Posts Tagged ‘spiritual joy’

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.

The Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ feast in Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Ascension of Christ Orthodox Icon, Voznesenie Hristovo ikona, Vyznesenie Hristovo icona

On 2 of June this year 2011, our Bulgarian Orthodox Church has marked one more bright feast (one of the 12 chief (God’s) feasts).

The Spiritual Joy is great as our Saviour has Ascended to Heaven 40 days after his Glorious Resurrection in front of the amazed desciples, and crowd of people who were with them.

An Angel has also told the people testifing our Lord’s ascension that the Second Coming of our saviour will take place in the same manner as his Ascension.

Here is some passages from the Gospel of Luke 24:50-53

50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.
51 hile he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.
52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.

It’s a tradition in some Orthodox Churches that the Paschal Greeting (Christ is Risen / Hristos Voskrese / Hristos Anesti etc.) is substituted with the greeting:
Christ has ascended by the person greeting, while the respondant confirms answering with Truly he has ascended

This Ascension greeting is not that deeply routed among Christians as the Pashcal greeting, though it’s very truthful and beautiful, to use it instead of the standard daily Hi greeting 😉

The whole following week after Ascension’s feast has been arranged by the Church to be a feast week commemorating our Lord Christ’s glorious Ascension (in his glorified body) to Heaven and sit in the right hand of God.

There is a local village hear in Bulgaria near a village called Spasovo – Saviour’s which has a Church called The Ascension of Christ

In this small village there is a spring which does start flowing only on the date of the Ascension (celebrated on a different date every single year)!!!
That’s amazing God miracle given to strengthen our faith as a confirmation that the Ascension of God’s Son and our saviour Christ is a real event that happened!

There is a false belief seriously accepted in many non-devoted Orthodox Christians who does not know well the Orthodox Christian faith, that on the date of The Ascension the so called Spasov Den (in Bulgarian) – Day of the Saviour , the dead who are in heaven and hell are allowed to get out of Heaven or Hell (for a temporary break) and be a bit closer to the living.
Many people who believe this insanity instead of visiting a Church and being joyful for the Ascension of Our saviour do go to the city graves and spends few hours, crying or remembering the dead …
This kind of believe is firmly non-orthodox and is taken from ancient paganism beliefs.

With all this said I find it important to say few words on why the Lord Jesus Christ has ascended?

The answer to this question gives Christ himself, as he says in the Gospel of John – Chapter 16

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth;
It is expedient for you that I go away:
for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you;
but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

Here is a part of the Troparion for Ascension that is being sing in the Church:

When You fulfilled the dispensation for our sake,
and united earth to heaven:
You have Ascended in Glory, oh Christ our God
not being parted from those who love You,
but remaining with them and crying:
I am with you, and no one will be against you!

Christ has Ascended to all Orthodox Christians!

The third day after Resurrection (Easter)

Monday, April 25th, 2011

It’s the third day, after the saviour’s tomb was found empty. The third day after the evel living has manifested his divinity by showing himself alive to The Holy Virgin Mary (Theotokos) to Mary Magdalene and to few of the Holy Apostles.
The upcoming week is called within the Church The Bright Week
The whole week is a week of a divine spiritual joy which we all the Christians experiens (feels).

God is really graceful to us the sinners in this holy days of the year.

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!