Posts Tagged ‘remembrance’

Trip to Bakadjiiski ( Bakadji ) monastery Bulgaria near Yambol peak Bakadji and a Rocker Moto feast- A little known tourist Mountain virgin perl of Bulgaria

Saturday, May 13th, 2017

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Perhaps many of Bulgarian citizens and people in Europe who have heard about Bulgaria and its Capital Sofia or have been on a tourism trip to Bulgaria know Saint Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Bulgaria capital Sofia.

However perhaps few know or have heard that saint Alexander Nevskij's Cathedral is not the only Church dedicated to the Russian saint but earlier another small Christian church was build as a remembrance and honor of the Russian-Turkish War Bulgarian liberators who were consisting of (Russian, Belarusians, Ukrainian, Finish and Romanian) soldiers who have sacrificed there life (according to official sources about 70 000 – 100 000 deaths from Russian side) but unofficial sources says 200 000 – 300 000 as a real numbers of victims of Russians and about les say at least 80 000 victims of Bulgarian side.

The Russian-Turkish Liberation war of 1877 and liberation of Bulgarian from Ottoman slavery are among the most notable events for Bulgarian history.

With the coming of peaceful times, the warm feelings and high appreaciation of Bulgarian nation to Russian liberators have been demonstrated numerous times with the creation of innumerable number of Christian Churches and Chapel and other Christian monuments, the most notable along with saint Aleksander Nevski on the city center of Sofia is the monument of emperor Alexander Nikolaevich II-nd   the Liberator

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The first monument in remembrance of the Russo-Turkish Bulgarian Liberation war was built nearby the city of Yambol after the victory of 23rd Donsk – Khazak regiment in Yambol is established 55th infantry (Podolski) regiment, 95th infantry regiment of Krasnoyarsk and some other Russian troop forces while finally in the end of year 1878 here is established 30th infantry regiment of the corups of General Skobelev-Junior.
In the beginning of next year the famous General discusses with Yambol citizens his idea to build a Church "for eternal remembrance of Russian soldiers on the battlefield during the liberation of Bulgarian of Ottoman slavery".

 

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It is decided the idea to be implemented with joint forces between the North slope on the first peak of Bakadjika – also known as "Saint Spas", and on its ridge – on the same place of the Destroyed by Turkish soldiers Monastery "Sveti Spas / Holy Saviour) during the Bulgarian Uprising of April (Aprilsko Vozstanie).
Gen Skobelev and the local people decided to build a small chappel in honor of Russian saint Alexander Nevski who played key role for the rise of Russian nation and thanks to whome Russians managed to escape slavery from the surrounding Turkish khan rulers like Bhatai Khan etc.

With the success of preliminary plan, the place become a common visited (usually mostly during Summer months) by citizens of about 12 km far Yambol city.

With the withdrawal of last Russian soldiers of the region while departing from there general Skobelev gave a precious gift to the newly built Church – an Evangelion with an Engraved Cross.

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Evangelion gift by general Skobelev

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The Cross gift by General Skobelev to the new built memoriam Church saint Alexander Nevski

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Icon of Alexander Nevski kept in the St. Aleksander Nevski Memorial Church in Bakadjika Holy Saviour Monastery.

After the depearture of Russian soldiers the consturctuion works of the temple are completed by Bulgarians with the material aids from Russia.
The iconostasis follows the Russian Orthodox Church tradition engraved by Russian monks and moved in parts to be mounted in the Church.

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The gonfalons and most of the icons are brought by Kiev Pechersk Lavra (The biggest and one of oldest if not earliest monastery on Russian lands) nowdays in capital of Ukrain Kiev.

In 1884 with the presence of the Russian embassador for Eastern Romelia with many official guests and locals
the official sanctification of the Church-monumentum st. Alexander Nevski (nowadays Bakadjishki monastery) has beenmade.
The Church and monastery had gone through a really hard times during Communism (Socialism) in Bulgaria 1944-1989 and until 10-15 years ago it has been left in a very bad state.

However thanks to locals and a Hieromonk Sofronij (known by many locals as Stefan Bradata (Stefan The Beard), the monastery has been quickly starting to recover its material base.

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Fr. Sofronij has been in process of building monastic corups where guests can stay for a night or few but is facing financial problems and he is kindly asking anyone who has the finances and love for Christ and the Eastern Orthodox Church to help with finances, material goods or even workforce and of course novice monks are always needed.

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Nearby the monastery there is a famous Cave well (holy spring water), which according to the local tradition has been revealed in a dream to a monk and the monks has dug hardly the cave wall about 30 meters and then dug down exactly the the place where the monk had the Vision of the Blessed Mother Mary.
Just like in the dream the Miraculous Holy Spring water has emerged exactly on the place shown in the dream, because of the resemblance of the Well found with the Evangelion story of the Samaritan woman at the well – whose name btw in Christian Eastern Orthodox tradition is Photinia, the well later received a name The Well of Samaritan.

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The entrance door leading to the Cave Samaritan Well

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Fr. Sofronij with the Italian sculteres of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Samaritan

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The Well with (Buklica – traditional water vessel in Bulgaria)

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Italian statues of Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well (Holy Water / Agiasmo / Aiazmo Spring)

In case if you want to spend the night in Bakadjika Monastery for a really cheap – 5 euro please contact:

Yambol Bakadjicite
089 895 4611
bradara_indjata@abv.bg


Each on Bakadjika it has become a local tradition for Rockers / Metalheads and Moto fans all around Southern Bulgaria
to gather near Bakadji just 1 km away from Bakadjiski monastery.
Since ancient times the spiritual centers has always attracted people and perhaps this is also true for Bakadjika which earlier has been a place for a heroic battles for freedom and nowdays has become a rocker arena of a different understanding of wild life and human freedom.

This year 2017 it is the 20th anniversary for Rockers gathering on 12 of May on Bakadjika-Yambol Moto feast to meet other who are alike. The rocker event is about to last 3 days until 15 of May.
For the safety of Rockers this year the rockers has been granted a great honor as a Bishop of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church (Bishop of Agathopol – Ierotey Kosakov his whole biography is on Bg-Patriarchy website here) has personally come to the event to pray (with the so called Vodosvet – Or Blessing of Water) for the well being of the Rockers who are to ride and take participation of organized games and racing events of Bakadjika feast.

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What is famous near the monastery and perhaps little known outside of Bulgaria and perhaps in Eastern Europe is the existence of Gigantic Monument (Soviet times / Communist) of Bronze build in year 1987 in honor of 110 years of the Liberation of Bulgarian from Ottoman Turkish Slavery. The monument is a kind of symbiosis between concrete plate with plastics and 32 tons of bronze.

The monument depicts events related to Bulgarian history divided on 3 parts.

1. A Russian Soldier and a Bulgarian (opalchenec = guerilla of the liberation war) – symbol of the heroic victory over Ottoman enslavers and the Victory of Christianity on Bulgarian lands over islam

2. Second comes plastics depicting a mother with a child – symbol of continuity between generations

3. A Cosmonaut (Spaceman) – a symbol for Bulgarian-Russian achievements in science and the mastering of cosmic space  and on the top with a plastic is a young-woman – a symbol for advance of resurrected Bulgarian nation

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

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Great and Holy Friday / Friday of the Crucifix (Remembrance of the holy saving sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Friday of the Crucifix of the Lord Christ

Today is the great and sad day for us Christians in which the Lord has been crucified.

It’s a day of a great spiritual sorrow for all the Orthodox Christian.
It’s also the day in which we do venerate the holy shroud (plashtenica) in which the Lord’s body has been wrapped, after it was removed from the life giving cross.

The priest takes the plashtenica and walks through the temple and afterwards we do venerate the holy plashtenica (The dead body of the saviour).

There is a local Orthodox Church tradition which I believe is very specific to the bulgarian orthodox Church.
The plashtenica is placed on a table, the holy gospel and the holy cross are placed by the priest over the plashtenica (the shroud), after which grouped in a line (first the children, then the man, followed by the woman) we the layman do kiss the holy gospel, the cross and the plashtenica showing evidently our love for Christ and his gospel and our respect for the Lord’s Great Cross sufferings. Further on the layman does crawl (under the table with the plashtenica).

child crawling under a table with plashtenica

plashtenica with the immaculate body of Christ

The crawling under the plashtenica in Bulgarian Orthodox Church is a very known tradition by bulgarian people.

The crawling under the table symbolically shows that we take participation in the Lord’s death.
As it’s written that we all who are in Christ are being death for the world after the Holy Baptism.

There are probably other reasons for which the Church has established the passing under of the holy plashtenica which I’m not aware of.

What is sad is that most people does not really understand the real symbolism behind the crossing below the plashtenica (crossing below the table).

Thus many people who know the feast of Great Friday do come to the church to cross below the plashtenica as an act of superstition, as they don’t really understand why they do it.
They simply interpret that crossing below the plashtenica would grant them “good health”, “a life success” or good fortune.

Many of those people who come to crawl under the table, are not a regular on other Church services (Holy Liturgies) and therefore completely miss even the basics of our Christian beliefs.

Many of those people who are not adept in faith, do come to the Church with the only goal “to crawl below the table” and leave the Church immediately after that …

It’s truly sad to see that especially when I know that we Bulgarians are Orthodox Christian nation.
An Orthodox Christian nation who is starting to forget Christianity …

Just to give you an idea on how people have left astray from Orthodox Christian faith I can tell you for sure that the regular Church goers who attend Holy Liturgies and have intermediate knowledge of Orthodox Christianity and Church order in Bulgaria are not more than 4% of all the Bulgarian population.

This means that probably no more than approximately 300 000 of Bulgarians are in a communion with our Bulgarian Orthodox Church and do regularly confess and take the sacraments.

Here is an Orthodox Singing of the core troparion for the day (in Greek):

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Great & Holy Thursday / Maundy Thursday (Thursday of Mysteries) day in the Orthodox Church

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Today, a day before the suffering of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for our sins remission we do commemorate the day of the Last Supper or (The Supper of Mysteries) in the Orthdox Church.

According to our Church tradition today is the day on which the saviour has established the Church mystery of the Sacrements! (Eucharist)

Here are the exact passages from (Matthew 26:26-28), where by the word of the Lord the Eucharist was established:


“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.'” (Mt. 26:26-28)

The feast is celebrated with a morning Holy Liturgy among all Eastern Orthodox Churches around the world.
It’s common that many layman do confess and take the sacraments on this date.

Before sacraments are received we the layman confess our unworthiness for Christ and beg for him to make us worthy to receive the communion with the prayer:



I believe, O Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, who camest into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first (see 1 Tim 1:15).

I believe also that this is truly Thine own most pure Body, and that this is truly Thine own most precious Blood. Therefore I pray Thee: Have mercy upon me and forgive me my transgressions, committed in word and deed, whether consciously or unconsciously.

And make me worthy to partake without condemnation of Thy most pure Mysteries, for the remission of sins and unto life everlasting.

Of Thy Mystical Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant. For I will not speak of Thy Mystery to Thine enemies, neither like Judas will I give Thee a kiss; but like the thief will I confess Thee: “Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom.”

May the communion of Thy Holy Mysteries be neither to my judgment, nor to my condemnation, 0 Lord, but to the healing of soul and body.

This prayer is actually said everytime before we do take the sacraments through the year, so it’s one of the most-important prayers in our Orthodox Church life.

The Holy Communion establishment is also an act of remembrance a of the Lord’s suffering for the remission of our sins according to his commandment.

One major difference between Orthodoxy and Protestanism concerning Eucharist is that we orthodox believe that by taking the sacraments, we do receive the Most-holy flesh and blood of Christ and through his blood and flesh, the damage sin has created in our hearts, minds and souls (which is forgiven by God in the the mystery of the confessment) is being recovered completjely.

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