Posts Tagged ‘patriarch’

Pilgrimage to the Holy Relics incorruptable body of Saint King Stephan Militun in Cathedral St. Nedelia Sofia, Bulgaria

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Saint Stephan Milutin II Holy King of Serbian with Inoccuptable Body testimony for Truthfulness of Holy Christian faith
 

 

As I've landed in Sofia and I'm staying few days in a friend thus I had the opportunity to take a quick look over one of the oldest cities in Europa. Sofia is known under the ancient name Sredets and is dates back to times before Christ. Yesterday I had a walk near NDK (Национален Дроврец на Културата – National Palace of Culture), nearby I saw a little Church which looks orthodox. I dropped by to pray and light up a candle as I usually do when I see an Orthodox Church building I was not in before. In front of Church I saw a priest which looked pretty much like Orthodox, Church interior looked strange as it contained a mosaic of Christ's face which seemed a bit like Catholic. I spoke a little with the priest asking him if he is priest or monk (in orthodox Church we have priest – who marry and monks who didn't). He said he is a Bishop which puzzled me since it is not very common a Bishop to smoke cigarette in front of a tiny Church building …. Later I understood he is from the so called Schismatic Synod – the so called Alternative Synod which claimed our last Church patriarch Patriarch Maxim is not choosen canonically because he was choosen in communist times) ….. I deeply regretted I had the misfortune to enter a schismatic – heretic Church and quickened to leave. Just on the street from NDK Enormous Building which is one of the most well known places in Sofia center.

NDK Sofia Bulgaria center one of most notable buildings

I saw in the end of the street a huge Orthdox Cathedral and though it is the biggest Orthodox Cathedral in the balkans – st. Alexander Nevski.

Sofia Orthodox Cathedral Church building where saint King Milutin incorruptable body is kept

Now it is good time to write about great God's providence. I very much wanted to venerate st. King Milutin for some time, since the moment I heard his holy relics are kept in my homeland capital Sofia. In Nijmegen where I was going to church in the Serbian Church, I had the opportunity to venerate a little particle of st. Stephen Milutin's holy relics and actually it is from where I heard from a first time for this saint. Many saints in our holy Orthodox church has incorruptable bodies like st. Stephen Milutin but so far I never had the opportunity to see such a great unexplainable by science miracle, where a saints body is preserved incorruptable for 9 centuries!!!! St. Uroš II (Stephan) Milutin Nemanjić who was a ruler of Serbia and one of the biggest contributors and donators of Serbian Church ruled over Serbia for 45 years, over this 45 years he donated a multitude of villages, money provisions, gold and all goods to serbian Church. He had promised to God to build so many churches as his years of rulership will be he stand up to his promise and build 45 Churches over his 45 years of rulership. He was well known for dressing in beggar cloak and going out of his castle to be among poor people and often bring them food, clothes and money. In his rulership his greatest stronghold and hope was the Holy Orthodox Church. st. King Stephan Milutin made a lot of donations for Monastiers including the building of newer and more beautiful Church building and a protection tower in Serbian Monastery in Holy Mount Athos Hilendar. St. Stephan is born in y. 1253 and passed away to Christ in October 29, 1321. Here is a picture someone has taken of st. Stephan Milutin Holy incorruptable body.

saint King Milutin holy incorruptable body relics saint Nedelia Sofia Cathedral

 More complete living of st. Stephan Milutin can be read on Orthodox Wiki here.

The size of St. Nedelya Cathedral is impressive, the whole church is full of beautiful icons. It is keeping also a miracle making icon of the Holy Theotokos Virgin Mary – the well known – Joy of all sorrowful. If you happen to drop by the temple you can find it on the left of the entrance / exit door of the Church. The Holy iconostasis of the Church is all in Gold, the dome of the Church contains most beautiful images of Christ surrounded by Angels the fresco seems quite ancient though I'm not sure from which year it dates back. In the right of the Church entrance door is found the grave of exarch Stephan – the head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church after the liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman Turkish 500 years long slavery.
The Church is a functional and Holy Liturgy is served every day also an evening service is done everyday. St. Nedelya Cathedral original building dates back from the ancient 10-th century and is connected to a times, where Slavonic translations of the Holy Bible was still young. Going out of St. Nedelya Church just few meters away is located another Christian Church in glory of St. Petka of the Balkans (The Bulgarian). There was times where holy relics of Saint Petka Bylgarska, holy relics resided in that catacomb ancient Christian church. In st. Petka Church there is a small book where one can write all the miracles that happened of people who prayed for prayed to Christ for their various needs, physical healing etc. Also something that strike me in this little Church was the odor in the air which is typical to smell from holy relics of saints. Just 20 meters away from saint Petka's Ancient Church is located another more ancient Church from the 4th CENTURY in veneration of Saint Martyr George the Glorybringer!
The Rotunda st. George is something must see for anyone that never was in Sofia before and I thank God for being able to pilgrimage on such an early Christian church.
Rotunda_of_St_George_4-th-century-Sofia-city-center-Bulgaria

The story line of Saint George Church is pretty long and the visitor can read it. In short as I read the Church has three layers of icon paintings from 3 different periods of the Church use, the most ancient found one dates back from the 6th century.

dome Rotonda Sveti Georgi 4th century Sofia,Bulgaria  city center (Sredets)

The Church was used mainly for baptismals in a long time of its existence. Today there is a Holy Liturgy and evening prayer service daily and Church is fully functional and conducting its original purpose of bringing people to Christ.

8 November: Bulgarian orthodox Church Patriarch Maxim Farewell service in st. Nedelia Cathedral, Sofia

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Holy Liturgy  for the passing of Patriarch Maxim of Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Thousands of people came to venerate and ask for a last blessing The Bulgarian Orthodox patriarch his All Holiness Maxim. The  (Holy Liturgy Service) took place in Cathedral Church Saint Nedelia

Cathedral Church of Saint Nedelia Sofia Bulgaria picture from wikipedia

Cathedral of Sveta Nedelia (Saint Nedelia) is one of the most famous landmarks in Bulgaria's capital Sofia. It is a medieval Church many times rebuild, and its primal building was done in the 10th century many times rebuild, current Church building is made in XIX century. st. Nedelia's Cathedral  keeps the Holy Relics of King Stephan Milutin

Holy Relics of Saint Serbian King Milutin, Bulgaria, Sofia st. Nedelia Cathedral

The Holy King Milutin's Holy Relics are transferred in Bulgaria in the 1460s, whether the holy relics was for years kept across several monasteries in Churches throughout Bulgaria. St. Nedelia's Church building is blessed to store the Holy Saint Relics since the 18th century when the Church become Bishop's residence. It was common the Church to be called St. King Milutin because in the late 19th and 20th century because of significance of holding the Holy remains of Saint Serbian king Milutin

Saint King Milutin Holy Relics Sofia saint Nedelia Church photo from wikipedia

It is no strange that the Holy Liturgy where people can venerate the patriarch will be served exactly in this Church and again it is due to God's human incomprehensible providence.

Saint Serbian King Milutin  Holy relics as kept in Saint Nedelia Church Sofia Bulgaria

In the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, we have celebrated saint Serbian King Stephan Milutin's veneration just 9 days ago (on 30th of October). It is obviously a providence of God and God inspired BOC Holy Synod decision to do the ( Farewell)  Holy Liturgy in the Church holding the Great Saint of Serbia and All Orthodoxy Stephan Milutin Holy Relics.

The Holy Liturgy  was headed by Plovdiv region Metropolitan Nikolay.

Which as of now is temporary chosen to serve as Metropolitan for Eparchy of Sofia.

Patriarch Maxim Opelo (Funeral Service) in sant Nedelia Church Sofia Bulgaria

Crowds of people from all around Bulgaria, came to venerate for a last time the Holy Hierarch. The police was forced to prohibit temporary entrance of people in the temple due to the high amount of people trying to enter and venerate patriarch Maxim.

His all Holiness Patriarch Maxim, Patriarch of Bulgarian Orthodox Church's Farewell Church Service

Many priests from across Bulgaria come to venerate the Holy Patriarch and take participation in Patriarch's Farewell's Holy Liturgy

Patriarch Maxim Funeral and Orthodox priests on Patriarch Farewell Service ( Liturgy )

To venerate our wise patriarch for the Farewell Holy Liturgy came the ecomenical Constantinople Patriarch Bartholomeus

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeus giving his condolescence and veneeration to Patriarch Maxim's body
 

The funeral of his all holiness will be tomorrow in Troyanski Manastir Through my lifetime I did not have the opportunity to venerate the patriarch. In my mind however I'm deeply bowing in front of him and asking for his blessing.
By God's providence, today in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church it is a big Church feast, Arhangelov den (Assembly of the Holy Archangels). The patriarch Zaupokoina Slujba ( Patriarch Opelo ) as we call it in Bulgaria will be served in Sofia's Cathedral Church of Saint Alexander Nevski tomorrow morning.

Tiny Bulgarian kid venerating patriarch Maxim's body in st. Nedelia Church - Patriarch Maxim's Opelo

Lets hope by his all holiness Patriarch Maxim prayers who "introduced himself in the Lord" as we say in the Church, the state of our Bulgarian Orthodox Church will improve and more and more Bulgarian young people will find Christ and truthfulness of the One Holy Apostolic – Orthodox Christian faith.

Head of Bulgarian Orthodox Church for 41 years Patriarch Maxim (aged 98) passed away / Patriarch Maxim short Biography

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Head of our Bulgarian Orthodox Church, his all holiness Patriach Maxim passed away to Christ early this morning 06 November 2012 around 03:30 а.m.

Our beloved patriarch headed the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in truth for the immersely high 41 years! Patarirch Max was the oldest among all Orthoodox Christian patriarchs. Just 8 days earlier, we have celebrated in the Church his 98 birthday.
People who know the patriarch personally, said from his youth even even to his old years he used to be "The same humble person".

Our patriarch birthname "in the world" was Marin Naydenov Minkov and Pena Bordjukova. The patriarch was born from a father Nayden Minkov Rachev. Almost none is known about how  the future Bulgarian Church patriarch  who headed the Church ( 1971 – 2012 ) lived in his young years, similarly little is known about his family (parents) background, all we know is his parents was very pious people.

His Holiness Patriarch Maxim was born in Oreshak a little village near the city of Lovech, Bulgaria. His education was given in his native birth place – the mountain village of Oreshak.

In year 1935 His Holiness completed Sofia's Spiritual Seminary School ( Sofiiska Duhovna Seminaria ). In 1942 his holiness completed a Theological Degree in Sofia State University – saint Clement of Ohrid ( Saint Kliment Ohridski ).

Patriarch Maxim (become monk) in his early years in 27 years old, after the usual period for testing novice monks (2 to 5 years) in Trojan's Monastery (Troianski Manastir), this  means his holiness become novice monk in the very young age of 21 or 22 years. He was ordained to monk receiving the monk name of Maxim on 13 of December 1941 under the Church degree of Hierodeacon.

A small note to make here for those unfamiliar with Orthodoxy is in Orthodox Church it is accepted that once a person is ordained to be a Monk or Priest (part of white or black brotherhood), he is usually given a name of a Church saint.

His holiness was given the monk name of Maxim after one of the greatest Christian saints of all times Maxim the Confessor . Saint Maxim (The Confessor) was martyred for Christ in nowadays Bulgaria lands.

After a while, he was for a short time he served as a Hierodeacon to Lovchanski's Metropolitan (Metropolit of Lovech) and in year 1942, his holiness was assigned as a Theology Teacher in Sofia's Spiritual seminary ( Sofiiska Duhovna Seminaria ), he served as a Christian Theology teacher for about 5 years from y. 1942 to 1947.

In 14 May 1944 from HieroDeacon he was consecrated to be  Hieromonk, 3 years later in 1947, he was raised to Archimandrite and assigned as Protosingel of Dorostolsko – Chervenska Eparchy ( Dorstol's Eparchy ) by Mitrpolitan Mihail (Michael).

By decision of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church Holy Synod, Archimandrite Maxim was send to serve as a rector for  Bulgarian Christian community  in Moscow, his ministry in Moscow lasted almost 6 years from 1950 to 1955.

Archibishop Maxim came back to Bulgaria in 1955 and was assigned as a Head Secretary for the Bulgarian Orthodox Church Holy Synod. As a primary secretary of Bulgarian Church Holy Synod he served in year 1955 to 1960. Along with his duties are primary secretary of Holy Synod in 1957 to 1960, he was serving as a Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Synodal periodical spiritual literature print.

In 30 December 1956, he was hierotonize ( ordained ) as  Bishop Branitskogo (Branitski) – this happened after proposed by his all holiness patriarch Cyril and decided on one of the regular Holy Synod of Bulgarian Orthodox Church meetings.

Patriarch Maxim in his early patriarchate years picture

30 of October his holiness was assigned to serve as Metropolitan Lovchanski ( Metropolit of Lovchanski Church region ).

Patriarch Maxim blessing with Crufixi Cross and Sceptre

After the passing to Christ of our previous Bulgarian Church patriarch, his holiness patriarch Cyril (Kirilos), in the following in the Patriarchate Church (national) assembly of BOC (Bulgarian Orthodox Church) 4 -8 July 1971 in Sofia, Metropolitan Lovchanski Maxim was canonically chosen to be vicar of the BOC Holy Synod.

Patriarch Maxim sitting Patriarchate throne and with patriarch crown and scepter

His entronization as new patriarch took place on 4 July 1971 in Alexander-Nevski's ( Bulgarian Holy Synod ) council. Patriarch Maxim became the 21-st ( Primate ) Patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox.

According to Bulgarian Church internal law, the patriarch of Bulgaria is also a Metropolitan of Sofia.

Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria Orthodox Church
Little after he was chosen the Patriarch of all Russia at that time Pimen, in his speech spoke of the recently chosen Bulgarian patriarch as a prominent hierarch with many virtues.

In November y. 1974 the Assembly of Sofia's Spiritual Academy awarded His All holiness Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria for his great theological contributions Phd scientific rank ( honoris causa ).

Patriarch Maxim smilng

To celebrate his 60th anniversary BOC Synodal Publishing of Sofia issued a collection of his works entitled "In the field of the Lord" (Sofia publishing 1975). The book includes words, speeches and articles of Patriarch Maxim for period 1950 – 1974.

In 1974, the Council of the Sofia Theological Academy awarded Patriarch Maxim for his theological writings a degree of Doctor of Theology honoris causa. 60th Anniversary of Patriarch Maxim Synodal Publishing in Sofia issued a collection of the works of his work "In the field of the Lord" (Sofia, 1975). The book includes the words, speeches and articles for 1950-1974 Patriarch Maxim's.

Patriarch Maxim blessing the Bulgarian Orthodox Christians

Last year the newly chosen Patriarch of all Russia, Cyril met our Patriarch Maxim.

Over the last years the patriarch has suffered severely with Diabetes and had a health complications, "being powerful in his infirmities", just like Holy apostle saint Paul. Patriarch Maxim leaded the Bulgarian Orthodox church wisely preventing the Church from complete disintegration and managing to keep the Church existent even though the severe attempts of Communist authorities to destroy the Church. His long given rulership over the Church is something very rare in whole Church history since Christ and in my view can be considered indicator that his holiness patriarch Maxim was pleasing to God in his service.

The funeral of Patriarch is to be served in Troyanski Manastir (Trojan Monastery), in the Church Dormition of the Holy Theotokos behind miracle making icon of the Virgin Mary on Friday 9th of November 2012. By God's providence and the Holy Synod of BOC decision, his body will be laid in the same monastery, where he was ordained as monk. The funeral preparations will be made by the Abbot of Troyanski Monastery Branitski / Bishop Grigorius (Grigorij).

The Bulgarian Government announced Friday to be a day of sorrow in memoriam of patriarch Maxim. Along in the whole Bulgarian country Churches Za Upokojna slubja (A service prayer for the newly introduced patriarch in the Lord ) were served yesterday and will be continuously served in the next 3 days.

Now what is left is we pray for our patriarch's soul and by patriarch Maxim's prayers the Lord Jesus Christ to bless our Bulgarian Orthodox Church with another good and wise patriarch.
 

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen! Happy Easter! / The Miracle of the Holy Fire in Jerusalem

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Christ is Risen Icon

“Christ is risen from the dead,
trampling down death by death,
and on those in the tombs bestowing
life!”

Happy Easter to all my beloved readers. In relation to the Greatest feast of all times I wish to all my readers a lot of good health, a lot of success in all good, and a lot of love. Rejoice for the Lord and Saviour of mankind has been risen!

In Jerusalem the Holy Fire has descended from Heaven. For all Unorthodox Christians, it’s important to note that the Holy Fire is the miracle confirming that the Christian Orthodox faith is the true ancient Christian faith in fulness!

Each year the Holy Fire descends from heaven and lights up the candle of the Patriarch of the Jerusalem Church. This only happens on the Orthodox Easter! This is without question a great miracle and a very graceful act by which God shows us he has not left us behind.

Here is a video you can watch, where you can see the miracle happening as well as a discussion, is really the miracle real:

Miracle of the Holy Fire in the Holy Sepulchre (Jesus’s Tomb) in Jerusalem – Easter 2011

Holy Light (Holy Fire) in Jerusalem: Proofs & Testimonies

During the three days in which, we the Christians celebrate the glorious Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour. It’s accepted that the ordinary “Hi” or “Hello” greeting we use daily, is ex-changed for “Christ is Risen!” 🙂

The word “Easter” used for the Resurrection 3 day feasts is also interesting as it comes from “Eastern” – (e.g. Eastern Orthodox Church) 🙂

Bulgarian Orthodox Church canonized the Orthodox Christian Martyrs of Batak and Novo Selo as saints in a Church feast Holy Liturgy

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

Today the 3rd of April in the Patrierchal Cathedral Saint Alexander Nevski in Sofia, the Bulgarian Church has officially canonized the martyrs from Batak and Novo Selo.

The Holy Liturgy in Saint Alexander Nevski that’s been held in the st. Alexander Nevski (Largest Cathedral Church in Bulgaria) has been led by the his All Holiness the Patriarch of Bulgaria Maxim.

The holy liturgy canonization has been also transmitted live in the Bulgarian National Television.
The canonization itself took place right in the end of the Holy Liturgy.
Where the bulgarian leading clergy (bishops, metropolitans archimandrites, the Patriarch himself) has officially announced the decision of The Bulgarian Church Holy Synod to Canonize the Martyrs, who had endured martyrship for Christ in Batak and Novo Selo villages during the April’s Bulgarian liberation revolt in May 1876.

The martyrdom and the all the surrounding events that occured has also been widely known in the Bulgarian history under the name The Batak’s Slaughtering / (Batashko Klane as we call it in Bulgarian)

The mini liberation revolt has been extinguished by Ahmed Aga Barutanliqta in the brutal blood-bath according to different historical estimations the murders done by The Turkish mayor Ahmed Aga had been in the range of in between 1750 and 5000 people most of which were an innocent peasants who had voluntary agreed to left behind all their weapons and surrender to the Turkish bashi-bozluk.

Most of the martyrdom of the newly canonized martyrs has happened in the Church “Holy Sunday”

Therein in this Church the terrible blood bath occured. The about 200 peasent, martyrs had stood in the Church for a three days, the turkish has digged small holes in the Church walls and shooted through them to kill them, a fire and gas has been used to kill as many as possible, many of the killed martyrs has been little children with their mothers.
The Turkish soldiers (beasts) couldn’t enter the Church because the Church was so filled with layman that the people were pressing the Church doors.

Holy Sunday Batak a while after the brutal blood bath in the Church
The peasent martyrs had no water in the Church, so they used the float light (icon-lamps) as a drinking liquid and blood of their dead brothers and sisters as a water substitute. The Bashi-bozouk Ahmed Aga ordered that beehives are let in the Church to sting the Martyrs as well as burning straw soaked with gas was throw in stifle the poor peasents.

On the third day all that left alive, went out of the Church, when they found out they’re doomed if they stay in.

All the Batak peasents that rejected to accept the Islam have been beheaded, this are the same saints which has publicly been announced by God’s providence to be venerated as a Church martyr saints Many of the young bulgarian mothers and girls, who have left the Church had been brutally raped and then slaughtered for their faith in Christ.

The Batak blood bath and martyrdom has been so severe and shocking that it horrifyed all Western Europe, Russia and America.

Here is another picture taken in Batak after the brutal butcheries, it depicts the widow wife of the initiator of the revolutionary rebellion
, stading near a writting in cyrilic made of bones reading Remains of 1876 .
Batak Remains of 1876 written with bones of killed peasents

A while after the Martyrdom of the saints in Batak, the turkish army tried to withold the information about the brutal killings, which were absolutely inacceptable for the 19th century.

They tried to burn the Stone Church where they did their bestiality but without any success by God’s providence, next the turkish bashi-bozluks tried to hide about the butchery by burying many of the dead bodies and re-painted the Church laws, however as a miracle of God very soon the martyrs blood which sprinked up the Church laws has appeared on the laws.
A Pilgrim of the newly canonized martyrs could see still the blood of the martyrs preserved there on the Church laws and see the big numbers of relics of the slaughtered martyrs.

Here is the stub used to behead the Batak’s martyrs which is now kept in the Bulgarian National Museum:

Beatiality of Batak the stub of martyr beheadment

The other martyrs which were canonized on the great feast for our Bulgarian Church were brutally killed 8 nuns in a Novo Selo’s nunnery, they endured martyrdom again in 1876, the Novo Selo (a nearby village).

The newly canonized saints is the last canonization that occured in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church since the canonization in the distant year 1964 when the Church decided to canonize (venerate as a saint) saint Sofronii Vrachanski (st. Sophronius from Vratsa)


During the Holy Liturgy, an icons presenting the Batak martyrs and the Novo Selo martyrs had been consecrated by his all Holiness Maxim Patriach and head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

The Batak and Novo Selo saints day feast in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church will be celebrated each year on the same day as they endured martyrdom 3rd of April.
His Holiness Patriach Maxim is currently aged 96 and is one of the oldest if not the oldest Orthodox Christian patriarch in the worl today!

A Small chunk of the Batak and Novo Selo’s saints Canonization is available for watching on the address http://www.vbox7.com/play:004f8828

The complete number of canonized saints as martyrs in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church is about 700.

On the canonization festive holy liturgy there were Orthodox Christian representatives of the Romanian and the Russian Orthodox Church.
Icon of the newly canonized saints of Batak Bulgaria
Batak saint Martyrs Icon

I pray that the merciful God (The Holy Trinity), be merciful to all us the Bulgarian Orthodox Christians and all the Orthodox Christians around the world and grant us forgiveness of our sins and our Lord Christ grant us be with him and the Father and The Holy Spirit in paradise, Now and Forever and Ever! Amen