Holy fifteen Hierarchs Martyrs of Tiberipolis a saints of high veneration in Eastern Chrstiandom and Bulgaria in Medieval times


November 28th, 2022

Holy_15_Martyrs_of_Tiveriopolis_orthodox-christian-Icon

The martyrs of Tiberiopolis are the bishops Timothy of Tiberiopolis and Theodore of Nicaea, who participated in the First Ecumenical Council in 325 – both escaped from Nicaea, the priests Peter, John, Sergius, Theodore and Nicephorus, the deacons Basil and Thomas, the monks Hierotheus, Daniel, Chariton, Socrates , Comasius and Eusebius, were little known saints today in Christiandom but back in time these saints has been considered of a great importance and their intercession prayers were often seeken throughout the Eastern Church in Byzantium, Bulgaria and all the Chriatinized lands and perhaps even in the west. 

They were executed on November 28, 362 during the persecutions against Christians carried out by Emperor Julian the Apostate.Since Timothy died quickly due to his age, he was replaced by the layman Etimasius.

After their execution, the fifteen martyrs were buried by the local Christians in stone sarcophagi on which their names were inscribed.

Remains-of-original-Basilica-in-honour-of_15_Martyrs_of_Tiveriopolis

Remains of original Basilica with Tombs of the fifteen Holy martyrs

Later, the ancient Tiveriopolis (today Strumica situated in Macedonia), where the tombs were located, was destroyed by the Avars invasions, but the memory of the martyrs' graves remains in local legends for quite some time as there were many miracles happening on their tomb.

After the conversion of Bulgaria to Christianity in year 864, by Holy Prince (King) Boris, the Baptizer King immediately ordered the Comite (his servent governor) in Taradin, who ruled these lands, to search for the relics of the fifteen Holy Tiveriopol martyrs.

According to the original plan, the holy relics were supposed to be placed in the cathedral church on the Bregalnitsa river, which was being built at that time, but since the local population complained that their spiritual heritage and protection of the area was being taken away and there was a danger of revolts, a compromise was reached to take only the relics of three saints, Timothy, Komasius and Eusebius, and the others to remain in Strumica.

Sts_15_Martyrs_of_Tiveriopolis_Strumica-church

Contemporary Church dedicated to 15 Holy Hierarchs in country of Macedonia

The relics of the other saints were transferred to the new church at the time of King Simeon I (The Great).

According to the famous Medieval Theologian and Historian Theophylact of Ohrid from the beginning of the 12th century, a glorification was composed for the martyrs (which is a christian practice to glorify saints that continues to these day in the Church after new saints gets canonized), and the service was written and held in Bulgarian, which at that time was already having authentic cyrillic letters invented and translated by saint Kliment Ohridski and his pupils which just in western Bulgaria country to 3500. Some of those saint Kliment Ohridski (saint Clement of Ohrid) desciples priests as we know from the sources , composed the glorification church service in honor of the 15 Holy Hierarchs of Tiberipolis (The old Roman name for the area).

Sts_15_Martyrs_of_Tiveriopolis_icon

During the Ottoman invasion, the church of Bregalnica where relics held was destroyed and the holies were again lost.
Only saint Peter's hand remained in Strumica, but during the Balkan Wars in 1913 it was taken by the Greeks to Kukush ( Kilkis ) (Aegian Macedonia).

Sts_15_Martyrs_of_Tiveriopolis_Strumica-Kilkis-church

Contemporary Church in Aegian Greece dedicated to 15 Holy Hierarchs of Tiberiopolis

In Strumica, however the memory of the martyrs remains, whose memory is remember by the local Bulgarians at the place where, according to tradition, they were once killed.
A modern church temple was built on the same site, which is the successor of several older temples.

Below is the list with names and the position each of this holy man had, before their martyrdom:

Theodore Θεόδωρος bishop of Nicaea
Timothy Τιμόθεος of Tiberiopolis, bishop of Nicaea
Theodore Θεόδωρος priest Tiberiopolis
Nicephorus Νικηφόρος priest of Tiberiopolis
John Ioannis priest Tiberiopolis
Peter Πέτρος priest Tiberiopolis
Sergius Σέργιος priest of Tiberiopolis
Thomas Θωμάς deacon of Tiberiopolis
Vasilii Vasileios deacon of Tiberiopolis
Komasius Κομάσιος monk Nicaea
Eusebius Ευσέβιος monk Nicaea
Daniel Δανιήλ monk Tiberiopolis
Socrates Σωκράτης monk of Tiberiopolis
Chariton Χαρίτων monk Tiberiopolis
Hierotheus Ιερόθεος monk of Tiberiopolis
Etimasius Ετιμάσιος a layman of Tiberiopolis

The 15 Holy Martyrs, today are highly venerated in region of Macedonia (today country of Macedonia), as Macedonia has been historically part of Bulgarian Kingdom as well as in Greece who are considered patron saints of city of Kikis (central Macedonia today in Greece), where the local Church of Transfiguration was deciced to be reconsecacrated in favor of the 15 holy hierarchs of Tiberipolis as the hand of saint Peter from the 15 martyrs and an old icon was brough their by war emigrants escaping the Balkan wars, this hand is kept their even today.

Hand-of-saint_Peter-15-tiberioupolis-martyrs-in-Kilkis-church

Hand of Saint Peter from the 15 Tiberoupolis Martyrs holy relic

 

Living of the saints: Saint Mihail ( Michael ) Warrior the Bulgarian venerated November 22 in the Church


November 23rd, 2022

saint-Michael-the-Warrior-Bulgarian-Mihail-Voin-Bylgarin-wall-icon-paiting

Свети Михаил Saint Mihail (Michael) Voyn The Warrior  is known to be Bulgarian by blood origin.
He was born in the town of Potuk (it is assumed that this is today's Batak – the same region where just few years ago the Holy New Batak Martyrs about 1200 to 8000 people who suffered under the Ottoman Turks for Christ being collectively killed in the Church of Saint Nedely in Batak on the night of 2nd of May 1876 AD and were canonized in the Church just few years ago from now).

New_Holy_Martyrs-of-Batak-Bulgaria-Sveti_Batashki_novomychenici-Bylgarski
Holy Batak New Martyrs icon

He probably lived in the time of the pious Bulgarian king Saint Boris-Mihail (King Boris – Michael the Ist known as the the Baptizer of Bulgaria, thanks to whose decision to receive Christianit and mass baptize of the Bulgarian nation and territories of his large country and his active work and financement to support the pupils of Saint Cyril and Methodius such as Saint Kliment Ohridski, st. Naum, st. Gorazd, st. Savva, st. Angelarius and the other many uknown holy man the Old Bulgarian cyrillic church books was translated from Greek and  shortly later other Slavonic nations could received the Church service Books in Old Bulgarian cyrillic whose slightly modified version in the 16th century become the famous Church slavonic language, which is used to these day in the Slavonic churches.

Saint Mahail the Warrior was the son of rich and noble parents, loved the pure life from childhood, had the fear of God, devoted himself to prayer and fasting, generously gave alms to the poor, which is why both his parents and strangers called him "the holy child".

When he was 25 years old, he was appointed the commander of a troppers unit in the Byzantine army.
At that time of living, his birth region even though having people inhabited with Bulgarians, had not yet entered the borders of the Bulgarian state.

In a war of the Byzantine emperor Michael III (865) against the Agarians (later known as the Ottoman Turks), Saint Michael the Warrior was left by the frightened Greeks alone with his subordinate warrior mates who followed his heroism.

Sveti-Mihail-Voin-Bylgarski-ikona-Saint-Michael-The-Warrior-a-Bulgarian-icon

Invoking the name of God like the ancient saint all the while, he managed to drive away the enemies and together with the soldiers remained unharmed.

Returning home, he performed the heroic miracle same as of Saint Great Martyr George the Victorious:

He killed a huge dragon that came out of some lake, and thus saved a virgin from being eaten by it.
But the dragon whose head he cut off struck him with its huge tail so hard that he fell down and lay unconscious for some time.

Soon after his return to his native place, he died and the Lord glorified him with incorruptible miracles.

During the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, at the very beginning of the 13th century (in year 1206), the Bulgarian king Kaloyan solemnly brought his holy relics to his Capital Tarnovo and laid them in the Patriarchal Cathedral at that time dedicated to the "Holy Ascension".

After the fall of capital of Bulgaria Tarnovo under Ottoman rule in (year 1393), the traces of the saint holy relics were lost.

The great patriarch of Tarnov (Trnovo), St. Euthymius, compiled a biography of him, which has been preserved to this day and which is the main source for us to know about the saint.

Extract From: Lives of the Saints, Synodal Publishing House, Sofia, 1991, edited by Parthenius, Bishop of Levki, and Archimandrite Dr. Athanasius (Bonchev) with minor inclusions of the author of article Hip0

Author Notes: The story with Saint George Killing the Dragon, as being found mostly in medieval sources has been largely disputed by Theologians on its authenticity as the story originates from the 11th century A.D. with an oldest source for the tale being a Georgian Manuscript. In the 12th century saint George Killing the Dragon tradition has been already well known by the Western Christians. The theologians claim the story stems out of a living of saint Thedore Tiro ( Tiron ), who was very venerated and well known in Bulgaria. That would make some doubt in the authenticity of the story of both Saint George Killing the Dragon and might make them doubt that the story of Saint Mihail  (Michael) The Bulgarian Warrior is being taken from the saint George popular legends of the 11th century. However as a source of the original living for saint Mikhael has been saint Patriarch Eutymous of Tarnov (one of the most educated man of his time), who has been also the last Bulgarian patriarch before the fallout of Bulgaria under the Ottoman Turks in the year 1396 and a spiritual father and teacher of Hesychasm and  many of the Spiritual man such as Gregory Tsamblak and saint Cyprian Metropolitan of Kiev and all Russia ( 1390 – 1407 ) and many other famous copyist and enlightened people who moved out the Church service books and spiritual treasures of the Bulgarian Church as well as many holy miracle making icons and Christian art far in today's lands of Romania, Ukraine, and Russia, it is very less likely that the living of saint Mihail the warrior was compiled, based on false legends, especially by considering the fact that saint Mihael the Warrior lived only 3 centuries away from the moment in which his official spoken living was written down by saint Patriarch Eutymuous. Perhaps there is a Greek sources we don't know who was also the basis of st. Patriarch Eutymuous biography of saint Michael. The story of dragons and beasts tormenting people and regions has been common in medieval times, sometimes their real meating is interpreted by todays Theologians to be just an allegory to demonstrate the spiritual fight a certain saint has led with the originator of evil satan who as said in the holy scripture constantly fights against christians the Church and everything that is good and pleasant with the goal to destroy and kill. Other sources however such as Holy Mount Athos even by today has manuscripts written by monks of that time about the existence of large snakes and dragons who has been tormenting people and regions. We all know the numerous stories with Princesses and Dragons, but it seems these stories are based on monks testimonies about the reality of these things and later perhaps improved by people's imagination and desire of man put some difference in his every day monotonic life.
Thus some more conservative Theologians nowadays believe it is possible for such a large dragons and snakes to have existed and been conquered for real by saints, though we should keep in mind that some of the stories of the livings of medieval times has been including details, that were result of the personal imagionation of the author.

Let by the Holy Prayers of Saint Mihail The Warrior (Bulgarian) the world finds more love, peace and goodness !
Holy Father Mihail Warrior pray for us !

 

How to dump and restore Zabbix database to do monitoring database snapshot, PostGreSQL continuous archiving Point in time recovery setup


November 21st, 2022

postgresql-db-backup-and-continuous-archiving-on-linux-keep-zabbix-backup-regularly

If you have set up a Zabbix server that is using as a database storage postgresql at home or company, then you will need to make sure you don’t loose any data by producing regular postgresql backups. This small article will show how to do the db backup in conventional way with pg_dump / pg_restore as well as how to set the continuous archiving point in time recovery end point recovery so called PITR..
 

1. Connect to the database and some postgres very basics

-bash-4.2$ psql DBNAME USERNAME
 
-bash-4.2$ psql zabbix zabbix
 

After you access a PostgreSQL database, you can run SQL queries and more. Here are some common psql commands:
 
•    To view help for psql commands, type \?.
•    To view help for SQL commands, type \h.
•    To view information about the current database connection, type \conninfo.
•    To list the database's tables and their respective owners, type \dt.
•    To list all of the tables, views, and sequences in the database, type \z.
•    To exit the psql program, type \q.

       Fundamental backup approaches with postgres

As with everything that contains valuable data, PostgreSQL databases should be backed up regularly. While the procedure is essentially simple, it is important to have a clear understanding of the underlying techniques and assumptions.
 
There are three fundamentally different approaches to backing up PostgreSQL data:
 
•    SQL dump
•    File system level backup
•    Continuous archiving

 
Each has its own strengths and weaknesses; each is discussed in turn in the following sections.
 

2.    Creating SQL Dump of postgresql target database

2.1 Manual SQL dump (custom dump format)

 
Use pg_dump's custom dump format. If PostgreSQL was built on a system with the zlib compression library installed, the custom dump format will compress data as it writes it to the output file.
This will produce dump file sizes similar to using gzip, but it has the added advantage that tables can be restored selectively.
The following command dumps a database using the custom dump format:
 

# sudo su – postgres
-bash-4.2% cd  /var/lib/pgsql/9.5/backups/
 
-bash-4.2$  pg_dump -Fc zabbix > /var/lib/pgsql/9.5/backups/zabbixdbdump`date "+%d%m%y%H%M%S"`.gz

2.2 Schedule backups with cron job

To automate the job schedule a cron job to do the work, somethjing like below:
 

# Minute   Hour   Day of Month       Month          Day of Week        Command
# (0-59)  (0-23)     (1-31)    (1-12 or Jan-Dec)  (0-6 or Sun-Sat)

 
@daily  pg_dump -Fc zabbix > /var/lib/pgsql/9.5/backups/Zabbix_db_dump`date "+\%d\%m\%y\%H\%M\%S"`.gz

3. Restore a database from the dump file

3.1. Restoring a database using pg_restore (usually used)

A custom-format dump is not a script for psql, but instead must be restored with pg_restore, for example:
 

# pg_restore -d zabbix /var/lib/pgsql/9.5/backups/Zabbix_db_dump281118151005.gz

3.2. Second Option restoing with psql after creating a restore database

 
# su postgres

-bash-4.2$ psql template1
 
CREATE DATABASE zabbix OWNER zabbix ENCODING 'UTF8';
\q

-bash-4.2$ psql zabbix < /var/lib/pgsql/9.5/backups/zabbixdbdump291117151002.gz
exit

 
NOTE: if you get a permission denied error when trying to restore, check the Unix permissions on the backup file and all the parent directories.

4.    Continuous Archiving and Point-in-Time Recovery (PITR) backups

At all times, PostgreSQL maintains a write ahead log (WAL) in the pg_xlog/ subdirectory of the cluster's data directory. The log records every change made to the database's data files. This log exists primarily for crash-safety purposes: if the system crashes, the database can be restored to consistency by "replaying" the log entries made since the last checkpoint. However, the existence of the log makes it possible to use a third strategy for backing up databases: we can combine a file-system-level backup with backup of the WAL files. If recovery is needed, we restore the file system backup and then replay from the backed-up WAL files to bring the system to a current state. This approach is more complex to administer than either of the previous approaches, but it has some significant benefits:

           Setting Up the WAL Archiving

In an abstract sense, a running PostgreSQL system produces an indefinitely long sequence of WAL records. The system physically divides this sequence into WAL segment files, which are normally 16MB a piece (although the segment size can be altered when building PostgreSQL). The segment files are given numeric names that reflect their position in the abstract WAL sequence. When not using WAL archiving, the system normally creates just a few segment files and then "recycles" them by renaming no-longer-needed segment files to higher segment numbers. It's assumed that segment files whose contents precede the checkpoint-before-last are no longer of interest and can be recycled.
 
When archiving WAL data, we need to capture the contents of each segment file once it is filled, and save that data somewhere before the segment file is recycled for reuse.
Depending on the application and the available hardware, there could be many different ways of "saving the data somewhere": we could copy the segment files to an NFS-mounted directory on another machine, write them onto a tape drive (ensuring that you have a way of identifying the original name of each file), or batch them together and burn them onto CDs, or something else entirely. To provide the database administrator with flexibility, PostgreSQL tries not to make any assumptions about how the archiving will be done. Instead, PostgreSQL lets the administrator specify a shell command to be executed to copy a completed segment file to wherever it needs to go. The command could be as simple as a cp, or it could invoke a complex shell script — it's all up to you.
 
To enable WAL archiving, set the wal_level configuration parameter to archive or higher, archive_mode to on, and specify the shell command to use in the archive_command configuration parameter.

In practice these settings will always be placed in the postgresql.conf e.g. (/etc/postgresql/12/main/postgresql.conf) file.

In archive_command, %p is replaced by the path name of the file to archive, while %f is replaced by only the file name. (The path name is relative to the current working directory, i.e., the cluster's data directory.)

Use %% if you need to embed an actual % character in the command.

The simplest useful command to enable PITR would, be something like:
 

# – Archiving config setction
 
archive_mode = on                    # enables archiving; off, on, or always
# (change requires restart)
 
archive_command = '/bin/xz -2 -z < %p > /var/lib/pgsql/9.5/archivedir/%f'               # command to use to archive a logfile segment
 
archive_timeout = 1h            # force a logfile segment switch after this
                                                   # number of seconds; 0 disables

Howto convert KVM QCOW2 format Virtual Machine to Vmdk to migrate to VMware ESXi


November 17th, 2022

qcow2-to-vmdkvk-convert-to-complete-linux-kvm-to-vmware-esxi-migration

Why you would want to convert qcow2 to vmdk?

When managing the heterogeneous virtual environment or changing the virtualization solutions that become so common nowadays, you might need to migrate qcow2 from a Linux based KVM virtualization solution to VMWare's proprietary  vmdk – the file format in which a VMWare does keep stored it's VMs, especially if you have a small business or work in a small start-up company where you cannot afford to buy something professional as VMware vCenter Converter Standalone or Microsoft virtual machine converter (MVMC)- usually used to to migrate VMware hosts to Hyper-V hosts, but also capable to migrate .qcow2 to .vmdk. The reason is that your old datacenter based on Linux OS custom KVM virtual machines might be moved to VMWare ESX to guarantee better and more systemized management (which though is very questionable, since most of my experiences with VMWare was that though the software was a great one, the people who manage it was not very much specialists in managing it).

Another common reason is that running a separate Linux virtual machine, costs you more than a well organized VMWare farm because you need more qualified Linux specialists to manage the KVMs thus KVM to VMWare management as in most big corporations nowadays’s main target is to cut the costs.
Even with successful migrations like that, though you might often expect a drop in the quality of the service when your VM ends in the VMWare farm.

Nomatter what’s the reason to migrate qcow2 to VMDK So lets proceed with how the .QCOW2 to .VMDK can be easily done.


1. Get information about the VM you would like to migrate to VMDK

In QEMU-KVM environment, the popular image format is qcow2, which outperforms the first generation of qcow format and raw format. You can find the files of virtual disks by checking the information of virtual machine by virsh command:

[root@hypervisor-machine ~]# virsh dominfo virtual-machine-name

INFO
ID: {e59ae416-9314-4e4b-af07-21c31d91b3fb}
EnvID: 1704649750
Name: CentOS7minimal
Description:
Type: VM
State: stopped
OS: centos7
Template: no
Uptime: 00:00:00 (since 2019-04-25 13:04:11)
Home: /vz/vmprivate/e39ae416-9314-4e4b-af05-21c31d91b3fb/
Owner: root@.
GuestTools: state=not_installed
GuestTools autoupdate: on
Autostart: off
Autostop: shutdown
Autocompact: off
Boot order: hdd0 cdrom0
EFI boot: off
Allow select boot device: off
External boot device:
On guest crash: restart
Remote display: mode=manual port=6903 address=0.0.0.0
Remote display state: stopped
Hardware:
  cpu sockets=1 cpus=2 cores=2 VT-x accl=high mode=64 ioprio=4 iolimit='0'
  memory 2048Mb
  video 32Mb 3d acceleration=off vertical sync=yes
  memory_guarantee auto
  hdd0 (+) scsi:0 image='/vz/vmprivate/e59ae415-9314-4e4b-af05-21c31d91b3fb/harddisk.hdd' type='expanded' 5120Mb subtype=virtio-scsi
  cdrom0 (+) scsi:1 image='/home/CentOS-7-x86_64-Minimal-1611.iso' state=disconnected subtype=virtio-scsi
  usb (+)
  net0 (+) dev='vme42bef5f3' network='Bridged' mac=001C42BEF5F3 card=virtio ips='10.50.50.27/255.255.255.192 ' gw='10.50.50.1'
SmartMount: (-)
Disabled Windows logo: on
Nested virtualization: off
Offline management: (-)
Hostname: kvmhost.fqdn.com


2. Convert the harddrive to VMDK

[root@hypervisor-machine e59ae415-9314-4e4b-af05-21c31d91b3fb]# ls -lsah

1.3G -rw-r—– 1 root root 1.3G Apr 25 14:43 harddisk.hdd

a. Converstion with qemu:

You can use qemu-img tool that is installable via cmds:

yum install quemu-img / apt install qemu-img / zipper install qemu-img (depending on the distribution RedHat / Debian / SuSE Linux)

-f: format of the source image

-O: format of the target image

[root@hypervisor-machine ~]# qemu-img convert -f qcow2 -O vmdk \-o adapter_type=lsilogic,subformat=streamOptimized,compat6 harddisk.hdd harddisklsilogic.vmdk

 

[root@ hypervisor-machine e59ae415-9314-4e4b-af05-21c31d91b3fb]# ls -lsah

1.3G -rw-r—– 1 root root 1.3G Apr 25 14:43 harddisk.hdd

536M -rw-r–r– 1 root root 536M Apr 26 14:52 harddisklsilogic.vmdk

3. Upload the new harddrive to the ESXi Hypervisor and adapt it to ESX

This vmdk might not be able to used on ESXi, but you can use it on VMware Workstation. To let it work on ESXi, you need to use vmkfstools to convert it again.

 

a. Adapt the filesystem to ESXi

[root@hypervisor-machine ~]# vmkfstools -i harddisklsilogic.vmdk  -d thin harddisk.vmdk

 

4. Create a VM and add the converted harddrive to the machine. 

Futher

Recreate the initramfs

But of course this won’t work directly as it often happens with Linux 🙂 !!. 
We need to make adjustments to the virtual machine as well with few manual interventions:

1. Start the machine from the VMWare interface

2. Grub CentOS Linux rescue will appear from the prompt

3. Run command

dracut –regenerate-all –force


to Recreate the initramfs.
 

Note that You might also have to edit your network configuration since your network device usually get’s a different name.
 

Finally reboot the host:

[root@hypervisor-machine ~]# reboot


And voila you’re ready to play the VM inside the ESX after some testing, you might switch off the KVM Hypervisor hosted VM and reroute the network to point to the ESX Cluster.

 

Holy righteous King Upravda Justinian (emperor Justinian I the Great) feast day 14th of November


November 15th, 2022

Mosaic_of_saint_Justinianus_I_-_Basilica_San_Vitale_Ravenna

Saint Justinian, emperor of Byzantium, was a Slav by geneology.

He was born in the village of Vedryani near the town of Sredets (today city of Sofia) in Bulgaria. His uncle Justin, born in the same village, went on foot to Constantinople, carrying nothing with him but a leather garment.

Here, thanks to his natural gifts, he quickly rose to the top, and then even became emperor. He brought to Constantinople his wife Lupkina and her sister Beglenitsa, Upravda's mother.
After the death of Justin Upravda occupied the Byzantine imperial throne under the name of Justinian. A note to make her is Upravda is an ancient Bulgarian name.

Emperor Justinian is known in history for his successful wars against the enemies of the Byzantine Empire and also for issuing the complete collection of Roman laws.

But in addition, he became famous for his services to the Christian Church and Orthodoxy.

He took great care of the spread of Christianity and the eradication of paganism.

He closed the pagan schools in Athens and ordered the sciences to be taught by monks.

He persecuted paganism most in the capital of his kingdom, Byzantium, and also in Asia Minor.
In order to convert the pagans to Christ, Justinian sent Bishop John of Ephesus to Asia Minor, who baptized about 70 thousand pagans !, and the emperor built more than 90 churches for the newly converted.

Saint_justinian_Ravena-basilica

Along with the spread of Christianity, the pious Justinian advocated for the purity of the Orthodox faith.

During his reign, the Orthodox Church continued to be disturbed by the Nestorians, who taught the heresy that Christ was not a God-man and that the Divinity only dwelt in Him as in an ordinary man.

But more than the Nestorians, the Monophysites shaked the Church, who taught other terrible heresy, telling that in Jesus Christ the Divine nature absorbed the human.

Against these arbitrary inventions of human reason, the pious king composed the song:

saint-emperor-Justinian-I-the-Bulgarian-only-begotten-son

"Only-begotten Son and Words of God", which he ordered to be sung at the Divine Liturgy Service
A liturgy song, that is being sung in every Holy Liturgy in the Church even today !

Through his efforts, in year 553 A.D., the Fifth Ecumenical Council was convened to condemn the Nestorian thoughts in the writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret of Cyrrhus and Iva of Edessus to end the dissensions in the Church.

Hagia-Saint-Sophia-Istanbul-Constantinople

As a zealot of Orthodoxy and piety, Justinian was very concerned about the worship in the Orthodox Church and the beauty of the temples as places of worship.

In his code of laws, he included, among other things, a law on the mandatory universal celebration of the feasts of the Nativity of Christ, the Baptism of the Lord and the Resurrection, the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and others.

In addition, he built many beautiful temples to the glory of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Theotokos), the apostles and other saints. His most famous work is considered to be the church temple of Saint Sophia, God's Wisdom, in Constantinople.

Erected by the Equal-to-the-Apostles King Constantine, during a rebellion during the time of King Justinian, this temple was burned down.
The pious king gathered the best builders, spared no expense in gold and money, and built a temple, wondrous throughout the ages for its grandeur and beauty.

In his private life, Saint Justinian showed great piety.

Always devout, he spent Lent in strict abstinence and prayer, did not taste bread, but contented himself only with vegetables and water, and that he made every other day or two.

Thus, living in purity and piety, he reigned for 39 years and died peacefully in the Lord.

Because of his services to the Church and because of his piety, after his death he was canonized as a saint.
Together with him, his wife, Queen Theodora, who was a sinner at first, but later repented and spent the rest of her life in purity and piety, was included in the list of saints.

© Lives of the saints, translated into Bulgarian from the Church Slavonic text of Cheti-minei ("Chety-Minei") of Saint Demetrius of Rostov (with minor modifications from the publisher e.g.me hip0

P.S. The modern historians are disputing the saintship of Saint Justinian, however for the Bulgarian Orthodox Church for a long time he has been considering a saint for his great endeavor for Christianity and his zealous work for enlightnment of the empire and the nations in the then known world.

Saint martyr Angel of Lerina – a Bulgarian saint confessor and the Day of Saint Archangel Michael and of all Angels Archangels and Heavenly Powers


November 9th, 2022

saint_archangel_Michaill_Joanikij_papa_Vitanov_1820_Trjavna_Bulgaria

Saint Archangel Michael (Church of Saint  Archangel Michael Tryavna, Bulgaria) iconographer Yoanikij Papavitanov

On 8th of November in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, we celebrate the day to remember the gathering of Archangel Michael with all the Angels Archangels, Cherubims and heavenly powers that have kept loyal to the Holy Trinity God – The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.
The same arch-angels and powers who could do what they want and were created in the beginning of time after God as a helper Spirits to God and man.

The same angels are also supporting the whole universe with their deeds of love. They sustain the waters, make the wind blow, the clouds to move and give rain, the earth to give its fruits, possess and give wisdom or transfer secret messages from God to man when sent.

Others do protect all Christians and people from the evils of the fallen-agels who choose to misobey the True God Christ and follow the master of the evil spirits whose place is in the burning Gehenah and whose time is running out. 

They help the woman in birth-pain (like my sister Stanimira whose time to give birth is approaching), the make the organism of man to function properly. Or give the physics to make the stars shine on heaven, the Planet and heavenly bodies to move. Each and every place and Country and Church has its own guardian angels. And they're of a Big multitude the Church fathers says a lot about the Angels and many is still unknown and will be revealed in the that everyone will stand on the Judgement day in front of God and sees the Heaven and Hell realities and will stumble in fear seeing the gloriness of the archangels and cherubs (burning out of Love for God and man) made in a likeness of the Holy God.

The orthodox Church sticks clearly to the teaching of so called saint Dyonisious the Areopagites (often called in the Theology Pseudo Dyonisious), who was one of the important apostles of Christ, Athenian judge at the Areopagus Court in Athens, who lived in the first century. A convert to Christianity, he is venerated as a saint by multiple denominations.

 

The writings of Saint Dionysius the Areopagite hold great significance for the Orthodox Church. Four books of his have survived to the present day:

 

On the Celestial Hierarchy, On the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, On the Names of God, On Mystical Theology

In additional, there are ten letters to various people.

The book On the Celestial Hierarchies was written actually in one of the countries of Western Europe, where Saint Dionysius was preaching. In it he speaks of the Christian teaching about the angelic world. The angelic (or Celestial-Heavenly) hierarchy comprises the nine angelic Ranks:

  • Seraphim
  • Cherubim
  • Thrones
  • Dominions
  • Powers
  • Authorities
  • Principalities
  • Archangels
  • Angels

 

The account of the Synaxis of the Bodiless Powers of Heaven is located under November 8.

saint-Agatangel-Bitolski-Bulgarian-saint-icon

The purpose of the divinely-established Angelic Hierarchy is the ascent towards godliness through purification, enlightenment and perfection. The highest ranks are bearers of divine light and divine life for the lower ranks. And not only are the sentient, bodiless angelic hosts included in the spiritual light-bearing hierarchy, but also the human race, created anew and sanctified in the Church of Christ.

There is too much to be said about Angels, Archangels, through the years from ancient times, they can heal and help, and grant special powers to man and many, many more. There were innumerable heresies who have over-deified heavenly powers, especially gnostics and that is a well known fact. For those who want to read about Angels, and their hierarchy there is a lot ot read and learn, angels has helped the saints in their hardship in fight with evilness, there is really a lot about this for those who want to further learn. 

But what is less known is here in today's relatively small country of Bulgaria, we have a local saint Angel of Lerina who is born in Bulgarian family and stems from a Bulgarian village. As his endeveour and confession of his love for Christ and the Church was enormous he has suffered martyrdom for Christ in the 17th century during the times Bulgaria was enslaved by the Ottoman Turks. Thus as there is not much written about saint Angel Lerinski (Lerina), I dedicated this small article in glory of his memory. The article is also in memoriam of my grand-grand-grand Father who was also named Angel himself, perhaps in glory of Saint Angel of Lerina.

The Life of Saint Angel of Lerina


Saint-Angel-Agathangel-of-Lerina-orthodox-icon

Saint New Martyr Angel of Lerina (Bitolski) – picture source Wikipedia

All the sources about the holy martyr Angel of Lerinsky that we have reached cite the story of Saint Paisius of Hilendar as the main source for the life of the new martyr, called Angel or Agathangel. This is what St. Paisius writes about him in the History of Slavonic Bulgaria":
           "In 1750, in Bitol, where the Turkish and Macedonian Pasha sits, the Turks tortured and beheaded a young man, handsome in face and stature, for the Christian faith. Many forced and tormented him to renounce Christ, but he wisely and courageously denounced their godless faith. The Bishop of Bitola recorded many of his answers, described his sufferings in Greek. And God showed a great sign over his powers. His name was Angel from the village of Lerin. This holy martyr Angel shone in our time in the Bulgarian land."
          The Bulgarian Orthodox Church honors the holy new martyr on November 8, the feast of the holy Archangels. Probably the veneration of the saint in our church dates from the time when he was martyred, because his martyrdom was described by Saint Paisius of Hilendar immediately after it happened, since Saint Paisius was his contemporary.

          Greek information about the new martyr Angel Lerinski appeared only in recent years.

In the electronic version of "Οι Νεομάρτυρες της Булгариас" (New Martyrs Bulgarian) Αρχιμανδρίτου του Οικουμενικού Θρόνου Θωμά Ανδρέου Ιεροκήρυκος Ιεράς Μητροπόλεως Ελευθερουπόλεως (Archimandrite of the Ecumenical See Thomas Andreu, Preacher of the Eleftheroupolis Holy Metropolis), Kavala, 2011, p.88, we read :

         "Another case of a new martyr of Greek origin is that of Angel (or Agatangel) from today's Florina (in Bulgarian Lerin). The 2009 calendar of the Holy Metropolis of Florin, Prespa and Eordei honors this new martyr, who was martyred in the monastery of Pelagonia (now Bitola, Macedonia) on February 17, 1727*. The book "History of Slavonic Bulgaria" by Paisiy Hilendarski talks about the martyrdom of the new martyr ("his name was Angel or Agatangel and he was from the village of Florina")

Saint-Agatangel_Bitolski-Greek-icon

…..
          Little is known about the new martyr. We know that he was born in 1732 in Florina, in the sanjak (prefecture) of Bitola (Monastery). When he grew up, he became a tall and handsome young man. At the age of 18, the Turks tried to convert him to Islam, but Angel – although very young – did not succumb to the temptations and then bravely accepted martyrdom. In his book Paisius Hilendarski mentions that: "In 1750 in the monastery… the Turks tortured and slaughtered a handsome young man because of his Christian faith… His name was Angel and he was from the village of Florina" His testimony in the monastery was attended by the local Greek metropolitan, who described his courage and the intelligent and logical answers he gave in court. Due to the fact that he condemned the Muslim faith with particular wisdom and courage, he was beheaded when he was only 18 years old in 1750. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church honors his memory on November 8, during the Feast of the Archangels…."

          Additional information about the holy new martyr Angel Lerinsky can be found on one of Florina's sites (http://agiospanteleimonas-florina.blogspot.com/2010/06/blog-post_8186.html.)


          The Metropolitan of Florini, Prespa and Eordaia, Theoclitus, addresses the citizens on the occasion of the decision to start the veneration of the holy martyr Agathangel of Florina (June, 2010):

          "With special feelings of joy, emotion, holy contentment and reverence, I turn to you, the blessed children of the Greek Macedonian land, to become participants in the great spiritual joy experienced by our local Church for the first official celebration of the memory of the holy new martyr Agathangel in the seat of our metropolis Florina. It is already known to all of you. that the holy new martyr Agathangel, martyred in the Pelagonian monastery, originated from Florina, is our fellow citizen. At an early age he left Florina and went to Vutelion of Byzantium, to the monastery, seeking better living conditions. There, exercising the profession of shoemaker, he soon distinguished himself by his honesty and his diligence. …. But what distinguished him from the young people of his time was the pure and firm faith he had in Christ and in His "orthodox church". He loved Christ more than anything else in his life. No other love could "steal" the love that Agathangel had in his heart for Christ, he loved Him simply, purely, with all his heart, with all his strength, he loved Him as his poor parents and his blessed ancestors loved Him.
         

Along with the love for Christ, the saint had love for his homeland, conquered Macedonia. Almost four hundred years of slavery count the long-suffering "Greek Macedonians".
The Turkish conquerors treated them with cruelty. Sometimes with flattery, sometimes with threats, sometimes with violence, they try to make them change their faith. To deny Christ. To renounce the Orthodox faith and become Muslims.
And whoever renounces his faith renounces his homeland.

          Agathangel's heart was troubled by the fact that several of his fellow Roman Christians did not withstand the temptations or the violence, denying Christ and the country. His brave heart rebelled. He could not bear the Orthodox faith to be dishonored. For this, when during the three-day Bairam, which is celebrated after Ramadan, the forced conversion of the Orthodox increased, this young boy, not yet twenty years old, went to Constantinople, where he received a Sultan's firman, which forbade the forced conversion in the area of ​​Pelagonia.

On his return to the Monastery, the saint was arrested by those outraged by the Turkish Sultan's decision, and after cruel torture, he was beheaded on February 17, 1727.

           In a meeting we held in the Holy Metropolis, in which, in addition to the Metropolitan, the Honorable Prefect of Florini Mr. Ioannis Voskopoulas, the Mayor of Florini Mr. Stefanos Papanastasiou, the President of TEDC of N. Florinis, Mr. Dimitrios Iliadis, and the President of the monasteries of N. Florinis, Mr. Theodoros Vosdou, decided to jointly hold events in honor of the holy new martyr Agathangel…”

* 1727 is mentioned as the year of the martyrdom of St. Angel Lerinski in some sources, and sometimes it is mentioned together with 1750, in the same source. This discrepancy in the years of the martyrdom leaves the doubt that different martyrs are being talked about.


For this reason, we cannot say exactly whether the reliquary with the relics – the holy head of the new martyr Agathangel in the Kykkos monastery in Cyprus, which contains the same description of his life, but the date February 17, 1727 is indicated, refers to the same martyr, for which speaks Saint Paisius of Hilendar.

Saint Reverend Martyr Jacob Kosturski and his two disciples Deacon Jacob and Monk Dionysius † November 1, 1520


November 1st, 2022

Icon_of_Jacob_of_Kostur-and-his-2-desciples-Yakov-and-Dyonisios_19_Century

Holy Reverend Martyr Yakov ( Jacob) was born in one of the Bulgarian village of the Kostur region in ex-Bulgarian Macedonia in the distance year 1520.
His parents names were Martin and Parascheva.

He was an experienced cattle breeder and through hard work became quite rich, but his own brother, out of envy, slandered him to the Turkish authorities for hearing the false rumor he allegedly found a hidden fortune. Saint Yakov is a saint of the pleiad of great Bulgarian saint martyrs, sadly little known today in Bulgaria today.

Therefore, Jacob sold his sheep, left his native land and went to Constantinople, where he became even richer.
Once he heard a Turk praising Christianity and telling how his wife was cured of madness through the prayers of Saint Patriarch Niphont.
Yakov was very interested in this and went to the patriarch.

The conversation they had so touched his soul that he gave away all his wealth and retired to the Agios Oros Holy Mount Athos monk republic.

There he revived the deserted Iverion old skete "Saint John the Forerunner" and lived under the guidance of a certain elder Ignatius.

Jacob labored so diligently and reached such a high spiritual perfection that he was honored with heavenly revelations: he was shown the abodes of heaven and the dungeons of hell, he began to penetrate the secret feelings and thoughts of his visitors, e.g. received by God the gift of clairvoyance.

The Lord also honored him with the gift of miracles: at his prayer, spring water flowed into the renewed hermitage, which has been called "the agiasma of Saint Jacob" ever since; twice the jar of oil filled itself when run empty by his prayers;
With his prayer he healed a Vatopedian novice monk who was seized with rabies; once rain fell from heaven in a time of drought; another time watered thirsty travelers with the stream that came out of earth but his prayers springed waters.

Desiring to give himself up to complete solitude, he and six of his disciples retired to the inner part of Mount Athos, where he spent days and nights in complete silence except on Saturdays and Sundays.

Finally he wished to go into the world to preach piety. His disciples followed him.
Everywhere the people flocked to receive his blessing and listen to his sermon.
He also performed many miracles with his prayers: he healed the insane, handed over to Satan an unrepentant Christian sorcerer to weaken the flesh (1 Cor. 5:5).

But the local Bishop Akakios, out of envy, reported to the Turkish authorities that this old foreigner was gathering a lot of people around him and could cause some rebellion.
The monk foresaw the rising danger and spent the whole night in prayer and calmly waited for the divine liturgy to end.

Early in the morning, 18 Turkish soldiers surrounded the church and captured the elder Jacob with two of his disciples – deacon Jacob and monk Dionysius (some other Biographers speak about 6 desciples).

The Turkish bey (local place governor) investigated the reverend for a long time, sometimes with exhortations, sometimes with threats, sometimes with torture, but finding no guilt in him, threw him into prison for 40 days, until he reported him to the High Gate (highest authority in the Ottoman Turkish Empire) and received an order from there.

After some time, an order came from Sultan Selim to bring the saint and his disciples to Edirne (Odrin), so that he himself could judge them.

The Sultan strictly investigated them. Venerable Jacob calmly spoke only the truth.

The Sultan ordered that he and his disciples be beaten with whips.
Not a word, not a groan was heard from the reverend.
Then they tightened Yakov and desciples deacon Jacob and Dyonisios heads with screws.

The saint did not suffer from this torture, but one of Deacon Jacob's eyes popped out of orbit.
In the meantime, the Sultan learned that the old martyr was prophetically predicting the future and jokingly asked St. James: "How many more years will I live?"
The reverend replied, "Nine months!"

holy-martyrs-Iakovos_Kastorias_Kosturski-and-his-desciples-Jacob-and-Dyonisios

His prophecy came true.
In order to find a sufficient reason to kill the innocent, the embittered sultan sent one of his pashas (bashaw – higher rank in the Ottoman political and military system, typically granted to governors, generals, dignitaries, and others ) to them in prison to ask them questions about Christ and Muhammad.

Venerable Jacob boldly confessed that only Jesus Christ is the true God, which enraged the sultan and served as an occasion for new cruel tortures:

they tore apart the bodies of the martyrs, broke their jaws, cut thongs from their skins and then watered their wounds with vinegar and salt, they beat them cruelly with whips, burned their thighs with fire.

They were tortured in this way for 17 days. At last the Sultan sentenced them to be hanged (perhaps because he knew about Jude the Escariot and wanted to mock the saints).

Before the sentence was carried out, Venerable Jacob stood among his disciples and invited them to pray for the world and for the Church, thanking the Lord for honoring them to inherit the kingdom of heaven.

All three fell on the ground and worshiped God.

Then Venerable Jacob took out three hidden particles from the life-giving Mysteries of Christ and with them he gave communion to himself and his disciples.

Then he raised his hands and eyes to heaven and cried out with a loud voice:

"Lord, into Your hands I commit my spirit!" And immediately, to everyone's surprise, quietly died.

This happened on November 1st, year 1520 A.D.
Some Christians bought their honest holy relics and buried them with honors.
Over their tombs on Sundays and holidays light appeared and miracles took place.

Later, their holy relics were transferred to Mount Athos by christians, and took them three kilomers away from their in the village of Albani and laid them in three separate graves.

Over their graves on Sundays and holidays, light appeared and miracles took place!

Later from there to the area of ​​Galatista near Thessaloniki, where the rest of the monk's students settled in the monastery "St. Anastasia (Deliverer from Potions) Uzorushitelnica".

Some Christians bought their holy relics and took them three kilometers away from their homeland, in the village of Albani, and laid them in three separate graves. Over their graves on Sundays and holidays, light appeared and miracles took place. Later, their relics were transferred to Mount Athos, and from there to the village of Galatista, Thessaloniki. There was a small monastery "St. Athanasius Uzorushitelnica", which the rest of the disciples of the martyr Jacob revived. The memory of the martyrs is celebrated on November 1.

There is a special service for the Reverend Martyr Jacob and his disciples, which is served on the day of their memory in the Iverion skete "Saint John the Forerunner" on Mount Athos and in the monastery "Saint Anastasia".

The Biography compiled out of:

1. © Lives of the Saints. Synodal Publishing House, Sofia, 1991, edited by Parthenius, Bishop of Levkia and Archimandrite Dr. Athanasius (Bonchev).
2.
Hristo Temelski From the collection Saints and spiritual leaders from Macedonia

How to check if network ethernet cards are active on Linux server / detect the physical connected state of a network cable / connector?


November 1st, 2022

linux-check-connectivity-interface-software-implementation-of-multi-queue-support-in-Linux-using-commodity-Ethernet-NICs

Lets say you are administrating some Linux server and need to upgrade a switch and temporary move out traffic for ethernet interfaces connected via a Gigabit network to a Gigabit Cisco / Junper EX Series / HPE Aruba or Arista Platform network switch to a newer version of a switch or software.

Usually if you don't have control over the Network switch (if you're employeed in a large corporation), that migration will be handled by a colleague from the Network team in a prescheduled time slot and usually in a coordinated meeting, once the cabling is being physically moved by someone a person in the Computer Room (in DC) in the respective data center.

Then once the correct commands are executed on the network switch to remap the new cable to point to the right location on the Linux server, where the old switch was and the setup has to be double verified by the network team mate.

Once this is done either by a colleague or if you're in a smaller company and you work as one man army sysadmin and you have done it yourself.
Next step is to verify that the Ethernet LAN cards on the Linux server lets say 6 or 8 LAN cards are still connected and active to the preset Active LAN / VLANs.

On Linux this is pretty simple and there is many ways to do it with external tools like ethtool, if you're lucky and your server doesn't have to have a paranoid security rules to follow or have to be a minimilastic machine with a 100% PCI High security standards compliancy.

To check connectivity for all your ethernet interfaces you can simply run a one liner shell script like so:

[root@linux-server ~]# for i in $(ip a s|grep -i :|grep -v link|awk '{ print $2 }'|sed -e 's#:##g'|grep -v lo); do ethtool $i; done
Settings for eth0:
        Link detected: yes
Settings for eth1:
        Link detected: yes
Settings for eth2:
        Link detected: yes

So far so good but what if your RHEL / CentOS / Debian server doesn't have ethtool installed and you're not allowed to install it then how can you check whether network cable connector is indicating a network activity to the connected Ethernet LAN cards?

[root@linux-server ~]# for f in $(ls -1 /sys/class/net/); do echo "Eth inface: $f"; cat /sys/class/net/$f/operstate; done
Eth inface: eth0
up
Eth inface: eth1
up
Eth inface: eth2
up
Eth inface: lo
unknown

If your operstate returns something different like state unknown, e.g.:

root@linux-server ~]# cd /sys/class/net/
[root@linux-server net]# grep "" eth2/operstate
unknown
[root@linux-server net]#

[root@linux-server net]# grep "" eth{0,1,2,3}/operstate  
eth0/operstate:unknown
eth1/operstate:unknown
eth2/operstate:unknown
eth3/operstate:unknown

Then you need to check the carrier file

[root@linux-server net]# grep "" eth{0,1,2,3}/carrier
eth0/carrier:1
eth1/carrier:1
eth2/carrier:1
eth3/carrier:1

It could return either 0 or 1

The number 1 in the above output means that the network cable is physically connected to your network card’s slot meaning your network switch migration is success.

Method 2: Next, we will test a second network interface eth1:

[root@linux-server net]# cat /sys/class/net/eth1/carrier
[root@linux-server net]# cat: /sys/class/net/eth1/carrier: Invalid argument

This command’s output most likely means the the eth1 network interface is in powered down state.

So what have learned?

We have learned how to monitor the state of the network cable connected to a Linux ethernet device via external switch that is migrated without the use of any external tools like ethtool.

Saint Reverend Dimitar Basarbovski, humble and great Bulgarian saint with incorruptable miracle making holy relics now kept in Bucharest


October 27th, 2022

saint_Dimitri-Basarbovski-Besarbovski-saint-Demitrios-of-Besarabov

Brief biography of Saint Dimitar (Dimitrii) of Basarbov

Reverend Dimitrii Basarbovski lived near the village of Basarbovo, Rusensko (nearby today's Bulgarian city of Ruse).
He performed spiritual feats regularly.
According to instructions from Reverend Paisiy Hilendarski's "Bulgarian Slavonic History" / Istoriya Slavyanobolgarskaya , he must have lived in the 17th century.
His holy relics rest  in Bucharest.

† Bishop Hilarion of Trajanopol, Extensive Orthodox Monthly, ed. Tabor.

 

Life of Saint Dimitrii (Demetrius) Basarbovsky (extract from the Book Livings of the Saints of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church)

Venerable Dimitrii Basarbovski was born in the village of Basarbovo, which is located 8-9 kilometers from the city of Ruse. Venerable Paisiy Hilendarski in his "Slavonic-Bulgarian History" which was a key book to bring back the memory of the 5 century enslaved Bulgarians under the Ottoman Turks about their long and glorious history and holiness the Bulgarian Empire and the Bulgarian Church possesed. Slavonic-Bulgarian History points to 1685 as the most probabe year of his death.

According to St. Paisius, he was an ordinary civilian.
He lived simply. He had several sheeps.
He planted a small vineyard by a river. Saint Dimitrij made a little hut there.
Spent his whole life alone. He pleased God with his holy life.
When time came for God to take out his rightous soul, died in the same place, where he spent his whole life and was buried there.

Saint-Dimityr-Besarabovski-of-Bulgaria-holy-relics-in-Bucharest-Church

Saint Demetrios of Basarabia Raque in Bucharest in Saint Constantine and Helena Church

Later God revealed his incorruptable holy relics to some men. The latter were transferred to the village of Basarbovo, Rusensko. Healings took place near them.

Thus, with his simple life, Saint Demetrius shone among the Bulgarian people.
God glorified him posthumously with many miracles and glory as great intercessor of man in heaven.

According to the Romanian synaxar (The Church service book), he was a village herdsman. He had a sensitive conscience.Possessed a great fear of God.

Once, while driving the animals to the field, he inadvertently stepped on a bird's nest with the baby birds in.
This incident affected him so much and, he did not put on a shoe on the guilty foot for three years, during winter and summer, as a punishment.

Another tradition says that he was married but childless. After the death of his wife, he entered the cave monastery near his native village.

There he was ordained as a monk. He worked diligently.
Cultivated in himself all the sublime virtues of a true monk in the same fashion as the desert fathers. Foresawing his death, left the monastery, lay down between two stones on the bank of the nearby Lom river, and there he surrendered his soul to the Lord.

After a while a torrential rain fell. The water swept these two stones along with the holy relics of the reverend into the river.

Saint-Dimitriy-Bassarbovsky-Bulgarian-saint-holy-relics-feast-27-october

Saint Demitrij of Basarbovo holy relics currently preseved in Bucharest, Romania

The relics lay in the water for some time. Venerable Dimitriy appeared to a raving (possessed) virgin from the village of Basarbovo and told her that he would cure her of her illness as soon as he took his relics out of the river.

The relics were taken out and placed in the village church. The frenzied virgin was cured.
Many other patients from various diseases also received such a gracious healing.

Two God-loving sisters from the nearby village of Chervena Voda reverently worshiped the reverend.

They secretly asked to steal a piece from his relics for their newly built temple.
But their car could not start until they repented and returned the stolen particle.

Nicephorus, Metropolitan of Tarnovo, came to worship the relics with a group of clergy.
Monk Lavrentiy was also in this group.
He tried to bite off a piece by kissing the relics, but his mouth remained open until he repented with tears in his eyes.

Another of the many miracles happened like that:

Preslav bishop Ioanikiy (Joachim) fell seriously ill. He asked to be taken to Venerable Demetrius of Basarabia.
They laid him by his coffin. After the Divine Liturgy was celebrated, he recovered completely.

A Turk decided one night to rob the reverend's church.
He touched the silver lamps.
His legs stiffened immediately.
In the morning worshipers carried him around the church in their arms.
This man until the end of his life crawled through the streets of the city of Ruse and begged for alms.

The Ugro-Wallachian voivode wished to have the relics of Venerable Demetrius in his home church. With such a mission he sent boyars and priests to Basarbovo.

Saint-Dimitrij-of-Basarbovo-Monastery-his-monastery-near-Ruse-wall-painting

Saint Dimitri Basarbovski wall painting in his monastery "Basarbovski Monastery", currently situated near Ruse Bulgaria

But the saint did not allow his relics to be transported across the Danube.
Amazed, the messengers decided to find out the will of the God-pleaser. They placed the relics in a cart with previously unharnessed bullocks.
They let the animals loose.
The youths drove the car straight to Basarbovo and stopped in front of the church.

In 1774, when one of the Russo-Turkish wars was raging, the Russian general Peter Saltykov ordered the relics of Venerable Dimitriy to be taken to Russia. Dimitar Poklonnik, a Bulgarian from Bucharest, who served as a translator for the general, asked him to leave them in Bucharest as compensation for the losses of the Romanian people in the war. The general agreed. Since then, these holy relics rest in Bucharest, in the Church of the Three Saints.

© Lives of the Saints. Synodal Publishing House, Sofia, 1991, edited by Parthenius, Bishop of Levkia and Archimandrite Dr. Athanasius (Bonchev).

The Rock Monastery of Saint Dimitrii of Basarbovo in Bulgaria near Lom River Ruse
 

The monastery dates back to the period of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (XII-XIV centuries), but the earliest data date from the Ottoman tax registers of 1431.

There it is marked as "Besaraba" – a property with 14 households.

At the same time, the monastery was marked as "the timar of the great voivode" – meaning Ivanko Besarab – father-in-law of Tsar (King) Ivan Alexander.

According to another legend, the Basarbov monastery was dedicated to St. Theodore Tiron and St. Theodore Stratilates.
The founder of the monastery was Queen Teodora Basarab – the first wife of Tsar Ivan Alexander and daughter of the Wallachian Duke Ivanko Basarab.

The nearby village of Basarbovo is also named after the voivode.

The most famous inhabitant and eternal abbot is Saint Dimitar Basarbovski, who spent a large part of his life in the monastery.

Paisius Hilendarski also mentions this holy abode in his "Slavic Bulgarian History".

During the Russian-Turkish war (1768 – 1774), the relics of the saint were transferred by the Russian General Ivan P. Saltikov in Bucharest and placed in the Metropolitan and now Patriarchal Church "Saints Saints Constantine and Helena" on July 13, 1774, with the idea to later move them to Russia, saint Demitrios of Basarabia's desire was to remain in Bucharest where they are still laying today.

In 1937, monk Chrysant lived in the monastery and began to renovate it.
The  feast day of the monastery is on October 26, the day of St. Dimitar The Myrrh-bearer.

Basarbovski-monastery-near-Ruse-Bulgaria-dedicated-to-Saint-Dimitrij-of-Basarbov

As Saint Dimitri Holy relics are currently away from the Bulgarian home land, obviosuly as the saint's memory was more more remembered and venerated in Romania. Today the monastery who was started by his prayers and veneration of his Holy relics "Basarbovski Monastery" near the Danube river Ruse, did not possess any more his holy relics.

Basarbovski-monastery-near-Ruse-Bulgaria-dedicated-to-Saint-Dimitrij-of-Basarbov1

In 2005, at the request of the Bulgarian Patriarch Maxim, an icon with the image of St. Dimitar of Basarbov, in which a part of his holy relics is embedded was presented by the Romanian Patriarch Teoktist to the Basarbov Monastery.

Sveti_Dimitrii-Basarbovski-rock-monastery-Bulgaria-church

It is notable, to mention that according to the monk and one of most notable Ascetics and Saints of our times Saint Porphyrios of Kafsokalyvia († 1991), the prayer of the hermit monk works miracles and his contribution is greater than that of the most worthy preacher.

Sveti-Dimitrij-Basarbovski-rock-monastery-skalen-manastir-church-entry
 

Dendritism in early ascetism, Saint John of Rila – a Great ascetic saint who practiced Tree living form of monasticism


October 21st, 2022

saint-John-of-Rila-with-Rila-monastery

“Dendrites hanging on a tree of life blooming in virtues, like a good fruits of the Spirit”

The monasticism is born in the late antiquity in the desert to Egypt, Syria, Palestine and Asia Minor, in a peculiar dialogue with the development of urban Christianity.
As we know, Christianity is a city religion, the structure of it is following example of administrative organization common for the age in the Roman Empire.

With the end of the anti-Christian persecution, church the christian communities in the city of the empire to strengthen, grow, and move on to onether new way of development – with all pluses and minuses for a new state. Freedom to confess (worship) gradually retreating locally to patronage of the empire, which with its whole repressive power stands on the side of the new religion, who has conquered for its four centuries  of existence with it’s evangelic radicalism, won the hearts of many thousands of Roman citizens. This puts the Christian communities in front of the unknown for them challenge, being a Christian now provides additional citizen advantages for better arrangement of lifely affairs. The wine of the apostoles preach to  unreservedly following of Christ is now inter-mixe with the common for a man conformity.

This comes to be a problem for many Christians and most importantly for those who do not want (or cannot) live with their Christian identity in conditions of the Imperial Church.
Hence, the end of the persecutions coincides with the stormy flourishing of monasticism and ascetism, in all regions of the empire from the end of the east to the external borders of the western parts. In the church life is born a single center, which is trying to remind the believers that the Kingdom of God is not from this world, but instead every christian is called to secretly raise his own seed of faith in his field (the good and clean heart) – in secret and independently from the worldly rulers.


Among the diversified forms of cenobitic monasticism and asceticism, present during the early Byzantine period, a typical one known for its radicalism of faith and asceticism of Syrian Christians. It is in the midst Syria where the phenomenon of monastic stylites “pillars” e (στυλίτες) they have a specific hermit type of life, in whose the monk lives on the top of open or closed “tower” or high stone, without coming to earth, in constant prayer, regardless of climatic conditions. Stylitism has received a wide spread between the Orthodox and Monophysitites to theEast, but not among the Nestorians (early christian heretics). Among the well known Stylites are Saint Simeon Stalpnik (Stylites) (lived in 5th century), Daniil the Stylites (5th century), Simeon The-Newest (Novi) and Alipiy the Stylites (6th century).

Having formalized the whole course in monasticism, so-called open monasticism. monasticism is openly (του ανοικτού μέσου), to whose branch a part are the Stylites and the Dendrites  δενδρίτες  (the monks who lives on a tree or inside a tree), monks who live without a shelter. „βοσκοί”. Other extreme forms of ascetism are the “recluse” (οι έγκλειστοι, κλωβίτες), they are part of the  the so-called. "closed type" monasticism (του κλειστού μέσου), the most notable saints representatives from this type are the elders Barsanuphious and elder Ioan (Elder).

Among the most unusual and rarely practiced forms of asceticism was dendriticism. These ascetics remain in the Romance languages ​​with their Greek name – dendrites – inhabiting trees. They lived inside, in the hollow, or in the branches of the tree, standing or sitting. Their feat is compared to that of the columnists, who also live in a small space on tree posts or pillars. The small space they occupied for varying periods of time—usually from one to several years—developed in them the virtue of manly patience. Dendrites "serve God in the trees", these wonderful creations of God, among whom a chosen one become the Holy Christ cross tree that served for the salvation and sanctification of man. With their "blessed solitude" they become the new "witnesses of conscience" after the end of the "witnesses of blood" who deserved and won eternal life in the persecutions of the Roman Empire.

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St. David of Thessalonica But as we said, the creation of a common monastic culture in the spacious borders of the Christian Empire brought this exotic way of life to the West as well. Pillars appear even next to the walls of the capital city – in the person of St. Daniel the Pillar, and Rev. David of Thessalonica (6th century) is among the most famous hermits-dendrites not only in the Balkans, but also in the entire Christian world. And although he spent three years on the almond tree in prayer and fasting, after which he continued his feat on a pillar, in Orthodox iconography he remains immortalized precisely on a tree. And the second hermit who went through this ascetic test was St. John of Rila, the founder of monasticism in the Bulgarian lands.

saint-John-of-Rila-heals-the-demonic-posessed-icon

But as mentioned, the creation of a common monastic culture within the spacious borders of the Christian Empire brought this exotic way of life to the West.

Pillars saints appear even next to the walls of the capital city – in the person of St. Daniel the Pillar, and Rev. David of Thessalonica (6th century) is among the most famous hermits-dendrites not only in the Balkans, but also in the entire Christian world. And although he spent three years on the almond tree in prayer and fasting, after which he continued his feat on a pillar, in Orthodox iconography he remains immortalized depicted precisely on a tree. And the second hermit who went through this ascetic test was St. John of Rila, the founder of monasticism in the Bulgarian lands.

The way of thinking of people in ancient times was very different from the modern way.
All ascetic Byzantine literature testifies to the desire to see in every detail of everyday life a lesson, a symbol, a sign of divine providence in the life of every person.
In this sense, the feat of the ascetics-dendrites is rich in Christian symbols and metaphors. The hymnography of the Church in their glorification highlights two main elements – of the tree of life, to which they become partakers with their feat, and of the freedom of complete surrender in God's hands, inherent in the "birds of the sky", who do not care for their sustenance, but rely on God's mercy.

This is what the first symbol looks like – on the tree not as an ordinary residence, but as an image of the Cross of Christ.

"The dendrites hanging on the tree of life flourish in virtues as good fruits of the Spirit", and in the service of St. David of Thessalonica – the most famous monk in the Balkans who experienced this way of asceticism, we also read:

"Like a light bird he climbed on the tree and made a hut, freezing in winter and burning in summer. Thus he obtained the golden wings of dispassion and perfection, which lifted them to the heavens."

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The tree is undoubtedly one of the most common symbols in Christian literature, dating back to the early church. Tertullian compared Christians to evergreen trees.
Origen compares Christ to the tree of life. For Didymus the Blind (4th century), the tree is the vine Christ, whose branches are the righteous men who bear true fruit. This imagery enters the language of church writers through the Gospel texts. The tree is a symbol that Christ himself used many times in his parables – I am the Vine of life… The fig tree that does not bear fruit withers and becomes useless. According to church teaching, "everything that died through the tree of the knowledge of good and evil will live again through the tree of the Cross and the water of baptism that springs from the Tree of the Cross of Christ." Pseudo-Ambrosius.

Clement of Alexandria says that the tree of the living Christ grows in the paradise of the Church, in the waters of renewal and gives as its fruit the teaching and the evangelical way of life.

All these symbols and metaphors of the tree as a symbol of the fall, death and salvation of man pass through the Gospel and patristic texts in the life of the ascetics and more specifically of those of them who choose the solitude of the tree as a place of their witness and feat.

During the period before the Christianization of the Bulgarian people, the Orthodox Church accumulated serious ascetic experience, represented in the monastic movement in its various forms. Different ascetics preferred different forms of asceticism, and each of them developed new virtues and spiritual gifts in the ascetics.

This priceless centuries-old experience grafted into the young Bulgarian Church and its first hermit, St. John of Rila.

The Church of Christ in Bulgaria found in him an ascetic who, within the framework of his life, managed to go through all the forms of asceticism that Christian monasticism had known up to that point – he created a new monastery, where he studied, then became a hermit, lived in a cave, in the open rock, in the hollow of a tree, and finally receives the charisma of spiritual fatherhood and gathers disciple monastic brotherhood.

Already at the very beginning of the Long Life of St. John of Rila, we see the comparison of St. John with the popular Christian symbol of the fruit-bearing tree: "and it bore fruit, indeed a hundredfold, as a tree planted by springs of water."

As in the lives of the other dendrite monks, St. John did not immediately proceed to this difficult feat – he began his monastic journey "in a monastery for the sake of learning" and only then withdrew to the wilderness of the mountain, where he lived in a hut of branches.

Saint John then spent 12 years in a narrow and dark cave! (the cave is nowadays located about 50 minutes walk from the Rila monastery in the mountain of Rila)

 The biographer of Saint John St. Euthymius informs us that only after that he moved "at a considerable distance" from the cave and settled in the hollow of a huge oak, like the oak of Abraham. It is obvious the desire of Patriarch Euthymius to make a connection between this unusual feat for this region of the Christian world and the hospitality of Abraham, who met the Holy Trinity under the Oak.

In the hollow of the tree St. John ate chickpeas. This is, by the way, the first mention of growing chickpeas on the Bulgarian lands – the chickpea is an unpretentious, but still heat-loving plant, which is grown mainly in the southern Bulgarian lands and Dobrudja today.
In the life, the sprouting of chickpeas around the oak of St. John of Rila is compared to the miracle of manna from heaven. The behavior of the shepherds who secretly collect pods of chickpeas from the saint and their unusual joy shows (they loot it) that this food was indeed atypical of the region where St. John traveled and it successfully growing on this mountain coldly place is one of the innumerable miracles of the saints which started even in his lifetime.

After that, exactly what is the logic of the ascetics-dendrites in the other popular stories about them – the sick begin to flock around the saint, his living invariably mention "possessed by demons" who come to heal to him.

The life of prayerful patience and extreme asceticism of these strange hermits living in trees reminded them of Christ's words that "this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting."
Life conveys to us the prayer of the saint, with which he frees the possessed – from the text we see that it does not have an exorcistic character as in most of the other saint livings, that is, St. John does not directly forbid the demons, but calls on God's omnipotence and thus reveals his deep, extreme humility, with which he receives daring before God.
It is noteworthy to mention that Reverend David of Thessalonica also received the charisma to cast out demons after spending three years in the branches of an almond tree.

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The duration of life on the tree for different ascetics is different – for Saint David it is three years, in the life of Saint John of Rila the time is not specified (most likely because the saint asked God to hide this part of his life again for humility).

Three is a symbolic number, corresponding to the request of the prophet David to receive from God goodness, knowledge and prudence. According to Susan Ashbrook Harvey, tree life "seems to have had the character of a temporary discipline in the ascetic practice, in which different places and modes of asceticism were changed." Unlike dendrites, those who live on a pillar spend many more years there, this way of asceticism also becomes a social service.

While life in a tree is usually a transition to some other asceticism, which means that as living conditions it was much more difficult. This is how Reverend David's life is described by his biographer: Further on, the author describes the sufferings of David in the (ἔν) tree – he was tormented by cold, by heat, by winds, but his angel-like face did not change, but looked like blooming rose. Some of his disciples went to the tree and begged him to come down and help them—lest the spiritual wolf prey on the flock while the shepherd was gone. David, however, was steadfast in his decision to remain on the tree. "I will not come down from the tree for three years, then our Lord Jesus Christ will show me that he has accepted my prayer."

Three years later, an angel appeared to him and told him that God had heard his prayer and ordered him to come down from the tree and build himself a cell, because another mission (οἰκονομία) awaited him.
It is interesting that at this point David turns to the official church authority for a kind of sanction of the vision ‒ he sends his disciples to tell what happened to the bishop of Thessalonica, Dorotheus and ask him whether this vision is really from God.

Researchers of monastic culture in the Byzantine era note the greater remoteness, isolation of the ascetics-dendrites from those who live on pillars. Entire temporary settlements of pilgrims, sick people, people from different tribes and countries arise around the latter, which often make noise and disturb the ascetic life of the saint. The most famous example is Rev. Simeon The Stylite ( Stulpnik ) the founder of hermit Stylitism. Around his pillar there was always a crowd that was not always meek, obedient and pious. There are often half-wild Arabs among her, sometimes 200, 300, 1000 people to come.
They often made a noise and continued their tribal quarrels at the foot of the pillar.

However, the dendrites immediately leave the place of their feat if people begin to gather around them – be they pilgrims or disciples. We see this in the life of Revend John as well:
"And the valiant Ivan, as soon as he learned what was happening, got up and went away from there, because he was afraid, and even more, he hated human glory."

We see this clearly expressed in the lives of two brothers in Syria – Rev. Maro (Saint Maron passed on to Christ 410 AD) and Rev. Abraham.
The first was a dendrite, and the second a stylite.
John of Ephesus in the Lives of the Eastern Saints tells of the Reverend Maro(n) Dendrite that he lived in a hollow tree near his brother Abraham, a stylite in his monastery.
Unlike the monks, St. Maro did not communicate with visitors, the door of his tree was closed, and he lived in silence until someone sought healing.
When his brother died, Maro left his imprisonment in the tree and moved to his brother's place and then began to communicate more with people.
But while living in the tree, Maro received no visitors.

saint_Maron-the-Syriac-hermit
Like Reverend Maron in Syria, Saint John of Rila leaves the tree of his asceticism as soon as people begin to gather around him, and switches to another form of asceticism – very close to stair climbing, namely on a high and difficult-to-access rock (today known as the Rock of Saint John a common place for pilgrimage).

But even here, tempted and physically injured by the demons, the ascetic does not remain hidden from the people. It was during this period that he attracted the attention of St. King Peter, who tried to establish contact with him. Of course, the high rock on which St. John of Rila lived for seven and a half years provided much harsher living conditions than the steeple, which is usually near a populated place. But as a philosophy of the ascetic feat, in both cases it is about something in common – maximally narrowing the free space for movement and directing all energy upwards, in the power of prayer and constant unity with God.

The common moments in the lives of the two most famous Dendrite monks in the Balkans – Revend David of Thessaloniki and St. John of Rila, who labored three centuries are similar.

Both begin their monastic journey with "discipleship in a monastery" before heading for the desert, that is, moving away from human society.
For both of them, the life in the oak, respectively in the almond branches is a period of extreme asceticism, which greatly impresses the surrounding population, who begin to flock to them. Their unusual feat inspires in people a desire to live near them and even to imitate them – in their lives we see a number of people who seek their help – starting with students (one of Reverend David's students also became a "dendrite" as his mentor and settled in the hollow of a large tree). There glory quickly reaches the local bishop and all the clergy, as well as the rulers of the city – as mentioned in the life of the Thessalonian ascetic, and to Saint King (Tsar) Peter and the Bulgarian boyars as mentioned in the biographical life of Saint John of Rila .

The biographers of both monks include the stories of the healing of demoniacs precisely while they were living in their unprotected "homes" from the natural elements – i.e. the trees. Finally, for all their desire to remain hidden in the wilderness of their solitude, they attract not only the sick, the afflicted, and the disciples, but the attention of the powerful of the day.
But while St. David came from the East, from Mesopotamia, St. John was local and did not have a great Eastern ascetic teacher as he was local citizen born in Bulgaria, in our lands.
His way of asceticism is undoubtedly influenced by the general ascetic patterns of the age, but it is also unique – it is a testimony to the general internal logic of Christian asceticism, regardless of which parts of the Christian world it is practiced.

Paradoxically, the brightest monastic examples in the Balkans became precisely these two monks, struggling in these harsh, atypical for the western parts of the empire, conditions – dendriticism, stylitism, living in a narrow cave and a high cliff.

Until the 9th century, that is, throughout the early Byzantine period, in today's Greek lands, the cult, the respect for Rev. David of Thessalonica (born c. 450 – 540) was comparable only to that of Saint Great-Martyr (Demetrius) Dimitar of Thessalonica and St. Achilles, bishop of Larissa.

Great Respect and recognition as a saint for him was already alive in the first half of the 9th  century at the same time when saint John’s greatnes shined upon the world, as we can see from the life of St. Gregory the Decapolitan, who sent one of his monks to worship at the saint's grave in a monastery founded by him near Thessaloniki. St. David the Dendrite monastery was an attractive pilgrimage center in the Balkan lands of the empire until the 11th century, when the relics of the saint were brought by the Crusaders to Italy.

Without the spiritual presence of its founder, its monastery declined and disappeared, and its relics returned to Thessaloniki only in the 20th century and were laid in the church of "St. Theodora".

The abode of the Rila desert dweller has a different destiny – it remains as a living spiritual center throughout the centuries, in the heart of the Rila desert, and its founder, already a resident of the Heavenly Jerusalem, invariably remains a faithful and reliable breviary for his kindred in the flesh the Bulgarians.

Report presented at the international conference dedicated to the 500th anniversary of the transfer of the relics of St. John of Rila from Tarnovo to the monastery he founded, organized in 2019 at the Rila Monastery. It was published in the eponymous collection of conference reports under the title: "Dendrite Monks in the Balkans".

Article originally posted in Bulgarian by Zlatina Ivanova on 19.10.2022 – Translated with minor modifications by me (Georgi D. Georgiev a.k.a. hip0)