Posts Tagged ‘martyrs’

Holy 20000 Martyrs for Christ / Living of the Holy 20000 Christ Martyrs of Nicomedia

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Holy martyrs of Nicomedia Menologion of Basil II orthodox christian icon

On 28 of December, just a day after the Nativity of Christ in Bulgarian Orthodox Church, we mark up the feast of 20000 Holy Martyrs for Christ from Nicomedia.

Here is the story shortly re-told.

When Emperor Maximian (284-305) returned victorious from a battle wtih the Ethiopians and desired to offer thanks sacrifice to the idols, he ordered all around the Roman Empire people from Nicomedia to gather, to bow down the pagan gods. Christians of Nicomedia refused to Sacrifice to the idols knowing the idols are not God but demons who pretend to be different gods making fake miracles to cloud the spiritual eye sight of their worshippers. Antim bishop of Nicomedia at these time, hearing for the order, gathered all Christians in Nicomedia and the whole night before the Nativity of Christ, he served a night vigil and Holy Liturgy teaching the people in trutful Christ faith. Finding out about this Maximian ordered Roman soldiers to surround the whole Cathedral Church with dry twigs and bushes and fire them up.in order to burn all the Christians inside. Knowing about the bonfire prepared for him and Christ's flock, he hurried up to baptize the newly believed Christians still unbaptized believing Christians (the so called углашени), and present them with the Holy Eucharist (mysteries). This happened in year 302. This fearful event  completed  the most fierce persecution against Christians that continued for 10 years. The early Church persecution ended with the enthronement of the new emperor Saint Constantine.
 

20000 holy martyrs for Christ burned in Nicomedia

20000 Thousand of Martyrs for Christ in a day is one of the greatest victory for Christ's Church. It is a clear indication of the truthfulness of our faith. As never in whole human history has been 20000 of innocent people were killed for sharing one and the same believe.

Feast of Saint Stephen’s martyrdom in Bulgarian Orthodox Church / Saint Stephen the first Christian Saint

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Saint Stephen Martyrdom Orthodox Christian Icon

It is 27th of December, the 3rd day of Christmas and in those day in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church we co-memorate saint Stephen's Martyrdom.

Its a well known fact that by his martyrdom Saint Stephen become the first Christian martyr
Stephen's name etymology comes from Greek (Stephanos) and translated means "Crown".

What we know from Orthodox Church's tradition is that Stephen was a very young in his age of Martyrdom probably in his 20s.

Stephen's glorious martyrdom has inspired and strengthened significantly the early seveerly hunted Church and has give a lot of courage and faith to many of our early Saint Martyrs. These early Church saints now incesently pray to God to have mercy on our earthly Church.
Its not much known fact St. Stephen held a rank in the early Church clergy, he was a HieroDeacon.
Hierodeaconism in our church is considered the maximum rank of deaconship one can have just before he is ordained for a Priest.

St. Stephen Orthodox Christian icon

St. Stephen was burning for love in Christ and had a strong faith in God, turning many Jewish to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He has shown the truth way to many by teaching them, how to properly interpret the Old Testament (Ancient Jewish) writtings.
He explained to many jewish, how all the old scriptures testify about the coming of the Messiah (Christ), which will save all who believe in his name from sins hell damnation.
As Jewish looked for ways to shutter any kind of preaching of the Gospel and kill Christianity, they saw Stephen as a big enemy just like all Christians in those early days. Therefore they looked for ways to accuse him and execute them and end up the large numbers of jewish people converting from Jewism to Christianity
The whole story of stoning (execution) of st. Stephen is described in the Holy Scriptures in the book called Acts of the Apostles

As he was about to die, Stephen looked up to heaven and said;

"Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God."
Then, as he was being stoned, he cried out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.".Our Beloved saints last words were, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." manifesting his saintship and deep Christ love even during his last moments of earthly living.
St. Stephen is celebrated in almost all West Roman Catholic Church and in Anglicans.
Churches who co-mmemorate the great saint are located in all around the world.
St. Stephen is also considered a patron saint of Republika Sprska (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Stephen's name later probably become the origin name for western's so popular Steven name).
Saint Stephen Orthodox Christian Icon 11th century byzantine icon
 

Saint Stephen's Byzantine Icon from the 11th Century

Let by the Holy Prayers of St. Stephen God have mercy on the Church and increase our faith and mercies to us sinners.

The Celebration of the day of All Bulgarian Church Saints in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

All Bulgarian Saints Icon

Today it’s the Sunday in which we the Bulgarian Orthodox Christians celebrate The Day of All the Bulgarian Saints
We have plenty of saints in our Bulgarian Christian history, many known and even more unknown ones. That feast is actually one of the greatest local church commemoration of the Christian saints who gave their life for the building, growing and preventing of the orthodox bulgarian church and the orthodox christian faith througout Bulgaria’s lands.
An almost complete list of the orthodox bulgarian saints can be seen here
However many are not mentioned since there are no historical documents about the countless victims (martyrs) of Ottoman muslics who were beheaded or violently killed because of his refusal to accept the Islam.
Here I will just mention few of the saints that are mostly venerated in the realm of the bulgarian orthodox christian faith:

1. st. Enravota (Prince Boyan)
is considered the first Bulgarian Saint martyr who gave his life to show hthe truthfulness of the Christian Orthodox faith.
His most notable speak is also a prophecy concerning the bulgarian orthodox church which was made before his martyrdom for Christ.
The prophecy saint Enravota has made about the Christianity establishment in Bulgaria is as follows:

This faith, which I now die for, will spread and increase across the whole Bulgarian land, although you may wish to oppress it with my death. In any case, the Sign of Christ will establish itself and churches of God will be built everywhere and pure priests will serve the pure God and will deliver “sacrifice of praise and confession” to the invigorating Trinity. Idols, and priests as well, and their ungodly temples, will crumble and will turn into nothing, as if they had not existed. Besides, you alone (to Malamir), after many years, will cast away your ungodly soul without receiving anything in reward for your cruelty.

2. St. Jonh of Rila (wonderworker) was a hermit in the Rila mountain who is a patron saint of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. He is notable for his great spiritual purity achievement in his anchoretic life. Many miracles and healing has been received by people who has prayed and asked the saint to intercede in their behalf to God. He is known as the first bulgarian monk, and as an initiator of the first bulgarian orthodox christian monastery.
His uncorruptable body is found for pilgrimage until this very day in the monastery he became a founder of Rila Monastery .

2. St. Brothers Cyril and Methodius Who were the saint brothers who venerated for enlightening the slavonic nations with writting letters. They’re actually the inventors of the old Bulgarian also known as Old Church Slavonic. They and their followers were the first to translate the holy bible into the newly created language – the Old Bulgarian.

3. st. Knyaz (King) Boris-Mihail (Boris-Michael) . He is known for his baptism of the Bulgarian Nation and the initiator of the creation of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church as well as a brilliant statesman.
After baptising most of the bulgarian intelligentia and rooting up the Orthodox Christian faith in Bulgaria, he abdicted voluntery from his throne, leaving his son (Vladimir) to rule Bulgaria and started a voluntery monastic life in poverty.
When his governing son tried to reinforce back the old pagan bulgarian Tengriism belief (e.g. the belief in Tangra (Tengri) he left the monastery took back the power (defeating his son) and blinded Vladimir.
Then he returned back to the monastery and spend his remaining life as a monk.

4. st. Clement of Ohrid was one of the Seven Bulgarian Apostles
Born in 840, a Slav from southern Macedonia, he established a monastery at Okhrida and a bishopric at Velica not far away. He is regarded as the founder of this primatial see and the first Slav to become a bishop.
His extensive apostolate took the form of education of the clergy and of the laity, to whom he preached a series of sermons in Slavonic, suitable for neophytes and explaining the principal feasts of the liturgical year. Clement died at Okhrida on 27 July 916.
5. St. Nahum ucceeded St. Clement of Ohrid as bishop. Converted in Moravia by Cyril and Methodius, he journeyed with them to Rome and helped them with their translations into the vernacular: he is venerated in Russia as well as Bulgaria. Other companions of Clement called Sava and Angelar are also venerated with him. In different times and different places they all contributed to the fulfilment of the missionary plans of Cyril and Methodius.
6. Saint Zlata of Meglen has endured a martyrdom for Christ. She refused to accept muslim faith and has firmly confessed her Orhtodox Christian faith.
She was given many chances to accept muslim faith by some Turks and therefore save her life but she refused and was cast into a prison for 3 months flogging until her blood soacked the ground.
Finally, they suspended her upside down and lit a fire, to suffocate her with the smoke; but God was with Zlata, and gave her strength in suffering.
At last they hanged her from a tree and cut her into small pieces. Thus, this brave virgin gave her soul up to God, and went to dwell in Paradise on October 13, 1796. Pieces of her relics were taken by Christians to their homes for a blessing.

7. 26 Martyrs of the Zographou Monastery on Mt. Athos at the hands of the Crusaders they have endured martyrdom for Christ, from the Roman Catholic Crusaders. Though the were warned that the enemies of Christ are coming to the Zograph Monastery they refused to leave the place and was burned alive by the unpious Crusaders.
There is many others to be mentioned but I neither have the knowledge nor I’m worthy to speak about them.
All Bulgarian Saints new icon representation

Let by their Holy Prayers God have mercy on us the sinners.