Posts Tagged ‘year’

Apache Webserver: How to Set up multile SSL certificates on multiple domains running on one IP address with Apache SNI feature

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

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In the recent past it was impossible to add multiple different SSL .crt / .pem bundle certificates on Apache Webserver but each one of it was supposed to run under a separate domain or subdomain, preconfigured with a separate IP address, this has changed with the introduction of Apache SNI (Server Name Indication). What SNI does is it sends, the site visitor initiating connections on encrypted SSL port (443) or whatever configured a certificate that matches, the client requested server name.

Note that SNI is Apache HTTPD supported only and pitily can't be used on other services such as Mail Servers (SMTPS), (POP3S), (IMAPS) etc.
Older browsers did not have support for proper communication with WebServers supporting SNI communication, so for Websites whose aim is interoperatibility and large audience of Web clients still the preferrable way is to set up each VirtualHost under a separate IP, just like the good old days.

However Small and MidSized businesses could save some cash by not having to buy separate IPs for each Virtualhost, but just use SNI.
Besides that the people are relatively rarely using old browsers without SNI, so having clients with browsers not supporting SNI would certiainly be too rare. To recognize where a browser is having support for TLS or not is to check whether the Browser has support for TLS extension.

One requirement in order for SNI to work properly is to have registered domain because SNI works based on the requested ServerName by client.

On Debian GNU / Linux based distributions, you need to have Apache Webserver installed with enabled mod_ssl module:

 

linux:~# apt-get install –yes apache2

linux:~# a2enmod ssl

linux:~# /etc/init.d/apache2 restart


If you're not planning to get a trusted source certificate, especially if you're just a start-up business which is in process of testing the environment (you still did not ordered certificate via some domain registrar you might want to generate self signed certificate with openssl command and use that temporary:

 

linux:~# openssl req -x509 -nodes -days 365 -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout /etc/apache2/ssl/your-domain.com/apache.key –out /etc/apache2/ssl/your-domain.com/apache.crt

Here among the prompted questions you need the a Distinguished Name or a DN.
There are quite a few fields but you can leave some blank.
For some fields leave the default value,
If you enter '.', or press enter the field will be left blank.

—–
 

Country Name (2 letter code) [AU]:BG
State or Province Name (full name) [Some-State]: Sofia
Locality Name (eg, city) []:SOF
Organization Name (eg, company) [Internet Widgits Pty Ltd]:Pc-Freak.NET
Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) []:
Common Name (e.g. server FQDN or YOUR name) []:your-domain.com                
Email Address []:webmaster@your-domain.com

 


(by the way it might be interesting to mention here the list of cheapest domain name registrars on the Internet as of January 2017 – source site here

 

Below order is given as estimated by price /  quality and provided service approximate

 

1. BlueHost.com – Domains $6.95

2. NameCheap.Com – Annual fee $10.69

3. GoDaddy.com – Annual fee $8.99 for first year, $14.99$ for each additional year

4. HostGator.com – Annual fee $15.00

5. 1and1.com – Annual fee $0.99 for first year ($14.99 for each additional year)

6. Network Solutions – This was historically one of the first domain registrar companies, but the brand is pricy $34.99

7. Register.com – Not sure

8. Hostway.com – $9.95 (first year and $9.95 renewals)

9. Moniker.com – Annual fee $11.99

10. Netfirms.ca – Annual fee $9.95 first year, Renewal fee is $11.99 per year

 

Note that domain pricing could value depending on the type of domain name country extension and many of the domain registrars would give you discount if you purchase domain name / SSL for 2 / 3+ years.

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Next step in order to use SNI is to configure the WebServer Virtualhosts file:

 

linux:~# vim /etc/apache2/sites-available/domain-names.com

 

# Instruct Apache to listen for connections on port 443
Listen 443
# Listen for virtual host requests on all IP addresses
NameVirtualHost *:443

# Go ahead and accept connections for these vhosts
# from non-SNI clients
SSLStrictSNIVHostCheck off

<VirtualHost *:80>
        ServerAdmin webmaster@your-domain.com
        ServerName your-domain.com
        DocumentRoot /var/www

# More directives comes here

</VirtualHost>


<VirtualHost *:443>

        ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost
        ServerName your-domain.com
        DocumentRoot /var/www

        #   SSL Engine Switch:
        #   Enable/Disable SSL for this virtual host.
        SSLEngine on

        #   A self-signed (snakeoil) certificate can be created by installing
        #   the ssl-cert package. See
        #   /usr/share/doc/apache2.2-common/README.Debian.gz for more info.
        #   If both key and certificate are stored in the same file, only the
        #   SSLCertificateFile directive is needed.
        SSLCertificateFile /etc/apache2/ssl/your-domain.com/apache.crt
        SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/apache2/ssl/your-domain.com/apache.key

# More Apache directives could be inserted here
</VirtualHost>

 

<VirtualHost *:443>
  DocumentRoot /var/www/sites/your-domain2
  ServerName www.your-domain2.com

  # Other directives here

</VirtualHost>

Add as many of the SNI enabled VirtualHosts following the example below, or if you prefer seperate the vhosts into separate domains.

I also recommend to check out Apache's official documentation on SNI for NameBasedSSLVhostsWithSNI etc.


Hope this article was not too boring 🙂
Enjoy life

 


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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.

Bishop_Ierotey_Ksakovof_Agathopol-Bishop-of-Bulgarian-Orthodox-Church_Moto-rocker-feast-Bakadjika-2017

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

Bakadjik-memorial-of-Russian-liberators

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Bakadjik-memorial-of-Russian-Liberators-1

Bakadjik-memorial-of-Russian-Liberators-4

 

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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.


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Preeminent Saint apostles Peter and Paul feast in the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church – June 29

Friday, July 1st, 2016

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"With the Grace of God I am what I am" (Corinthians 15:10)

This year the Peter and Paul feast period in the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church was just 3 days (27,28,29), because it is a movable feast and depends on the Great Lent's longitude

Saint Apostles Peter and Paul are named Preeminent because they have laboured the most in setting the basis for the Holy Christ Church.

Saint Apostle Peter together with his brother Andrew were the first which was called by the Lord Jesus Christ which was destined by the Great providence of God to become his desciples and apostles.

Saint Peter's distinguishing soul character was his pure heart and the soul simplicity. Always when the Savior asked questions from his desciples to illustrate them the greater spiritual truths of the Eternal Heavenly life and God's greatness shown through all creation and to reveal them the divine truths about the Holy Trinity it was saint Peter who answered first speaking from the name of all desciples.


That's how one time when Christ asked the pupils "Who do you think I am?", st. ap. Peter immediately answered:

"You're Christ, the Son of the Living God".
Then Jesus told him, "Blesssed are you Simon , son of Johna because no flesh and no blood has revealed this secret to you but my Father which is in heaven; and I tell you you're Peter (in Greek meaning stone), and on this stone I'll build my Church and the gates of hell would not prevail it." Mathew 16:14-18

 

This is the basis, this is the stone which the Lord used to establish his Church – the firmness of faith and the confession that Jesus is Christ (The Messiah), Son of the Living God. Since that moment apostle Peter started bearing also the name Simon-Peter.

 

By his age also saint apostle Peter was first among the apostles. After the Ascension of the Savior and the descent of the Holy Spirit over the Holy apostles he preached that firy sermon conquering the hearts and minds of the gathered many leading to the baptism of thousands.

He preached in many regions of the Roman Empire and many cities and wrote two letters which we find in today's Holy Bible, New Testament – First and Second Epistle of Peter also presented in the Roman Catholic and Protestant Bibles named Peter 1 and Peter 2.

Being in persecution, various griefs and sufferings, the primus in honor among apostles has restlessly preached the Gospel.
In 67 A.D. during the persecution against Christians in eperor Nero's time he was martyred.

His persecutors wanted to kill the apostle on the Cross because he was preaching the crucified Christ, but by his humble request to God for his
unworthiness to die with the same death as the Divine Saviour Lord Jesus Christ his executors decided to crucify him with the cross upside down where nowadays we know the inverted cross as a symbol of the holy apostle crucifix.
In later times the inverted upside-down cross started being paradoxically associated with antichrism and satanism but in reality few know that it is also a symbol left from ancient christian church.

Saint Apostle Paul before becoming the desciple and apostle of Christ was called Saulus. He was a very educated person for his time.
However even though his high education he was a soul blind and unenlightened person. He was initially a fierce persecutor of Christians and even requested by authorities to grant him a special task to persecute and kill all members of the new Roman empire "superstitio" as Christianity was called at that time.
On his way to Damascus a great miracle occured and he believed in the Risen Christ the Messiah (Saviour of the World)!

God blessed the repented persecutor with a glory. By a miraculous way the Lord Jesus Christ has appeared to him and he become from a fierest persecutor of Christians he become the most fervent preacher of the Saving Gospel and Love.
He travelled many cities and has enlightened many nations.
Often persecuted because of his preach and has been in chains was fought with sticks and received various tortures for the sake of Christ.
St. Paul wrote many apistles which are red for edification and example for perfect Christian life and dedication during Holy Liturgy to this very day in the Church and his epistle.

Finally in the same year 67 during emperor Nero after being convicted to be a Christian and an enemy of the pagan state not wanting to sacrifice to the Roman idol gods he received martyrdom being beheaded because he was a Roman citizen.

This are the short biographies of the two most glorious among the apostles. So what is the moral and the lesson by this two great saints?
06.29_sv_peter_and_pavel-ikona

What is the common between the two originally contradictious characters / persons?

The first – simple fisherman, quick in speech and fearful in action who first has confessed the Lord Jesus Christ to be truly God and shortly after his ignition he has denied his Master and Christ thrice.

The other an educated but cruel man a persecuter and killer of Christians.
These two very different man became the two central building blocks of the Church that has enlighted a whole meriad of nations and give them examle and tutoring them in the true way of salvation in the Holy Faith and Love.

By the Grace of God which always heals the sick and the frail, by these grace which unifies not only st. Peter and st. Paul but also all of us in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. In this Church and through this grace we vitalize and are saved.

Not because of our own merits, not because we've done something worthy but only and because of God's Grace as it is also said in the Holy Scriptures "By the Grace of God I am what I am" (1 Corinthians 15:10) says apostle Paul. Let us overcome pride – the mother of all sins.
Because pride is the reason not to give the owed to God's Grace and deceive ourselves that we with our own energies and powers have become what we're.

Everything we achieve by God's Grace but the condition to attain the Grace is to humile ourselves and hope on God's mercy, because God is an enemy of the proud and to the humile he sends his Grace.

Hence, let us live by the Laws of the Gospels, handed in by the Holy Apostles and let us leave completely ourselves to the power of God's Grace and Love, Now and Forever and Ever. Amen!

Translated (with translator cosmetic changes) from Bulgarian Orthodox Church – "Church Newsletter" nr. 26 – year 1995.


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How Orthodox Easter is calculated or Why Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate Pascha (later) on a different date from Roman Catholics ?

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

 

 

why-eastern-orthodox-eastern-is-on-different-date-from-roman-catholics-why-we-orthodox-celebrate-easter-later

 

 


Why Does Eastern Orthodox Churches celebrate their Eastern often on a later or a different date from (Western Christians) – Roman Catholic Church, Greek Catholic Church, Anglican, Presbyterian or Protestant (Evangelist), Old Catholic Methodist, Calvinist or some other kind of Lutheran or Charismatic Christian sects?

If you happen to be born innd raised in America or Western European contry it is most likely, you're little if at all or not at all aware of the fact that in the Eastern Orthodox Churches the date of Eastern (Passcha) is celebrated often on a different date from the Roman Catholic and the other schismatic churches.

For example, this year 2016 Roman Catholics already celebrated Passcha on March 27th and we Eastern Orthodox Christians are still in the Great Lent (Fasting) period and we'll have the Easter celebrated on 1st of May.
That certainly raises some questions across people who are not Eastern Orthodox, because the Western Roman Catholic Church and the rest of Protestant Christians are the biggest group of Christians out there and even atheists and people belonging to other religions such as Buddhism or Islam might be puzzled why the Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate easter on a different they if after all they're Christian and what and why is this division among Christians?

With the increased globalization of the World and the fact that currently there are a lot of multi-national international companies and the fact that the companies and businesses today are mostly multi-cultural with people from all the world and all religions across the globe, for some countries situated within countries with predominant Eastern Orthodox population such as Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Greece, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia etc. it might be quite a disturbance because there Orthodox Christian country situated branches might be not able to operate on the days of Orthodox Easter. 

Here is a short example on the martch and dismatch by years between Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Church by years from 2010 to 2020

 

Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Easters from year 2010 to 2020

Year 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
                       
Catholic 4/4 24/4 8/4 31/3 20/4 5/4 27/3 16/4 1/4 21/4 12/4
Orthodox 4/4 24/4 15/4 5/5 20/4 12/4 1/5 16/4 8/4 28/4 19/4

Easter 2000 to 2009

Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
                     
Catholic 23/4 15/4 31/3 20/4 11/4 27/3 16/4 8/4 23/3 12/4
Orthodox 30/4 15/4 5/5 27/4 11/4 1/5 23/4 8/4 27/4 19/4


A complete list of Eastern Orthodox Pascha feast days is here

Funnly or strangely e ven many people who are situated within an Eastern Orthodox country doesn't have a good understanding why and what is the reason our Eastern Orthodox Easter feast is celebrated on a different date.
There is a lot written on the reasons why Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates on a different date Passcha from Catholics however in this article, I'll try to make it as short and clear as the reasons behind are often presented quiet messy.

 

In short there are 2 reasons (rules) why Eastern Orthodox Christian Church celebrates Eastern often on a different date:

1) The Julian calendar which is still used by the Eastern Orthodox Church for counting time
2) Adherence of the Orthodox to the early practices of the Original and Ancient Christian Church for Christian Passcha to not coincide with the Jewish Passover

The consequence of these 2 rules is that the Eastern Orthodox Christians on about 50% of the time throughout  years celebrate Christistmas later from Catholics because the Orthodox Church is following the First Church Ecumenical Council of Nicea (325 A.D.) that has set the rule that Passcha must take place always after the Jewish Passover  because in the Church the Biblical described consequence of events of the Passover and the Crucifix are followed, it appears rest of the Christian churches ignore (break) this requirement and this makes them fall under the Anatemas of the Church fathers from the I Ecumenical Council (see the Full decisions of the 7 Ecumenical Canonical Councils of the Original Church here).


Here the difference for Catholics celebrating on a different date Eastern stems from the fact since the XVI century they're using in Catholic Church the Gregorian calendar (adopted by Pope Gregory the XIII-th) because of scientifical superiority claimed by the Gregorian calendar.

Gregorian Julian calendar-fall-behind-dates by years from 1582 to year 2200

Well as you can see the scientific accuracy of Gregorian calendar is better and with years the Julian calendar is starting to miss astronomical re-calculated dates, causing mathematical incorrectness but the problem with the acceptance of the Gregorian Calendar and the reason why the Eastern Orthodox Church decided not to use the Gregorian calendar for Pascha is the fact that when the Gregorian Calendar was accepted in secular western world and the  Roman Catholic Church in order to matematically align the missing date 13 days were simply dropped off (or from Thursday 4th of October 1582 under Julian Calendar the next day Friday people started being in 15th of October, see the picture below:

inconsistency_change_from_Julian_to_Gregorian_calendar-Date_Change-and-the-missing-13-days

Well as you can see Friday October the 15,  1582 was quite a crazy year for the people as they lay down as 4th of Thursday and they woke up on 15th the next day 🙂

The Eastern Orthodox still to follow the Julian Calendar for Easter feast and some Churches adopted to using partly the Gregorian (Secular) calendar for some of the feasts under the pressure of the Greek Ecumenical Patriarchate , whether some Churches such as the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) which as of time of writting is the biggest Orthodox Crhuch as well as the Serbian Church are completely using the Julian calendar for calculating all feast days. Now what should be known is difference between Julian and Gregorian calendar is 13 days falling back (Gregorian Calendar is 13 days in future), while Julian calendar is 13 days in time behind the Gregorian.
However as prior said sometimes throughout years the Easterns of (Western) Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church coincide, such a date on which we celebrated Eastern on one date is on 24 April 2011.
The two dates coincide when the full moon following the equinox comes so late that it counts as the first full moon after 21 March in the Julian calendar as well as the Gregorian.
In recent years the conciding years was frequent in 2010, 2011, 2014 and will be again  2017 but after that there will be no coincidence of Orthodox and  Catholic Easter feasts until 2034.

For those who might be wondering why the Eastern Orthodox Church choose to not celebrate Easter on a different date here is some information on how Pascha (Easter) was determined historically in the One and Holy Apostolic Church
which for historical and dogmatical reasons is today Our Holy Eastern Orthodox Church.

During the first three centuries of Christianity, some Christians celebrates Pascha on the First date after Jewish Passover and others celebrates the feast on the same time as Passover.
This was causing confusions in across Churches and this together with other heretical teachings caused the Holy Church Fathers (successors of Holy Apostols) of the First Ecumenical Council to gather and decide
how to solve the issue.

The Holy Fathers therefore devices a uniform formula for calculating the date of the Pascha that was inline and taking in consideration the most early traditions of the Church as well as the Biblical
sequence of events.

Here is the Easter calculation forumla devices on I Ecumenical Council:

Pascha is to be always celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox but  always after the Jewish Passover.
 

To even better ensure that there was no confusion as to when the vernal equinox occured the date of the vernal equinox was set to be March 21 (which is April 3rd or 13 days later on the Julain Calendar).
The formula was universally accepted by all of Christianity, ensuring the Pascha was celebrated on the same day throughout the entire Universe (world).
The Eastern Orthodox Church which is keeping to strictly keep the decisions of the fathers 7 Councils and thus strictly keeps the formula in the Church.
The Western Church (Roman Catholic Church) used to be holding also the Eastern calculation formula however in modern times it rejected the Nicene formulate that requires that Pascha to always follow the Jewish  Passover.

Now as the apostacy from True Christian faith is increasing Western theologians and many of the misguided or so called heretical (ecumenism movement oriented) orthodox theologians are starting to claim that the provision about the formula
was not important and thus provision of the formula is rejected and thus ignoring the fact that during years 325 – 1582 as well as the historical date from early Christian historians and Early Canons such as Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons clearly reads:

“If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon celebrate the holy day of Pascha before the vernal equinox with the Jews, let him be deposed.”
 

 The Calendar Issue came to be in 1582  by Pope Gregory XIII with  instituted reform of the traditional Julian calendar. Actually the Protestant Reformation in its beginning harshly defended the Julian Calendar and kept the new Julian Calendar as an unnecessery information at times
when large chunks of the protestantized countries such as Germany and Netherlands were thinking actively of joining the Orthodox Church, however for some historical reason and by the settle backs of the Roman Catholic Church the rejoining of large sea of protestants with Orthodox sadly never happened.

Until 1923 all Eastern Orthodox Chuches was following the Julian calendar for all yearly feasts however as in 1923 an inter-Orthodox congress was helpd in Constantinople attended by some but not all of the Orthodox Churches, the Church fathers gathering took the very
controversial decision to follow a revised Julian calendar (the so called new Orthodox Church Calendar / New Style) which is essentially the same as Gregorian calendar for all things except the celebration of Pascha and few other feasts which continued to be celebrated across all Orthodox Churches on the same dates across all  Eastern Orthodox Churches who are in full eucharistic communion.

The official claimed reason for accepting the Gregorian calendar and moving most of the feasts +13 days in future  was that within some eastern countries many of the orthodox christian workers couldn't attend many of the 12 important feasts because of work duties (for example 7th of January is a working day in most of the world except Russia and thus it is a problem for many to attend the Church service and prepare and much more confortable if the feast is celebrated on 24th of December like it is in Roman Catholic and Protestant christians) – i.e. the change was initiated most for economical reasons right after the end of the 1st world war.

The result is now many of the great 12 Church Feasts in Orthodox Church like Christmas (Nativity of Christ), Epiphany, the Nativity of the Holy Theotokos, Entrance Presentation of the Theotokos in many of the Orthodox Churches together with Catholics but not with Russian Church and the other Orthodox Churches who still stick to the Julian Calendar.
The only other feasts which are being celebrated together with Russian Orthodox Church is Pentecost and Ascension as they're movable feasts depending on Pascha according to Julian calendar.

For us Orthodox tradition and Church teachings are of paramount importance and thus sadly the change to re-visited Julian calendar just created further confusion internally in the Eastern Orthodox Church, today many people who completely stick to the Julian calendar and refuse the re-visited Julian calendar has joined Schismatic Self-Proclaimed Orthodox Old Calendar Churches or for those who prefered to stay in full communion with the rest of the Eastern Orthodox Churches and stick to old calendar joined the Russian Orthodox Church and Serbian Church as they're considered to better keep the true faith tradition and spiritual descendance from the holy apostles. The question of the calendar difference has been largely discussed within the Orthodox Church and hopefully on the upcoming Holy All Orthodox Council upcoming this year in June 16 – 27 2016 the question of returning back the Old Julian calendar for all Church feasts might be also raised and resolved, once and for all.

As a closure I'll say that the most important thing why Pascha tends to falls different from Catholics is to show that actually the Eastern Orthodox Church is the original Church and different from Roman Catholic and the true Church of Christ falling the prescription of the Church fathers.

P.S. As the so called "Holy Orthodox Council", often called by many 8th ecumenical counil already has taken place in Crete and there was no real signs for it to be neither ecuminical nor holy as the Bulgarian, The Russian, Antiochian and Georgian Orthodox Churches refused to take participation and the overall observation online from their website holycouncil.org  evidently shows that this council is not needed neither solved any of the real important non-doctrinal problems of the Orthodox Church it also prooved to be a PR kind of council trying to make in the eyes of the world the ecumenical patriarch Bartholomeo to look like an Orthodox Church (head) pope and perhaps the ones who organized this council had this intention together with the intention to put even more confusion concerning the unity of the Orthodox Church and separate the chirch into two parties (a conservatives) and (liberals) sides.
Also after the council finalized it prooved not to be really what it meant to be Thanks be to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The refusal of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to take participation in the council from my point of view as a member of the Orthodox Church was a right one and has delayed the plans of global enemies of the church to destroy it.
An interesting rumor is the holy council in Crete was sponsored with 70 000 000 from anonymous donators within United States some priests claim the money come from secret societies such as free masonry also it is mostly ridiculous the costs that this ecumenical council impeded.

 

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Trip to Shipka Peak,Sopot and 3rd of March Liberation of Bulgaria from Turkish Slavery 1878

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

Shipka_memorial_stone-of-Russian-Turkish-war-and-liberation-of-Bulgaria

Its 3rd of March for one more year, (Bulgaria Independence Day), the Liberation of Bulgaria from Turkish Slavery.
Eternal Glory be to all Bulgarians, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Romanian, Finish, Serbian and Moldovans and All Russian army Soldiers (Eastern Orthodox Christians) who fall fighting for the liberty of  my homeland Bulgaria!

3rd of March is Biggest and perhaps brightest among all the feasts of new history of Bulgaria because on 3-rd of March 1878 San Stefano Treaty (peace contract) between Russian Empire and Ottoman Empire.
My homeland Bulgaria was enslaved under the yoke of Turkish Empire from 1393 (when it fall under Ottoman Slavery) to 1878 received independence and Bulgaria as a country was rebuild for 3rd time (The 3rd Bulgarian Kingdom) arised.

San Stefano's Treaty The treaty created the Principality of Bulgaria with a territory including current territory of Bulgaria plus the Macedonia region (nowadays country of Macedonia) which has historically been most of the time part of Bulgarian Empire and Bulgarian country which at  the time of signing the treaty was mainly populated with Bulgarians. Later the Berlin contract revisioned San-Stefano Treaty because the countries of power at the day didn't wanted such a big country at the heart of Europe.

3rd of March has a very special way of  celebration especially at the places where there was battles between the side of Russian Empire (Ukrainians, Moldovans, Belarusians, Finnish) with the help of  few hundred thousands of Bulgarians, Romanian, Serbians has fought and defeated heroically the Turkish Army – which at the time was better equipped and more numerous than the Russian / Bulgarian and other ally soldiers, but as the saying goes The Power is not in the Multitude but in God alone, so the almost 494 397 soldiers army of Turkish Empire was defeated by just collectively 312  thousands of Russian, Bulgarians and other Christian allies.
This year here in Bulgaria we celebrate 138 years since liberation of Bulgaria from Turkish Slavery, so for one more year, we enjoy freedom from the darkness of economic and religious Turkish slavery.

In the war most of the soldiers that took participation had been Eastern Orthodox Christians so it could be said the war was almost a war of Faiths – On one side All Eastern Orthodox believers and on other Muslims.
The Turkish-Russian war (1877-1878) is hence absolutely epochal and becomes a good history lesson to look back to especially with the latest exarcebation of relations between Russia and Turkey.

The war had been disadvantageous at a certain time and there was a high chances that the Eastern Orthodox armies could have been defeated if it wasn't the heroic win of the Battle for Shipka Peak where about 35000 well equipped Turkish soldiers were defeated by just 5500 mostly Bulgarians and some  Russians.

Shipka-Ottoman-Turkish-fighting-with-Bulgarian-and-Russian-armies-on-Shipka

The Bulgarian and Russian armies has been fortified themselves and has severely fought for 3 days while on Shipka peak with some old fashined battle guns and some old riffles (many of which self produced) and insufficiency of ammos.
The Bulgarians didn't have any food so kept hungry for 3 days while being under a siege of the Ottoman, when they run out of Ammos, the only way to fight was to catch stones and throw over the enemy, when the stones were over, they started picking up the dead bodies of other mates and through over Turkish enemy.

The Bulgarian poet, publicist and Romanist Ivan Vazov has written a glorious poem being inspired by the heroism called "Epic of the Forgotten / Opylchencite na Shipka"
which occured in July / August and September 1877.

Shipka_Bulgarian_turkish-slavery-liberation_memorial_stone
Some years ago I had the chance to visit the Shipka  Monastery and the Majestic Russian Church nearby Shipka  but not until this year I haven't been on the Shipka peak itself nearby the battles where a majestic central majestic monument was build as a memorial stone and few other little memorial stones were build by the Russian Tsarist Army.

Memorial_stone-Shipka-Alexander_II_emperor-of-Russia

Memorial Russian Stone build in honour of the fallen Russian, Moldovian, Belarusian and Ukrainian for the Liberty of the Brotherly slavonic nation.

The stone depicts the Byzantine Empire Eagle (coat of arms) adopted by Russian Empire after fall of Byzantium and a memorial note in honor of Russian Emperor Tsardom Alexander (Nikolaevich) II.

This year by God's grace I had a chance to visit also the central monument stone exactly on 3rd of March as a friend of mine Pavel with his wife Ivanka had already planned a Trip to Shipka for the feast and they didn't objected to join them and visit Shipka Peak.
The monument of Shipka started on 1922 and completed in 1930, the monument was first officially opened in 1934 on top of the entrance of Shipka monument is an enormous bronze Lion (which is a Symbol of Bulgaria and also a symbol of Juda the tribe from which the Saviour God-Man Jesus Christ descended by flesh bloodline. The 3 writtings on the monumentum Shipka, Stara Zagora, Sheinovo are written to commemorate the great battles for liberation that occured on that 3 places.  Traditionally each year since 1934, there is our Eastern Orthodox prayer (Moleben) for the fallen in the fights and great feasts gatherings with Bulgarian and other country officials and a lot of people from VMRO (a nationalist organization), Voini na Tangra (Tangra Warriors) and many mostly nationalists and patriots. It is curious fact that Putin visited Shipka on 3rd of March 2003.

 

We travelled from Sofia to Shipka quite early in the morning 5:45 morning in order to escape the traffic jams and drived to there about 250 km with a short break on an oil station.
Being there nearby the village we had to wait on a long queue with cars of other people going for the Shipka feast and after some 50 mins of jam, we finally parked because it was already impossible to continue because of the multitude of parked cars all around the road.
From there we had to walk about 8 kilometers climb up the mountain as Shipka peak is about 1326 metres high.
Normal way was in a asphalt car road, but as there was many cars going back and forth and the air there was quite dirty after about 2 km we catched alternative wild route through some mountain paths.

God had been good to us these day as even though it is still the end of Winter in Bulgaria and usually March is a cold month the day was Sunny and Warm and there was no rain at all, this was a big grace to us and all of the tens of thousands of people all around …

Being there we entered the monumentum which happens to also be a 4 staged museum with some beautiful monuments inside.

Shipka-Marble-Sarcophagus-with-bones-leftovers-of-Shipka-Heroes-thanks-to-which-Bulgaria-is-free

Sacrophagus with Bone Remains of Soldiers fallen for the Victory of Bulgarian-Russian Brotherly armies on Shipka

Then we had a walk back the road fallowing the 892 steps down from the monumentum to the asphalt road leading back to Shipka village.

Shipka_890-steps-down-the-peak-liberation-monumentum

Going down the stairs from Shipka there are plenty of Souvenirs being sold some Fast Food vans selling coffee, beer sausages and burgers so we took Karnache-ta with Bread (which is a kind of traditional famous Bulgarian hunter sausage) 🙂

Having a kind of dinner we travelled back and went to see the Majestic Russian Church built from 1882 and sanctified in 1902. The Church Crypt (containing also bones of the dead soldiers who left their bones for our freedom), the Church was build with donations from Russians and contains at the moment also a lot of Holy Relics of Eastern Orthodox saints and thus is a great destination for pilgrimage.

memorial-Russian-Church-of-soldiers-fallen-for-liberation-of-Bulgaria

We wanted to sleep in a hotel or a guest house in Shipka but because of the feast everything was already occupied so we travelled to nearby famous Bulgarian revolutionary city Sopot (which is famous for being a very central for the Bulgarian liberation movement of Vasil Levsky) and most importantly the birth place of the patriarch of Bulgarian literature and probably the best poetries, romanist and publicist of Bulgaria of all times Ivan Vazov.

We had called a gues house phone and found a accomodation place to stay for the night in one of the many Guest houses in Sopot and then we our dinner in some local pub called CHICHOVCI (Uncles), nearby Sopot center church which is in famous of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.
Here is time to say that perhaps the fact everything went smoothly with finding an accomodation so easily in so late time and having such a nice dinner nearby the Church was not a coincidence, because earlier on our road back from Shipka, my wife Svetlana was teaching Pavel the Church Troparion of Saint Peter and Paul, which is in honour of st. Paul the protector saint of Pavel.

The guest house accomodation (we got the number to seek for rooms) from a Ads in front of restaurant pub of CHICHOVCI in Sopot turned to be also quite cheap 12 lv (6 eur) per person. So 2 person room costed only 12 euro. We were accomodated straigh in the beatiful crest of the mountain nearby a pine forest.
This night I slept quite peaceful, probably because the air in a small town as Sopot is crystal clear as it is in most mountain parts of our heavinly country Bulgaria.

In the morning we had a quick meal and went for a coffee and tea as we have the custom to do here in Bulgaria mornings on free days in a small but cozy coffee place.

saint_Peter-and-Paul-Church-Sopot

From then on we took some food for a lunch Duners from nearby and went to see the St. Paul, St. Peter church.
The Church is from y. 1840 and is in its authentic form and had plenty of old 100+ years Eastern Orthodox icons and the Christ Grace inside is so heavy. The central icon of the Church in honour of Saint Paul and Peter is considered miraculous and has an all time unexplainable heavy scent.

saint-Peter-and-Paul-church-inside-interior-Sopot

Our next destination was the Museum birth house of Ivan Vazov author of the most famous Bulgarian novel after liberation "Pod Igoto / Under the Yoke", which illustrates very precisely the way of life of common Bulgarian before and throughout the efforts to organize inside bulgaria, liberation war and struggles of Bulgarian ordinary people because of the inhuman Ottoman Turkish enslavers.

Sopot-Ivan-Vazov-monument

As you see behind the monument in remembrance of Vazov, Sopot's mountains and nature just like Shipka's is amazingly beatiful.

Ivan-Vazov-birth-house-the-most-famous-Bulgarian-novelist

Vazov's house is a great place for anyone who wants to go back in time with 130 years back in time and see the way rich Bulgarians housed used to look like, what were people working, what was the common interior of a Bulgarian house for that time as well as many specifics about the glorious (intellectuals) family of Vazov, two of his brothers (Georgi Vazov and Vladimir Vazov), studied in Russian Empire and were succesful and famous Generals in Bulgarian army, where Boris Vazov was famous politician.
Nearby Sopot, there is a special lift for paraglinding and is a famous destination for paragliding very near I heard there is monastery Sveti Spas (Holy Saviour).

Unfortunately this time the time was short and we had to go back so we couldn't visit the monastery, but I'm determined to go there in Sopot / Shipka and nearby hopefully soon in some of coming next holidays – if God bless so.

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Man alone Opens or Closes the Door to Heaven – Bulgarian Priest ( Elder ) Atanas Arolski passed to Christ aged 95

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015


father-Spiritual-Elder-Atanas-Arolski-true-Christian-faith-confessor-passed-away-aged-95-year-Bulgarian_Orthodox-Church
 

Father Atanas Arolski A Notable Priest and Spiritual Father Elder of Bulgarian Lands and Bulgarian Orthodox Church passed away to Christ aged 95. fr. Atanas was born in a small Bulgarian mountain village Hvoyna located in Middle Rodopis Mountain. The priest is famous because he was among the few priests of our  faithless times that walked by Rodopi Muntain villages all their life to preach the Gospel of Christ. 70 years of his earthly life was dedicated to God's word and priesty service.

Fr. Atanas Arolski is born (by God's providence) on 1st of November on the day of Bulgarian Christian enlightener saints St. St. Kiril and Methodius who preached the Holy Gospel Good news of Salvation on Bulgarian lands in the 9th century. And just like the two Thesaloniki brother saints Cyril and Methodius fr. Atanas was enlightener of the Bulgarian nation during all his life. fr. Atanas completed his church studies succesfully in the Seminary of Cherepish "St. John of Rila" in year 1939. Though a lot of the Seminary students choose to become deacons in the Church to escape the mobilization and army service in Second Wolrd War the fr. decided not to cheat and went for a military service. He was ordained priest in 1943. During the last years of his life even when 90+ years old he walked to Malevo village (3km away) from his village and Orehovo village (7km! away from Hvoyna).

otec_Atanas_Arolski_living-saint-elder-of-new-times-from-Bulgaria-who-suffered-a-lot-from-communist-authorities-atheistic-regimes

Its interesting that the father walks to the 3 village Churches where he was assigned to be serving Holy Liturgy and do his many Church duties daiy even though he has a driving license since 1961, however he alone says until this very date he failed to find money to buy a car (because of his humbleness) in order to hide the spiritual reason behind that. 
The most notable father saying is "Man alone Opens or Closes the Door to Heaven" and his life is an example on how one can open the door to heaven and open when the Lord Jesus Christ knocks on the door of our heart.

This priest was torutred severely by the Atheist authorities during the Communist rule in Bulgaria in their attempt to convert him to atheism but fr. Atanas stand firm being a true confessor of Christ as he explains in the short video below, on many times they bring him in police and he was beaten badly with the purpose to show them there is no God and convince them to decline his faith in Christ and the Church but he refused.
Many times to make him stop going to Church and serving Holy Liturgy the authorities threatened him that he will be sent as a political Prisoner to Belene and he was imprison for a time and beaten to death but with God's help he survived. 

In his standing firm for the Church and faith even in times where this was not possible fr. Atanas resembles very much the confessor and God's word preaching of (Saintly) Elder Father Georgi of Jiglarci who recently also passed away 10th of January this year.

fr. Atanas alone used to say that God left him to survive until the fall of Communism in Bulgaria in order to show those who mocked him and tortured him that their regime prooved false demising (nowdays even hated by most of Bulgarian)  but God's Church triumpths victoriously even though the severe trials and persecutions standing according to Christ's word that promised us that the Gates of Hell will not get over his Church.

Below is a nice 15 minutes video made earlier by one of our Bulgarian Televisions (BTV) about this unique confessor priest.
The Holy Scriptures says "Great are the miracles of God in his holies" and movie prooves the Bible verse another time.

One True Story of Rodopi Mountains – A movie about fr. Atanas Arolsky

Ft. Atanas Arolsky the Christian Englightener 91 continues to serve to God  
God forgive and remember fr. Atanas in his Eternal Kingdom and let the father pray the Lord Jesus Christ to have mercy on us the sinners. Amen.

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Introduction of Holy Virgin Mary in Solomon’s temple feast in Orthodox Church – 21 November

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

Presentation-of-Theotokos-st-Joachim-and-Anna-bringing-the-Virgin-Mary-to_Jerusalem_Temple_feast-of-introducition-of-Mother-of-God-into-temple
Presentation (Introduction) of the Holy Mother of God (Virgin Mary)
to the Solomon's temple (at that time of event the second temple) is celebrated on 21th November each year in the Orthodox Church (some Orthodox Churches like Russian / Serbian Orthodox celebrate the feast 13 days later because still celebrating the feast according to the Julian Calendar). Feast is celebrated also on November 21 in Roman Catholic Church but not celebrated in Protestant Church, because the feast is part of Church's tradition and its source of veneration is not the Holy Bible but the apocryphal book the Infancy Narrative of James (Gospel of James) also known as Protevangelion dated from (~ 147 A.D. – 170 AD

The feast is one of the Great feasts in the Church part of 12 Central Church Feasts;

September 8, the Nativity of the Theotokos
September 14, the Exaltation of the Cross
November 21, the Presentation of the Theotokos
December 25, the Nativity of Christ/Christmas
January 6, the Baptism of Christ – Theophany, also called Epiphany
February 2, the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple
March 25, the Annunciation
The Sunday before Pascha (Easter) – the Entry into Jerusalem or Flowery/Willow/Palm Sunday
Forty Days after Pascha (Easter) – the Ascension of Christ
Fifty Days after Pascha (Easter) – Pentecost
August 6, the Transfiguration
August 15, the Dormition (Falling Asleep) of the Theotokos

The feast commemorates the entrance of the Holy Theotokos for a first time into Jerusalem's temple which (for Jewish was the only temple where believed God lived in his full Glory). The Jewish even though gathering in Synagogues to read the Old Testament (Talmud) and pray, does not understand Synagogues in the sense we Christians understand Churches. According to Old Testament given revelation to the Jews, there was one temple holding the (The Ark of the Covenant) nowadays said to be kept in Ethiopian Orthodox Church in the city of Axun. In this temple people went for a special pilgrimage, thanksgiving to God and prayer. The Temple of Jerusalem was a religious site for pilgrimage which is similar to Mecca is for Muslim and  as Jerusalem's Tomb of Jesus (The Church of Sepulchre) is for us Christians. The temple was separted in 3 major parts:
Porch, Holy Place and Holy of Holies. In the Holy Place only priests and priest helpers could enter to service to God and in the Holy of Holies only the High Priest could enter once a year to sacrificy animal according to Jewish Custom. For us Orthodox Christian the High Priest nowdays is the Bishops, Arch-bishops, Metropolitans and Patriarchs). 

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All believing members of the Jewish community B.C. had to be presented "officially" in front of God in the Holy Temple. When the Holy Virgin was born from the already aged (around 90 years old) St. Joachim and St. Anna. The parents out of thankfulnes to God for giving them a child dedicated their child Mary to God and when Virgin Mary turned 3 years old, st. Joachim and st. Anna decided the time to fulfill their promise and offer the Holy Theotokos to the Lord has come and after gathering other young neighbor girls (which were to introduce Mary) holding lighted torches walked in front of the young Mary.

Remarkably the Holy Theotokos walked straight without even looking back to their parents weeping (as most children does) or felt regret for being separated with parents. It was remarkable miracle showing she was choosen by God to become the Mother of the Saviour when her parents left her on the first high step (out of 15 big steps) leading to the temple, she could climb freely like a grown person without falling or showing any weakness a usual kid would do. As the young girls were singing from the Holy of Holies the High priest being told in advance by the Holy Spirit came out to receive the young kid which later become the Mother of our Saviour Jesus Christ. 

Entrance_Introduction_Presentation_of-the-Virgin-Mary-to-Jerusalem-Temple
The young Mary run in joy to the hands of the High Priest Zacharias who were waiting her at the gate of the temple with other elders outrunning the other maidens.

Zacharias blessed her saying, "It is in you that He has glorified your name in every generation. It is in you that He will reveal the Redemption that He has prepared for His people in the last days."
Then, Zacharias brought the child (being moved by the Holy spirit) into the Holy of Holies place where only the High Priest was permitted to enter once a year on the Day of Atonement. He placed her on the steps of the altar, and the grace of the Lord descended upon her. The Holy Theotokos arose being overfilled by the unspoken joy that only the Spirit of Truth.

The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple signifies her total dedication to God and her readiness for her future vocation as the Mother of the Incarnate Lord.  

HYMNS OF THE PRESENTATION OF THEOTKOS TO JERUSALEM TEMPLE

Apolytikion (Fourth Tone)
Today is the prelude of God's pleasure and the proclamation of man's salvation. The Virgin is clearly made manifest in the temple of God and foretells Christ to all. Let us also cry out to her with mighty voice, "Hail, fulfillment of the Creator's dispensation."

Kontakion (Fourth Tone)
Today, the most pure temple of the Savior, the precious bridal chamber and Virgin, the sacred treasure of God, enters the house of the Lord, bringing the grace of the Divine Spirit. The Angels of God praise her. She is the heavenly tabernacle.

 


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The feast of 26 Zographou Bulgarian Holy Mount Athos Martyrs – burned alive by the Roman Catholic Crusaders

Friday, October 24th, 2014

holy-26-martyrs-of-holy-mount-athos-Zographos-zographou-monastery-martyrs-from-the-roman-catholic-crusaders

On 23 October (10 of October in Julian Calendar every year in Zograph Monastery in Holy Mount Athos is celebrated the martyrdom of the 26 Martyrs who were martyed by Latin crusaders in October 10, 1280. The 26 martyrs were burned alive after refusal to accept Union with the Roman Catholic Church as ordered by Byzantine emperor Michael VIII Paleologos. The then wanting to secure his throne emperor gave allowance for Crusaders together with his mercenaries Tatars and and Turks to go and “convert” the Orthodox Slavs to accept the union with the pope who wanted a primacy in the Church.

Mt. Athos stood in firm opposition to the Union. The Athonite monks sent a letter to Michael pointing out that the primacy of the Pope, his commemoration in the churches, celebrating the Eucharist with unleavened bread, the insertion of the “filioque” [“and from the Son”] into the Creed, could not be accepted by Orthodox, and they asked the emperor to change his mind. “We clearly see,” the letter said, “that you are becoming a heretic, but we implore you to forsake all this and abide in the teachings that were handed down to you…. Reject the unholy and novel teachings of a false knowledge, speculations, and additions to the Faith.”


Holy Theotokos – The Virgin Mary icon which spoke with a human voice to a Zographou monk

An icon spoke to an old monk warning that the “enemies of Christ” are coming. The monk went to forewarn the brothers (as he was living 30 minutes afar in a grave-yard), but for his surprise the Holy icon of the Theotokos which spoke to him was found on the monastic entrance.
The brother went and told the abbot (Igumen) Thomas who told to the brothers to either flew in the woods if they’re weak in spirit and to the strong he said to stay and cofess the Holy Orthodox faith. Abbot Thomas together with the 23 monks (24 monks including the abbot) toghet with 4 pilgrims decided to stay in the monastery and suffered martyrdom. The Crusaders who were returning from Jerusalem sent by the ungodly emperor tried to convince the 26 confessors to accept Roman Catholic doctrines such as “filioque” (The teaching that the Holy Spirit cames also from the Son) and to celebrate the eucharist with unleavened bread (like the Jewish) and wanted the confessors to accept the papal union accepted also by the emeror Michael. The 26 Martyrs rebuked these heresies and explained that the “filique” is against the decisions of the 7 Church Councils. Also they give the proof that the Holy Spirit doesn’t proceed from the Son by retelling how John The Baptist baptized Christ and how the Holy Spirit descent over the Lord Jesus Christ in form of a dove. This didn’t convince the papists and the truthful words of the Zographus monks rebuked their error the papists were angered and burned the tower with the holy Martyrs alive. One of the monks fall of the burning tower and the latin though he is dead left him behind however he survived more 30 days! – even though he was on a dying bed and later told what happened to the brothers which came from their hiding places to the monastery. The Holy Martyrs prayed from the fire their last prayer to God to save the Holy Mount Athos and every true Christian on earth from heresies. When they ended their prayer they heard a voice from heaven “Rejoice for great is your reward in heaven!”. The Roman Crusaders heard the voice and were scared howeveras their spiritual eyes were darkened by the lack of the Grace of the Holy Spirit, they kept in their heart tightening. The Martyrdom happened according to Greek chronicles on 10 of October 1280.

The names of the Martyrs for Christ were as follows:

Igumen Thomas, and the monks Barsanuphius, Cyril, Michael, Simon, Hilarion, James, Job, Cyprian, Sava, Jacob, Martinian, Cosmas, Sergius, Menas, Joasaph, Joannicius, Paul, Anthony, Euthymius, Dometian, Parthenius, and four laymen.

The tower building where the holy martyrs were burned was partially kept even though the fire until 1874 however the tower was already too old and it was about to ruin – that’s why it hadto be destroyed. To preserve the memory about the martyrdom of 26 martyrs all brothers of the Zographou monastry decided in one spirit to build on its place a monument.

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This happened the same year 1873. The monument had to be sanctified on the day when the memory of the martyrs is celebrated at the eve after sunrise began a night vigil. The night was moonless and on the heaven one could see only few stars. All around was silence. During the vigil exactly in midnight, after beginning the living and martyrdom of the the holy Zographos martyrs”, above the church all 600 hundred people saw a fire column. Column lighted up the whole monastery and the whole region with such a bright light, that even the small objects in the monastery could be seen. This divine column stayed over the Church for 3-4 minutes and moved and stayed above the monument for 3-4 minutes more and after that started ascending above and formed a ring like a crown, crowning the place where the holy martyrs suffered.

burning-of-26-bulgarian-martyrs-on-holy-mount-athos-zographou-monastery-by-the-crusaders roman catholiclatins

This unusual event continued for about 15 minutes. An eyesights of the miracle were all the brotherhood, guests and hermits who came from nearby Sketes for the feast.

That’s how the Almight God has shown by this miracle omen showing in front of everybody how Godly was the martyrdom of this great confessors of the true faith and loyalty to the Holy Orthodox Church.

Holy 26 Martyrs and Cofessors of the true faith pray the Lord Jesus Christ to save our souls!


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Happy Sysadmin day! – Last Friday of July – The day of the system administrator

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Its-SysAdminDay-SAD-day-the-day-of-the-system-administrtator-cake-hooray

Every Last Friday of July is System Administrator's day. This relatively new technocrat tradition started as suggested by the system administrator Ted Kekatos in 2000.

SysAdmin Day or (SAD) 🙂 as it is also famous is a day to appreciate the achieviments of anyone seriously involved in IT industry. Now is time to say SAD day is not a day for programmers to celebrate as there is separate Programmer's day / Day of the Programmer feast or (DOP / DOPE ) 🙂 that is celebrated on the 256th (hexadecimal 100th, or the 28th) day of each year (September 13 during common years and on September 12 in leap years).

System Administrator Appreaciation Day – (SAAD) was historically inspired by Hewlett Packard magazine advertisement in which a system administrator is presented with flowers and fruit-baskets by grateful co-workers as thanks for installing new printers.

 

DOPE's started as proposed by Valentin Balt and Michael Cherviakov, employees of Parallel Technologies (a software company). In 2002, they tried to gather signatures for a petition to the government of Russia to recognize the day as the official programmers' day.


The modern usual way to celebrate Sysadm day is to get your system administrator a day. If you're at poisition to administrate a couple of hundreds of Windows hosts, you can send a prank message to your colleagues reminding them to buy you a beer or mass mail / set a Outlook Meeting reminder that system administrators – doesn't drink flowers and chocolate 🙂

 

A Day In The Life Of A SAN Administrator

Since 2000, a lot of UNIX / Linux sysadmins and  geeks tend to organize gatherings and Free Software celebration meetings on the SAD day.

SysAdminDay has inspired plenty of other pranky novels and music to glorify the remarkable event 🙂

Here are few to cheer you up.

System Administrator's Day song

Sysadmin day (Karaoke) song


Here are also some PoC for some weird ways to celebrate the day of the system administrator 🙂

System Administrator's Day in Russia Remix
 


HAPPY SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR DAY – HOORAY ! 🙂


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