drive out spirits from themselves. The Celtic people of Europe and Britain were pagan Druids (priests / educated people) whose major celebrations were marked by the seasons. At the end of the year in northern Europe, people made preparations to ensure winter survival by harvesting the crops and culling the herds, slaughtering animals that wouldn't make it. Life slowed down as winter brought darkness (shortened days and longer nights), fallow ground, and death. The imagery of death, symbolized by skeletons, skulls, and the color black, remains prominent in today's Halloween celebrations.

seasonal_activities_medieval_seasons_calendar

The "Samhain" season used to be a favourite times before Christianization and (even by some witches, later haunted by Inquisition) for occult practices such as divination and communication with the dead. They sought "divine" spirits (demons) and the spirits of their ancestors regarding weather forecasts for the coming year, crop expectations, and even romantic prospects. Bobbing for apples was one practice the pagans used to divine the spiritual world's "blessings" on a couple's romance.

Interetingly in Eastern Europe countries, there is similar traditions in multiple countries – e.g. Romania, Moldova Serbia, Greece, Macedonia, Croatia even in my own Bulgarian culture we still have regions celebrating similar pagan feast, on whose feast KukeriKukers are called the dressed people in the form and masked as scary beasts with horns dance on the streets in hope to drive away with their awful looking outlook any "evil spirits". Kukeri traditionally appear still in Eastern Bulgaria, the feast has been known to have origin from Thracians.

kukeri in Bulgaria Shiroka Lyka

It is intriguing that since, even very ancient times people believed in immortality of the human spirit and this is not coincidence, because from ancient times people know "instinctively" the soul is importal and life continues on after physical dead of the body.

The modern version of Halloween celebrated mainly by kids wandering the homes of neighbors with the question "Trick or Treat?" started being marked in that way in England, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Italy at least as early as 15th century.
Traditionally groups of poor children would go to homes collecting the so called soul-cakes (special burned small breads) made as an aim of remembrance of the Christian relatives who passed away – it was a very widespread custom to give food to strangers as a mean of charity  just like it is still in Orthodox Christian countries, we give away food to strangers as an aim to remembrance of our departed (and forgiveness of sins) to our relatives.

Halloween-christian-tradition-soul-cake-with-Cross-on-it

In the Middle Ages, churches displayed the holy relics of martyred saints for veneration and those parishes that were too poor to have relics let parishioners dress up as the saints instead a practice that some Christians continue in Halloween celebrations today.

Cross_and_Halloween_origin-of-feast

Unfortunately the Christian root of Halloween tradition gradually mixed with some of the old still not completely forgotten beliefs of paganism in pre-christian times and with the gradual raise of materialism, the protestant reformation, the enlightenment, the french revolution, the world wars etc. this mostly Christian traditions loose their Christian ground and left mostly its pagan element.
After Christianization of Europe from the 9th century onwards the Church, pagan traditions continued to be practiced by many, probably because the Church "mass" language and preaching was in Latin, people doesn't have bibles and many even baptized doesn't really had a good knowledge / understanding on Christian faith.
It is not a coincidence the Church's decision to place the All Hallows Eve (The Day of All Saints) on "Halloween" feast on 1  November.

Pope_Gregory_III-icon-Catholic-Pope-who-fighted-iconoclasm-heresy

The feast of All Saints on its current date, is traced to the foundation by Pope Gregory III (731–741) – (who was a defender of true Orthodox Christian faith  and openly against the heresy of Iconoclasm) who set this date to be  "of the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world", the feast was moved to 1 November from the prior feast from 13 May suppressed.

With the emigration of many Europeans to America the secular Halloween feast has been transferred to America and set itself as one of the United States citizens tradition in which reminded emigrants for their homeland europe making the feast popularity to boast. The bloom of TV advertisement and the decrease of faith in people, increase of occult mindset in society made the feast primordial understanding to invert associating Halloween with evil which is fun in the mass. This is quite strange as evin the ancient pagans, had not associated with evil but used the feast as a mean to protect from evil. That's another sign in what kind of tragic state currently society is … sadly the feast Americanization made it to the number of "International feasts". And now there is almost no country where Halloween is not celebrated in a secular way.

It is not a hidden fact that Halloween feast for its connection with magical powers, paganism and occult is often believed and said to be 'A feast day for Witches and magicians', its considered important feast in Anton Sandor Lavey's Church of Satan.

A lot of parents nowdays does encourage their children to celebrate the feast not understanding the real Christian roots of it and teaching children to enjoy evil often without even realizing the psychological damage this makes to a kid.
Some countries such as Russia has already legislation prohibiting the pupils in school to mask like monsters and celebrate publicly the feast.
roman_catholic_christian_halloween_pumpkin
If you're a parent it is always a good idea to tell your kid that the truth is Halloween feast is not connected to darkness as it is often publicly illustrated but on the contrary Halloween tradition is early Christian one.

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

Voskresenie_Hristovo_Resurrection_of_Christ

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!
 

24 of May National feast of Bulgarian Education Enlightenment and Culture

Friday, May 24th, 2013

saint Cyril and Methodius holding Cyrillic Glagolic manuscript 24th of May most light Bulgarian national feast

24-th of May is one of well known newest and most bright Bulgarian national feasts. 24th of May is officially one of the most light Bulgarian feasts and there is virtually no Bulgarian who doesn't connect this feast with Celebrations related to Bulgarian Cyrillic Alphabet and the Holy brothers st., st. CYRIL and METHODIUS as well as their 5 pupils , CLEMENT, NAHUM, GORAZD, ANGELARIUS, SAVVA – known here in Bulgaria as the 7-th Holy enlighteners of the Bulgarian lands. The alphabet invented by the 2 holy brothers was with the goal of translating the Holy Scriptures in understandable language to Slavonic tribes inhabiting (Great Moravia and Panonia) big part of Bulgarian lands as well as many other regions of Eastern Europe. Today the 2 holy brothers are righteously called "Apostles of the Slavs". The two brothers devised the most ancient form of a Cyrillic language (Glagolitic Alphabet / Glagolitsa –  glagoliti means "to speak"), whose modified version the Cyrillic used to this very day in Slavonic part of Orthodox Eastern Church, which in practice nowadays makes up near half of the Eastern Orthodox Church Christian people (about 200 000 000 members) – from Bulgaria, Russia, Belarus, Serbia,  Ukraine, Croatia, Poland, Kazakhstan, Czech, Slovakia, Slovenia

Codex Zographensis Bulgarian Christian Orthodox Zographus Monastery Holy mount Athos

Page of Codex Zographensis nowadays kept in Bulgarian Zograf Monastery St. gt. martyr George

Glagolic alphabet consisted of 41 letters. Many of the letters were devised based on Greek, where others were created based on Latin, Arabic / Coptic, Hebrew  and some other not still determined languages of the time.

According to some modern research 5 pupils of st. Cyril and Methodius – st. Clement,Nahum, Gorazd, Savva and Angelarius re-formed Glagolitsa and create Cyrillic alphabet used to these days among about 450 000 000 ppl around the world. Because Cyrillic was easier for writting with time last Glagolitic manuscripts started to disappear around the middle age XV-th century. 

Asemanievo Gospel from the end of X-th XI century Glagolic and cyrillic letters

St. King Boris – The Baptizer of Bulgarian lands accepted st. Cyril and Methodius pupils and created 2 early Spiritual / Enlightenment Schools in Preslav and Ohrid. In this two spiritual centers many Church books were copied / transcribed. Many of the translations of Holy Scriptures and Living of the saints made in Preslav and Ohrid are nowadays influenced Church life in Russia, Serbia and Romania. Some of the original manuscripts produced in there are nowadays kept mainly in Russia and Serbia.

Celebrating of 24-th of May as a national and Church feast of Bulgarian Enlightenment and Bulgarian Culture started as such  in the pre-liberation from Ottoman Turkish slavery period around y. 1852. According to some historical documents the feast was first celebrated on 22 of May in still "unliberated" Bulgarian Church (which at that time belongs to Greek Patriarchy). Initially the feast was celebrated on 11th of May as one feast both celebrated in Church and nation. Later after secularization period since 1969, two feasts developed one Church official in 11-th of May and one nationwide in 24-th of May. The feast 24-th of May is celebrated on this date since 1969. Today though Bulgarian Orthodox Church marks the remembrance of holy brothers st. Cyril and Methodius on 11-th of May. Every 24-th of May there is a Holy Liturgy served asking God to bless Bulgarian nation and grant us good nation health and success in all good knowledge. In relation to Bulgarian Liberation period, there was need for writing a secular Hymn for the feast. In City of Ruse in y. 1892 Stoyan Mihailovski then a teacher in High School writes a hymn which is well known and sign even by this day by Bulgarians – the infamous "Върви народе възродени" / "Walk straight, oh renewed nation".

ХОР "БОДРА СМЯНА" – ВЪРВИ, НАРОДЕ ВЪЗРОДЕНИ!

Saint Nicolas’s feast day in the Netherlands / Sinterklaas – Saint Nicolas protector of Amsterdam, SinterKlaus and the origin of Santa Claus

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Saint Nicolas feast in the Belgium Holland and Germany - Sintaklaas Sinta Klaus with Zwarte Piete (the lblack helper of saint Nicolas)

Today 6-th of December in Bulgaria we celebrate Saint Nicolas's day (Nikulden) in our autocephalous Orthodox Church – Bulgarian Orthodox Church. As I'm in the Netherlands it was interesting for me to find out in the Netherlands, there is a tradition to celebrate the memory of one of the greatest saints of the One Holy Apostolic – The Orthodox Church Saint Nicolas Bishop of Myra (Myra is nowdays located near to Bulgaria in the territory of modern Turkey and back in the day when Saint Nicolas was a bishop Myra region was part of the Byzantine (Greek) Empire. Saint Nicolas is considered the patron saint of Sailers also being venerated as a patron of the people who travel and just as I found today he is a considered heavenly protector of children in Roman Catholic parts of Holland, French and Germany.

saint Nicolas as being depicted in western europe - Sinta Klass kids protector in Roman Catholic Church

As of time of writting the Holy Relics of Saint  Nicolas, are located in Bary Italy, after Italy attacked Myra and carried away his relics to Bary. they were transferred there a while after his passing to Christ. It is interesting fact that Saint Nicolas (Sinter Klaas) is being venerated in almost under some form in all European Country. It seems his memory and veneration is stronger on countries neighboring a Sea or Ocean and Rivers. The reason why saint Nicolas is considered as heavenly protector of Mariners and all who travel by Water vessels is  he rescued sailors in the Aegean Sea during his lifetime.

What is the origin of Santa Claus Sinterklaas Zwarte Piet origin of Santa Claus picture

On above picture, you see SinterKlaas (Sinter Klaus)'s still "living memory in tradition" in the Netherlands. In this year 2012, (probably by the Holy prayers of Saint Nicolas), here in Holland it snowed, making up the usual snowy Christmas which surronds Santa Claus 🙂

As Saint Nicolas was a Bishop of Myra he holds the Bishop stick and the Bishop's Mytra ( cap ), as long as a costume which even to this day can be seen worn almost identical in Eastern Orthodox Church in West in Roman Catholic Church – the priests cassock nowadays has evolved so is not so similar to Sinta Claus's dressing. The Black guy on the left of SintaClaas is called Zwarte Piet [The Black Piet (Zwarter Piet) – or Black Peter ]. According to some legends, the Black Piet was a slave who was bought and let to freedom by Saint Nicolas, as a courtesy the ex-Slaved black person stayed and was helping to Saint Nicolas in all his deeds until the Saint's passing to Christ.

According to our Orthodox Christian Church tradition Saint Nicolas played a key role and was in his God inspired polemics defending the True Orthodox faith against the heresy of Arians at the Ecumenical Council of Nicea.
His popularity  in Russia, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia is of great esteem. Where it is interesting in Russia almost all Church or Shrine (Paraklesos) has a holy icon of saint Nicolas.

It is rather interesting that for some not very clear reasons (people legends and mixture between local traditions and Christian believes) his veneration in Western Europe from being a saint protector of Mariners changed of being a saint who looks after Sailors to saint who brings gifts to little children.
On 5th of December the night before 6th of December in similar same way as in America and across a lot of other Christian countries on Christmas (24 December), the kids leave empty shoes (traditionally near chimney) waiting for SintaKlaas to bring them a gift. Differently from the 24th Christmas gift tradition, for SinterKlaas kids shoes are filled with small things, cookies chocolate or fruit and is not so common for Sinta to leave "bigger" gifts like Santa Claus on Christmas eve. It is a custom here in the Netherlands that on SinterKlaas's day a Gingerbread biscuits are eaten in big quantities (this seem to be the most traditional "meal for the feast"). In Bulgaria a bit differently it is our local tradition that each family eats fish on saint Nicolas's day. Here in Netherlands, there are plenty of children song being sung on SintaKlaas's day – most of them secular.

Sinter-claes-SinterKlaas-saint-nicolas-Amsterdam-dam

The memory of the saint is very strong in the Capital of the Netherlands Amsterdam. There is a big Roman Catholic Cathedral dedicated to memory of Saint Nicolas. By Amsterdam inhabitants st. Nicolas is considered as a heavenly saint protector.

saint Nicolas Church Amsterdam SinterKlaas Amsterdam

Later when immigrants from Europe mostly (Roman Catholics) moved to America the Sinterklaas (Sinta Klass) changed to the kids favorite good old man  Santa Claus who brings them gift. Rather sadly Santa Claus tradition profanization mainly due to commercialization and globalization and "Coca-Cola culture", nowadays made Santa Claus to more remembered person than our Lord and Saviour of the world Jesus Christ whose birth should be the main accent of Christmas.

Nowadays believing and atheist families know and remember Santa Claus, but there are only few of them who tell their kids about Christ's birth in the inn (cave).
Saint Nicolas's miraculous living  is on OrthodoxWiki's site check it here.

Saint Nicolas / Sveti Nikolaj Orthodox Church holy icon

Here is the Church Troparion and Kontaktion sung in the Orthodox  Church as translated to English:

 


 

Church glorification Hymn to Saint Nicholas – begging st. Nicolas's prayer intercession to the Lord Jesus Christ

Troparion  (Tone 4)

In truth you were revealed to your flock as a rule of faith,
an image of humility and a teacher of abstinence;
your humility exalted you;
your poverty enriched you.
Hierarch Father Nicholas,
entreat Christ our God
that our souls may be saved.

Kontaktion (Tone 3)

 

You revealed yourself, O saint, in Myra as a priest,
For you fulfilled the Gospel of Christ
By giving up your soul for your people,
And saving the innocent from death.
Therefore you are blessed as one become wise in the grace of God.

 In Russian and across the Orthodox Churches who are still following unrevised Church calendar for most feasts, the memory of the saint Nicolas of Myra is commemorated 13 days later.

Let by the Holy Prayers of Saint Nicolas of Myra, The Lord Jesus Christ be merciful on all of us Christians.

Holy God servent Nicolae pray the Lord our souls be saved!
 

 

19th of August Ilindensko Preobrajenski Revolt – Bulgarian land liberation war Uprising on feast of Transfiguration

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Ilinden freedom or death flag Svoboda ili Smyrt slogan

On 19-th of August 1903 happened the Indensko Preobrajensko Vyzstanie – (Ilinden Transfiguration liberation revolt). This revolt is important moment for Bulgarian restoration modern history. At this time South Eastern part of Bulgaria was still under Ottoman Turkish Empire rule and there was huge internal tension between local population striving to liberate and unite with rest of bulgarian lands.

The revolt was planned to raise some publicity in western world and show that the lands of Strandzha mountain are belonging to the newly established Russian liberated restored Bulgaria. Ilindensko Preobrazhenski Uprising was preceded by another revolt which happened in nowdays Macedonian lands near the city of Ohrid. The revolt is named under Ilindensko Preobrajensko Vyzstanie name because actually, the 2 revolts were perceived as one common effort to liberate and unite ex-Bulgarian empire territories with mainly Bulgarian and Serbian population to the newly re-establed Bulgarian land. Ilinden is important day for Bulgarian culture in english it means (Saint Elijah’s day) as the people of the early 20th century had strong faith the 2 revolts received a common name after the two Church feasts Ilinden (st. Elijah’s day) and Preobrazhenie (The day of Christ transfiguration). The revolt was organized and planned by the even to this day existing Bulgarian organizatoin VMROVytreshno Makedonska Revolicionna Organizatia – (Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization).
VMRO asks on a few times the then Bulgarian army to join them in the uprising efforts, but the then Bulgarian king refuses foreseeing that this could cause another war between the newly re-established 5 centuries unexistent Bulgaria with the still large and powerful Ottoman empire.
Chetata na Yane Sandanski Ilindensko preobrazhensko revolt

Though uprising was quickly brutally extinguished by Turkish as planned the revolt was able to raise a huge dispute about the so called “Bulgarian problem” and in 1913 part of Strandzha mountain was united with Bulgarian country. The Bulgarian population of the parts of Strandja mountain which remained in territory of Turish empire was forcefully chased to central Bulgaria.

Chetata na Yane Sandanski Ilindensko Preobrazhensko revolt uprising

The total number of “guerillas” who participated in two revolts was 26 000. This 26 000 bravehearts faced enormous 350 000 people Turkish army! Of course the outcomes of this uniqeual powers were clear. Still some members of the uprising held hopes thta maybe Russia or some of the western countries would help them with provisions and people “reinforcements”. 994 “guerillas” died in the uprising.

Zname ohrid flag ohrid cheta Peter  Chaulev

The turkish army demolished 201 peaceful people villages (12 440 houses!) and killed brutally 4 694 (peaceful inhabitants in this number kids and woman) by slaughtering and burning them alive. 30 000 of people from the ravaged villages escaped from their homelands and become refugees in Bulgaria. As one can guess whole Civillized Europe was in shock that in 20th century such a blood bath could happen in Europe ….

Prodigy night and Spirit of Burgas 2012 – few impressions

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

The Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 - How to steal a jet fighter latest prodigy album

As a kid I have been very big fan of The Prodigy. Prodigy were considered absolutely revolutionary style band in the 1995 – 2004 years. As an ex-big fan of the band and cause of the fact I happened to be near to Burgas I decided to attend their performance on August the 5-th.
Spirit of Burgas as every year happens on the beach of Burgas.

A large number of nice underground rock / punk / jazz / reggae etc. continuing for days is not so common on the balkans so Spirit of Burgas is quite a unique undeground music gathering …
Spirit of Burgas is taking place now for a 4-th year and starting to become an established Electronic, Dance, Metal feast here on Balkans.

Below is a list of all the bands that played on Spirit of Burgas 3 days feast this year;
Spirit of Burgas year 2012 bands agenda for 3 days list picture

The 1 night entrance fee was quite expensive 40 EUR, but for a famous band as Prodigy and the rest of bands bands playing on other beach scenes I guess the price was fair. The 3 days entrance fee worth it money much more though, for 3 days ticket the price was 60 EUR. The beer price too high; 1 beer price was 1.60 EUR. For a richer countries this prices are nothing and OK but for the low salaries in Bulgaria the beer price was killing.

Besides the high price, the only beer one can buy on the beach was Becks (taking me out the choice to buy another beer brand!). Everywhere around was those annoying writings on both billboards and video sceens B’ECKSPERIENCE, Jack Daniels, DSK Bank etc. Advertsiments should be but this was a bit over-stretched!….

Prodigy performance started about 10:30 on the so called Main Stage – a big scene facing the sea. Prodigy break out and enter, the scene right after a performance of modern punk band SUM 41

I don’t know the music works of SUM 41 that’s why I skipped most of their concert checking the other stages perf-s. On most of other stages mostly Bulgarian Punk / Rock / Alternative musicians were playing.
Prodigy’s scene break-up was done with some famous buzzling sounds known from their works, as you can see from the videos I post below.
The Stage was very over-crowded, according to some estimations the concert was attended by about 15 000 people ! ! !. Considering the decay in Prodigy popularity I guess this was quite a good number.
During The Prodigy‘s play all the other scenes were shut off in order to allow everybody to enjoy Prodigy.

I should admit, the music beats and ruffs were just great, but I didn’t liked the vox messages “Keith Flinth”, was spreading; Saying some iditic phrases like:

Where is my People?, My Prodigy People, My Voodoo People and plenty of other non-sense

As a Christian I know pretty well Prodigy’s music message is not in consonance in Christianity and hence I didn’t liked to be associated as a “prodigy person”, cause I don’t want to be associated with people who preach evil. Something else, showing off the low prodigy vocal culture was his frequent use of the F*CK word, which btw was probably the most used word by almost every musician playing on every scene all night long…

The scene lightning was rich but not bright, enough to clearly distinguish what is happening on the scene.
On the back stage, there was the name of latest prodigy album – How To Steal a Jet Fighter with a background of an old jet fighter plane.

Prodigy Vocalist Keith Flinth on main stage spirit of burgas 2012

The group scene performance was quite aggressive as always, actually probably it is the primitive behavior of the band and the primitiveness in music that attracts the crowds. People nowadays are too much civilized that the wild primitive deep in us is something we hardly miss as ppl.

The Prodigy in the beginning @ Spirit of Burgas 04.08.2012

The Prodigy – Breathe, Live @ Spirit of Burgas 2012

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 1

The Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 2

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 3

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 4

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 5

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 6

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 7

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 8

The Prodigy – Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 9

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 10

By the way during the concert all around the scene, there was massive marijuana smoke (not to say fog 🙂 ). Probably kilos of “Mara” (as smokers call it for short in BG) was smoken by fans during the 1.15 mins group performance.
As a result, many of the ruffling fans were in a tranced “Nirvana” state 🙂
Something, I’ve noticed is the quality of Prodigy performance, has severely fallen if compared to old concerts of the band period 1999 – 2002.
One moment in the concert was really pissing off for me, when Keith Flinth instructed the public to GET DOWN, saying something like:

Now everybody GET DOWN, I SAID GET DOWN – the sheep fans just followed the ORDER squatting; This was pure “MIND CONTROL” – almost everyone squatted unquestionably.
A girl behind me tried to push me down, to make me kneel down as I refused to squat 🙂
I told her that “I don’t follow orders, jokingly and didn’t squatted 🙂

This squatting from Christian position looked like exactly like worshipping Prodigy as [ idol (God) substitute ] …
The concert end up in a very stupid way; there was no encore performance, not even introduction of the band members to the people and even a no simply BYE to the fans. They just shut off and went away silently like a beaten dogs 🙂

Following the end of Prodigy performance on the neighbor Stage, the “legendary” Bulgarian Punk / Rock old-school band KONTROL was playing. I had great fun with KONTROL as I used to be very much loving the band back in my metal years 🙂 KONTROL’s performance was just great, but unfortunately the scene lightning was again shit and the big Video Screens was switched off so I could see the band hardly. After KONTROL’s end up another hard-core Bulgarian band jumped the scene (PIRANNHA). This guys, were completely funny and i really disliked them as they were heavily copying Venom, even their logo was copied from Venom’s Goat Pentagram (the band mascot was a Satanic Pentagram on wheels (complete iditiosm) :D)
The vocal were cursing themselves, screaming funnily “F*CK PIRANNHA, F*CK PIRANNHA !” 🙂

Spirit of Burgas was supposed to close about 5 in the morning, but I was too busy and I left in 2:45, spending few minutes listening to some kind of nice sounding Drum and Bass DJ playing on the main stage.

How a monastery celebrates a brotherhood monk name day – the feast of (Saint Sergii from Radonezh) in Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Saint Sergii of Radonezh Orthodox icon

Now it is my 4th day being in Pomorie Monastery with Kimba. The monastic life is not so boring as I thought back in the days 🙂
Yesterday I was drived to the Kamenar pub, by one of the workers here in the monastery (with the monastic car an old Ford);
We went to the restaurant in Kamenar village with the blessing of the abbot has blessed that we go and enjoy ourselves for few hours there with a group of tourists staying for (1 or 2) weeks in the monastery.

The pub was quite a news for me as it was a nice looking place with a lounge and swimming pool, this seemed quite unusual for especially since it was located in a village with 200 or 300 hundred of people living 🙂
The village pub had even a billiard table, the coin price there was on the shocking 25 stotinki (0.13) euro cents! 🙂
In the pub came an orthodox priest dressed like a casual person and started singing some traditional old Bulgarian songs (typical for singing in the different regions in BG). The guy was really talented and his memory seem to be very strong, since he was able to sing by heart about 10 songs in a row !

Besides that the priest voice was very beautiful. When I later had a talk with the guy it appeared, he learned professional singing before he became an Orthodox priest some years ago.
What really shocked me when the priest started singing in Italian Luciano Pavaroti, he sang it so well so you can hardly find out if it is not really the real authentic Luciano voice 🙂

This priest and the overall people in the pub had a great fun, as the place and people in were quite spirited; Actually I felt in a while like being in Emil Kosturica's movie 🙂 🙂 🙂

Being over with yesterday I will say few words on my monastic experience today ….
The Church bell rang early in the morning to summit the monks for the early morning prayer followed by a Holy Liturgy served. The Holy Liturgy today served was a co-memoration of the feast of Saint Sergii of Radonezh.

Cause it is weekly day here there were not too many people in the monastic Church. The monastery monks were there,few other people and some Russian pilgrim woman. By the way I'm more and more being convinced that many of the Russian people are very pious oriented and have strong faith in God than us bulgarians. Sadly it appears (from my observations so far) Russians generally are richer in faith.
It is sad that Russian Orthodox Christianity is stronger than ours in Bulgarian, especially when we take the fact historically Russians have received the Orthodox Chrisitian faith and language from us Bulgarians …

One of the key figure (brothers) monks Father Sergii is having a name day here, so due to that and because it is not a fasting day today (Thursday), the traditional monastic dinner was bigger and more rich than usual. Some youghurt mixed with cucumbers (Tarator) as we call it in Bulgaria was served with a little salad a few pieces of Banica and even little meat balls (for people eating meat).
The Abbot of the monastery was not served meat as I heard from the cook lady he is completely abstaying from meat since about 10 years already; some of the monk brother didn't eat meat as well.
The dinner started about 12:20 in the usual dinner room. For another day the food in the monastery was tasting super-delicious.
It is rather interesting that the food here is more delicious than the food we usually eat at home; Probably the food is so delicious because large portion of the food on the table is monastic-grown and besides that a food blessing prayer is said everytime before eat time. Earlier times I've heard many others who visited and eat food in monasteries that the monastic food is tastier and more delicious than we ordinary people have on our tables, however I was sceptical until I experienced it myself, these days.
Cause the food is so tasteful, I consume here usually twice more food than I usually eat at home 🙂

I recommend anyone who didn't eat a meal in a monastery (yet) to try this at least once in a lifetime ;;;