Posts Tagged ‘priests’

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

Saturday, July 9th, 2016

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Saint Cosma and Damian Healer Saints Icon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Akathist saint John of Rila July Morning Kavarna

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Starting the Lithia (Procession) 

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The procession – notice the unique beautiful nature

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The procession climbing the way to the Roman Basilica

The first Sun lights on July Morning in Kavarna

The Sun rising over the Chirakman cape, first sun lights

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

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

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

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Lighting up charcoal for censor (incsensory)

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

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

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Fr. archimandrite Konstantin reading prayers

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Christians praying at the Majestic Basilica Remains

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

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During the Acathist to st. Cosma and Damian

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

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

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Father Vasilij reading the Gospel after the Acathist

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The Basilica st. Cosma and st. Damian Alter

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

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Father archimandrite Konstantin blessing with the sanctified water from the Acathist

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

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Common picture of everyone after the Acathist

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

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


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

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

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

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!"

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"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 …"

 

 

Beatuiful Coptic Orthodox Church hymns – Coptic Orthodox Church one of the most ancient Christian Churches

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Coptic Hymn – Hos Erouf

A curious custom of the Coptic Church is the liturgy that prays and sings it in Coptic, the original language of ancient Egypt. The Church keeps alive the language of the pharaohs, which was written in hieroglyphics, hieratic and demotic and now a modified version of the Greek alphabet, Egyptian written in Greek and demotic (the Copt) was gradually being forgotten, lost ground to the Arabic and thus became incomprehensible. However, the Coptic Church preserved the ancient Egyptian language by tradition thanks to its rites. The video shows images and also religious Copts of pharaonic Egypt, the Copts are the descendants of the ancient Egyptians who have become Christians

O lord Jesus help me.coptic hymn – An coptic hymn in arabic language (not coptic) with english subtitle

Coptic orthodox St Mary Hymn

One can see the Roman Catholic influence on some of the shown icons. The music however is simply terrific!
The Coptic Christian spirituality can be felt. It is well known fact from egypt a lot of monks has spread Chrisian faith in Western Europe.

Je Nai Nan Lord have mercy, coptic orthodox hymns جي ناي نان, ارحمنا

Oh poor Christians of our age we are. We have no love we have nothing.

Coptic Orthodox Hymn: The Virgin M.A.R.Y العدرا م ر ي م (English Subtitles)

"O Sing Unto Him…" Coptic Orthodox Hymn

Blessed is He (Evlogimenos Palm Sunday Festal Hymn English) – Orthodox Hymn (Coptic Rite)

I live in the Netherlands, here people are slowly forgetting their faith who made them what they're now. The state of Christian Church is so weak. We have no prayer power. We walk sick, we don't live like brothers, Oh Lord help us and re-unite your sheeps and put us back in your farm. Lord Have Mercy, Lord Have Mercy, Lord Have Mercy

Coptic Orthodox Hymn: Aripsalin – آربصالين O sing unto Him who was crucified, buried and resurrected, who trampled and abolished death, praise Him and exalt Him above all. Take off the old man, and put on the new and superior one, come closer to greatness of mercy, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + All you Christian people, the priests and the deacons, glorify the Lord for He is worthy, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + Come to us O three children, whom Christ our God has lifted, and from the Devil has delivered, praise Him and exalt Him above all. For the sake of your God the Messiah, the Giver of all good things, come unto us O Hananiah, praise Him and exalt Him above all. O Azariah the zealot, morning and noon and the evening, glorify the power of the Trinity, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + Behold Emmanuel [our Lord], is now in our midst O Mishael, proclaim with the voice of joy, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + Gather now and persevere, and proclaim with the priests, bless the Lord all His works, praise Him and exalt Him above all. The heavens declare the glory, of God until this day, O you angels whom He has made, praise Him and exalt Him above all. Now all you powers of the Lord, bless His honored name, O sun and moon and all the stars, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + And also you rain and dew, sing praises unto our Savior, for He is the God of our fathers, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + Glorify the Lord O clouds and winds, together with the souls and the spirits, O you cold and fire and heat, praise Him and exalt Him above all. You also nights and days, light and darkness and lightning, glorify the Lover of Mankind, praise Him and exalt Him above all. You trees and all that springs on the earth, and all that moves in the sea, mountains and the forests, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + Praise without ceasing, the Lord the King of the kings, O you rivers and seas, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + And we also seeing them, let us say with all these things, bless the Lord all you birds, praise Him and exalt Him above all. O snow and ice, cattle and wild beasts, bless the Lord of lords, praise Him and exalt Him above all. Bless the Lord as befits Him, and not like the heretics, all you sons of men, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + O Israel offer before Him, honor and glory in a joyful voice, all you priests of Emmanuel, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + You servants of the true God, the souls of the righteous, and the humble and the charitable, praise Him and exalt Him above all. God my God is the One, who saved you from danger, O Sedrach Misach and Abednago, praise Him and exalt Him above all. Hurry with great haste, O you righteous of the Lord, and all the creatures He has made, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + Coolness and repose without ceasing, grant unto all of us, that we may joyfully proclaim, praise Him and exalt Him above all. + And also Your poor servant Sarkis, make him without condemnation, that he may join all those and say, praise Him and exalt Him above all.

12 разбойников / Жило 12 разбойников – Руская православно-народная песен

Monday, November 19th, 2012

12 разбойников / Жило 12 разбойников – Руская православно-народная песен On the Church service in Nijmegen in the Serbian Orthodox Church today, there were Rusian priest guests invited by on e Dutch orthodox person who sings in Russian Orthodox Church choire in Nijmegen. The priest came from saint Peterburg Russia. The serving priest was father Sergii, he came with a deacon. The usual Saint John of Crysostom holy liturgy was served by the Russian priest Father Sergii, who was also with a deacon (I think also from st. Peterburg). The church service as every Church service was a great experience for all orthodox. After the end of service in the traditional way as they do it here, all brothers from the Church had a sort of Agape small meal together. I traveled to Nijmegen with Father Dushan who was kind enough to take me with his car Wolkswagen to the Byzantine Capel Church in Nijmegen. As the serving priest and the deacon was guest priests, father sergii asked them to sing a traditional Russian-Church folklore song called 12 Robbars (Burglars)
I hear the song for a first time, and I found it quite beautiful and decided to reshare for people. It seems 12 Разбойников is a song well known by Russians, but maybe less known among non-Russians. Enjoy 🙂

Иван Ребров – Жило двенадцать разбойников Jilo 12 Razboinikov is a song telling a story about 12 Burglars, who killed a lot of Christian and stole a lot of treasures while stalking in the woods. But a big change happened in them as they repented and become monks and prayed to God asking for forgiveness of their sins and asking for mercy of them and the whole world. Really nice piece of Spiritual Song.

By the way the Spiritual Living of the Parohija (as Serbians call their parish) headed in Nijmegen here by Father Dushan is quite rich. Just two weeks ago there was a great deal happening as two Serbian Church Bishops came for the feast of birth of Saint Constantine and Remembrance of saint Constantine and Helena (which took place in Nish nowdays Serbia (ex-Yugoslavia).

I heard from Father (Hieromonk) Dushan who is serving in the 3 Serbian Orthodox Churches here in Holland (in Breda, Nijmegen and Amsterdam), that next month (December 2012) here in Serbian Orthodox Church Nijmegen a guest priest will come from Syriac orthodox Church (belonging to Antiochian Patriarchy) to serve a Holy Liturgy in Arabic! Will be interesting to see.
Deacon holding Holy Chastice

Father Sergii from St. Peterburg Holding Holy Chastice

Srpska cyrkva parohija eparchy all people after Church Service Holy Liturgy picture zaedno

All people from Eparchy Orthodox Serbian Church Nijmegen  picture in front of Alter wall

Serbian Chetec (Holy Bible reader) and ipodiakonus with Father Sergii blessing the in Holy Liturgy

 

Русская народная песня "Жило 12 разбойников" Ali Askerov

Communistic Government BCP epoch deliberately tried to destroy the Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Communism Reality, Anti Communism Poster

As a Child I've been baptized in the Orthodox Church and since then I've been a complete atheist until the age of 21.
What is the reason to get my faith in God in 21? This is a short post to shed some light on the great efforts of communism to erradicate faith in God in Communistic countries and change faith in God with faith in man and how this kind of approach devastates societies.
During the communism it's a well known fact that communists, all the members in the Bulgarian Communist's Party (BCP),has led an anti Bulgarian Orthodox Church government politics. The fact that Communistic Governments are fighting Churches and faith in God is less known among youngesters and hardly known by people part of western democratic societies.

I did not lived this time myself, but I heard many stories about the stupidities of communism.
Many older people say, when communism came to rule the Communist Government did immediately destroy some Orthodox Christian temples, some priests were convinced in crimes they were not responsible for etc…
Other priests were send in the Concentration camps and many of them never returned in the society.
"Access" to the Churches was limited and sometimes prohibited to the orthodox layman and often to clergy.
During these terrible communism era, it was prohibited to everybody who is a member of BPC to attend Orthodox Church services or identify himself as christian in public.
I've heard from my grandma an interesting story she witnessed, while she was working as a cleaner in the militia (police).
Here is the story:
One day my grandma wanted to go to the Church St. George located on the city centre of Dobrich city Bulgaria.
A policeman stopped her when she was entering the temple and since he knew her as an employee in the police called her by name and told her that she is not allowed to enter the church building, because she is working in the police.
My grandma asked the militiaman to let her enter the temple to pray for just few minutes and light up a candle (just for this time) without reporting for that in the police.
The policeman agreed to let us in and keep silent that she entered the Church this time,but warned her that if he sees her another time entering the church he is going to report to the respective authorities.
Another part of the Government active politics against the Bulgarian Orthodox Church was by placing an ex-criminals who were sentenced for thefts, rapings, agression or other crimes as a priests in the Church.
By this move the supreme counsel of the bulgarian communist party wanted to break the people confidence in the Church as the true holy apostolic Church. The most fierce communists during these days did their best to present the church of God as a corrupted and void institution who only steals from people and exists only to deceive society.
Yet many years after the fall of communism this people distrust in the church that communists sow through the years.

What is pity is even after the communism is gone for a long, time the churches are only full on biggest feasts and no more than 5% of the citizens are regularly going for Church service or have even the basic knowledge on the Church truths and mysteries.
Following the fall of communism the democratic governments who come to power, elected in a citizen democratic elections did not do much to help the church either, some of them does lead politics openly hostile to our Bulgarian Church.
The last government selected, seems to be less hostile to our Church, but people have once been cut away from the Church and now its really hard for our nation to get back to faith.
The severe crisis (a word that means judgement in greek) and the hardships many people experience started to make some people rethink about what is the meaning of life and made them occasionally go back to faith of our fathers orthodoxy.
What will happen further nobody knows, we need to pray and hope God will have mercy and people will repent for their sins and come back to faith again.

Palm Sunday day feast in Bulgareevo (Bylgareevo) – A Pilgrimage Journey to venerate a particle of the life giving cross

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

palm sunday cvetnica orthodox icon

I’m just coming back from the Bulgareevo (a small village cituated nearby Kavarna).
Bylgareevo is a middle size bulgarian village situated near the sea and is not famous with anything significant.
The village has two Orthodox Church temples and a serving Priest (an Archimandrite, father Metodii).
Father Metodii is one of this priests that is a person to remember as he is a truly devoted to Christ monk. Since about two years of time he has reconstructed his local village house and the yard nearby the house into something which hopefully in the short future will become a fully monk inhabited spiritual fortress (A Monastery).
Father Metodii lives and believes part of his service to God constitutes in rising this small monastery and gathering together Bulgarian believers in order to further rise up the Bulgarian faith in Christ and to become a center for spiritual pilgrimage.

The monastery already has a monastery bell, a monks cells and the small chapel (parakles/paraklis) prepared to be as a place for monks pilgrimage.

Father Metodii’s efforts to make the monastery an attractive place for future candidate novice Monks and Monks are truly genuine!
All he has done by so far is a good example for all us the Christians to follow. Most of the expenses related to the Monastery building are being paid by the Father himself as he has donated all his possession to the Church.
As part of this efforts to rise up the place as a place for spiritual pilgrimage by God grace Bylgareevo’s monastery has been granted the honour to contain a particle of the Holy Live giving Cross Tree on which our Lord Jesus Christ has been crucified.. By God’s mercy the Patriarch of Jerusalem and the local national museum has donated two particles of the Holy Cross on which our Lord Jesus Christ was Crucified and suffered for our sins.

Now the holy crucifixion cross remains particles are being kept in the Monastery’s small chapel for pilgrimage. Thus the opportunity for a pilgrimage journey to Bylgareevo on this day of great spiritual joy Palm Sunday was a huge blessing for me and the few more brothers and sisters with whom we traveled to Bulgareevo
Below I present you with a picture on which you can see Father Metodii (Methodius) holding in hands the small particle of the Crist’s Crucifixion cross tree (embedded in the center of the wood cross on the picture).Father Methodius holding a cross containing a particle of the cross on which the Lord Jesus's Christ was crucified

The name of the village Bulgareevo is also really interesting as it’s a direct direvative from the word Bylgariq (which translates as Bulgaria).
Along with the two particles of the Holy life giving Cross where the saviour Jesus Christ was crucified, father Metodii has collected some great saint relics, just to name a few of the relics which are in the newly built monastery in Bulgareevo; holy relics of saint Panteleimon, holy Relics of Saint John of Rila etc.

Now going back to Palm Sunday‘s feast essense, Palm Sunday is among the 12 Church feasts in the Orthodox Churches, we use to call (The Lord’s feasts [Gospodski Praznici]), and thus is one of the 12 feasts which are most spiritually richful for Bulgaria as an Orthodox Nation and for all other national Orthodox Churches around the world.

Palm Sunday is always celebrated on the Last Sunday before the beginning of “the passionate week”, the week in which we who believe in Christ’s name remember the great trials and suffering our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has carried for the salvation of all Christians.

Palm Sunday is the feast in which we as we read in the Gospel readings in the Church, commemorate Christ’s entrance in Jerusalem on a small donkey.
Here is a small chunk of the Gospel reading for the day:

They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the King of Israel!"

In this scripture text as we read above the people were glorifying God and Christ as the son of the God in accordance to the Old testament scriptures in which it was prophecised that the Saviour of Mankind (The Messiah) would walk in through the entrance doors of Jerusalem riding a donkey.
People who were present observing the Lord’s entrance were witnessing the fulfilment of the old testament psalms prophecies by glorifying the Lord.

This were the same people which just a week later were screaming “crucify” him …

On Palm Sunday it is a Church tradition in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church that willow branches are being blessed by the priest and then distributed among layman as a blessing and a remembrance of the Palms which were layed upon the Lord’s entrance in Jerusalem.

Later on we took the willow branches in our homes and place it in our home icon-stands (the place with the icons we use for a prayer to God).

The use of willow branches in our Church has been established through the years as a Palm Trees substitute as the Palm tree does not grow in the Bulgarian lands

In Bulgaria Palm Sunday is known as Tsvetnitsa. People with flower-related names, (for example Tzviatko, Margarita, Lilia, Violeta, Yavor, Zdravko, Zjumbjul, Nevena, Temenuzhka, etc.) has a name day on that date.
It’s a pity that many bulgarian people who are baptized in our Bulgarian Orthodox Church, fails to understand the symbolic meaning of the willow branches and doesn’t really understand the essence of the Church feast but just go to Church to light up a candle “to have a good fortune and health”., usually mostly missing the spiritual importance for us the Christians of this feast.. but I hope things would get better with time and more Bulgarians who lost their roots during communism will come back to their ancient faith the Orthodoxy.

I recommend to all Orthodox Christian believers from Bulgaria, Romania and Russia who has the oportunity to visit Bulgaria as a tourist destination or on any other occasion to visit Bylgareevo and do a pilgrimage journey to Bylgareevo newly constructed monastery containing the holy relicts.

You will receive the great spiritual blessing of venerating the particle of the cross on which our Lord Jesus Christ’s most holy body was hanging on!
The cross on which the redemption of mankind was achieved by God’s son 2010 years ago!
The cross on which we have received a forgiveness of our sins!
I thank the Lord for having this good blessed day and I pray that we all who believe in his name come to the understanding to know his as he knows us!