Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category

Living of New Martyr Saint Onuphrius of Gabrovo, a Bulgarian saint martyred in year 1818

Friday, June 17th, 2022

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The New Martyr saint Onufrij ( Onuphrius ) (1786 – 1818) was born in Gabrovo, Veliko Tarnovo Diocese, to pious and noble parents.
(His father Decho later became a monk under the name of Daniel in the same Hilendar monastery on Mount Athos, where his son was then active).
The child Onuphrius was given the name Matthew in Holy Baptism.
When he grew up, he was sent to a one of scarce Bulgarian schools, where he studied well.
When he was 17 years old, his parents once punished him for some childish thing unrest, and out of frivolous childishness, he declared in the presence of Turks that he would accept the Muslim faith.

In such cases, the Turks immediately seized the person who gave the promise to convert to islam and performed the rite of Mohammedan circumcision on him.

To prevent this, his parents hid him and perhaps sent him to the "fotress" of Christian Orthodox FaIth and keeper of Bulgarian spirit, the Troyan Monastery "Holy Mother of God".
In Troyan Monastery, to this day there is a the mouth to mouth legend that the Venerable Martyr Onuphrius began his monastic feat and received his first monastic haircut here with the name Manasseah (Manasij).

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He ascended diligently in spiritual life, but the voice of his conscience began to rebuke him more and more for his public denial of Christianity, even if only in words.
Probably because of this he went to Holy Mount Athos, hoping that there, under the guidance of more experienced elders, he would repent enough and calm his conscience.
Manasseah spent some time in the Hilendar Monastery (a monastery that at this time has been inhibited with many Bulgarian monks), where he was ordained a deacon.

But, as the holy fathers of the Church say, the more a Christian grows in virtue, the deeper he humbles himself and his small sins seem great., same happened with Hierodeacon Manasseah.

He was always impressed by the words of the Savior Christ:

"Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven; but whosoever denieth me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." (Matt. 10: 32-33).

And from the lives of the saints he was especially deeply moved by the example of the holy martyr Barlaam, who held his hand without trembling over the burning pagan altar until his hand burned completely, but did not drop incense on the altar, to protect the occusation that he has offered incense to the idols.
His heart was inflamed with jealousy when the Venerable Euthymius, Ignatius and Acacius (Agathius), performed their martyrdom.
Then Manasseah secretly left Hilendar and went to the Forerunner's Hermitage to the local clergyman (elder) Nicephorus with a request to prepare him for such a martyrdom.

For four months he worked hard on enormous spiritual and bodly feats under the guidance of this elder.
Every day Manasseh made four thousand bows; his prayer was unceasing; his remorseful mood brought tears to his eyes.

During these four months of preparation he ate two and a half kilograms of dried grapes, and in the strictest forty-day fast he ate 30 grams of bread every two or three days and drank water in moderation.
After Elder Nicephorus thus prepared him for the impending martyrdom, he cut his hair in a great scheme receiving the great-schema name of Onufrij ( Onuphrius ) and sent him to the island of Chios with the same companion, Elder Gregory, whom he sent with the other martyrs анд вхере тхеир feat would take place there.

On Island Chios Saint Onuphrius lived one Sunday in fasting and prayer, while on Friday, the day of Christ's suffering, he appeared in Turkish robes before the local turkish judge, openly blasphemed Muhammad and threw the green turban on his head.

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He was exhorted, thrown into prison, tortured, and sentenced to death the same day.
On January 4, 1818, his head was cut off on the seashore and along with his blood his body was thrown into the sea, so that Christians could not take for granted his holiness any particle veneration of the Venerable Martyr.

Before his death, some asked him about his name and homeland.
The Venerable Martyr replied that his name was Matthew and that he was from Veliko Tarnovo.
In this way he wanted to save the Holy Mount Athos and his monastery from troubles by the Turks.
Soon after his martyrdom, the Greeks from Mount Athos, soon canonized him and compiled a (living) biography and a service in his honor.

Text Translated from:

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

Living of unknown saint Saint Sophronius of Sofia, known also as Saint Soprhonius of the Bulgaria / Sofronij of the Balkans

Saturday, May 28th, 2022

Sveti-Sofronij-Bylgarski-SofijskiSaint-Sophronius-of-Sofia-Bulgaria-of-the-Balkans
 

Biography of Staint Sofronij / Sophronius of Bulgaria Sofia, Known also as Saint Soprhonius of the Balkans

The parish priest of the village of Penkyovtsi (Sofia, Bulgaria region) Stefan (Te fled to Sofia with his wife due to Turkish violence, from hence he later fled to Wallachia region to the great Wallachian voivode (Duke) Radul. His wife died there and he became a monk named Sophronius (not to be mistaken with the very famous Bulgarian saint Saint Sofronius of Vratza / Sofronij Vrachanski).

After the death of Duke Radul, he returned from the Danube river to his homeland and settled in a monastery near city of Ruse (probably he lived in the cave monastery of Saint Joachim I Patriarch of Tarnovo and the Venerable Demetrius Besarabovsky, that even today is the biggest monastery nearby the city of Ruse).

There he struggled with common sanctification practices as fasting, prayer, work and alms for the poor. The devil did not tolerate his monastic great achievements and set a monastic servant against him, who struck him on the head with an ax and killed him.

Three years later, Sophronius appeared to the people living in the monastery, who obeyed his suggestion (obviously they got inspired to  dug up his grave which is a common ancient Christian practice for notable christians who might have been saints) and look up if his relics are incorruptable and found his relics incorruptible and fragrant (emitting a heavenly odor), as they have been inspired by God's Spirit to do.
People with great joy placed the holy relics in a coffin for common (universal) worship of all the Christians.

We do not know the exact dates he was  born or has been killed, because of the devilish envy, as at that time Bulgaria has been under the Ottoman turks and the founding of his holy relics has happened years after his martyrdom. But most probably the Venerable Sofronij  lived in the second half of the fifteenth century and the beginning of the sixteenth century, by the second decade of which he must have suffered. This information about him is told to us by the Bulgarian writer and priest Father (the bulgarian word for which is Pop – stems from the greek word Papas (Father) Peyu. The same Pop Peyu has been also the author of the life of Saint George of Sofia the New not to be mistaken with Saint George the Newest from Sofia  who maryrdom suffered in year 1515 because of his unwillingless to accept the false Islamic faith.

© Lives of the Saints. Synodal Publishing House, Sofia, 1991, edited by Parthenius, Bishop of Lefkada and Archimandrite Dr. Athanasius (Bonchev) with minor inclusions of the article author Georgi Georgiev

Let by his holy prayers the Bulgarian homeland and especially the suffering in Ukraine and all people everywhere, finds more Peace, Love, Hope, Faith and Goodness 

Saint Hieromartyr Therapont of Serdika ( Sofia ) martyred year † 1555 for Christ

Thursday, May 26th, 2022

Saint Therapontius of Serdika is celebrated every year on on May 27 in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, together with St. Holy Martyrs Therapont of Sardis († 259). He is born and lived in the ancient city of Serdika (today Sofia).

He is part of the nine saints of Sofia, that are celebrated in the Church throughout the Liturgical year.

A little is known of him and just like the martyrologies of much of the ancient saints, we have only few sentences left mentioning his great martyrdom for Christ, along with other local Bulgarian saints. He has a written  celebration service in the Minelogion Church book for  27-th of May.
Minelogion for those unaware is one of the service books used in the Night and Morning services songs and containing services details about the glorified saints for each day of the year.

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Troparion of the Holy Martyr, voice 4
He became a partaker of morals and viceroy of the apostles
in the way of your contemplation, inspired by God, you have done deeds,
therefore you have faithfully taught the word of truth,
for his faith he suffered even to the point of blood,
Holy Martyr Therapont, beg the Christ God to save our souls.

 

Saint Hieromartyr Therapont of Roman Fortress Serdika ( Sofia )
The famous Bulgarian medieval historian Matei Gramatik, who was a contemporary of Saint Nicholas of Sofia (a 15h century famous Bulgarian martyr saint) and a witness to his martyrdom in 1555, who wrote his biography with great skill, writes about this holy martyr. There he describes the situation in which St. Nicholas of Sofia lived – both geographically and spiritually.
In his description of the spiritual situation, he gives brief information about the saints of Sofia, including St. Terapont of Serdica (Sofia). He writes:

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"When you listen for the inhabitants of Sofia, don't think about the current contemporary ones,
but for the heavenly ones, who were once co-inhabitants of us and now live with the angels.
So forth it is beneficial, to tell about 2 , 3 of them. The holy hieromartyr Therapontius, who
being a citizen of this place and a presbyter of the holy God's Church in Serdika (Sofia), lived filled
with lot of virtues and at the end, during the persecutions of Christians, has been detained by guards
by the lawless for his Christ confession. After a lot of martyrs and being enchained with a heavy
iron chains, he has been put out of the city and on a distance of one day walking, on
this place he was beheaded and henceforth he received a martyrs death for Christ.
They say on the place where his blood was shed, in that time a large oak tree has grown  and it is seen until today and there a lot of miraculous healings occur,
whenever one comes with faith."

Today a part of this trunk of the oak is kept as a sacred relic in the ancient Sofia's capital ancient church "St. Petka", where the memory of the holy martyr is celebrated every year on May 27.

Translated from: © Lives of the Saints Book. Synodal Publishing House, Sofia, 1991, edited by Parthenius, Bishop of Lefkada and Archimandrite Dr. Athanasius (Bonchev).


Another Bulgarian saint Paisios of Hilendar / Paisij Hilendarski (1722 – 1773) also mentions in his history book History of the Slavo-Bulgarians states: "There are three holy martyrs in the city of Sofia:
1) St. George;
2) St. Nicholas;
3) St. Terapontius.

This saint was a priest in town of Tran, where many people now go for healing. Where in the Turks has slayered the saint a an oak greaw and with his prayers a lot of healing is given on the place of this oak. Same manner Saints George and Nicholas suffered from the godless Turks during Selim's reign; and their holy relics give healing in this city of Sofia. "

Icon Images of St. Therapontius are known to exist today from the XIX century. There are icons icons in the Sofia church "St. Paraskeva ”, in Pernik, in the church of " St. Petka ” in Sofia, fresco in the church“ St. Dimitar ” in the village of Yarlovtsi, Transko, wherein used to an icon also whose location now is unknown.

In Tran and Godech respectively there were folk customs associated with the saint and therein and in the region he is revered as a healer and protector of the harvests.
There is also a cave in Trun, which is indicated as a refuge for the saint.
A chapel in his name was in the city, burned by the Turks in the 30s of the XIX century.

In Glory of St. Terapontius of Sofia during the Second World War and until 1957 was dedicated the Revival church "Holy Trinity ", today – Saint Great-martyr (Mina)  Menas, in the Slatina district of Sofia. The church was built on the remains of the monastery “Holy  Trinity", according to mouth to mouth tradition kept for ages. 

According to the legend, the saint was slaughtered here and this gives some reason to presume that St. Terapontius might have been one of the spiritual fathers who were serving in the monastery at that time.

Let by the holy prayers of Saint Terapont God gives forgives to our multitude of transgressions and grants more Peace, Love, Hope, Faith and goodness to everyone !

Christ is Risen ! Truly He is Risen ! The origin of the tradition Paschal Greeting and Coloring of Eggs on Easter Holidays in the Church

Wednesday, April 27th, 2022

 

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Christ is Risen ! Truly He is Risen !

Христос воскресе ! Воистину воскресе ! (Khristos voskrese! Voistinu voskrese!) – Church Slavonic Paschal Greeting

Χριστὸς ἀνέστη!  Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη ! (Khristós anésti! – Alithós anésti!) – Greek Paschal Greeting

Christus Resurrexit ! Resurrexit Vere ! – Latin Paschal Greeting

The Easter Eggs are so famous today for the kids worldwide, even though the world does not put much accent on the feast of Pascha (Easter). All kind of colored eggs are to be find in stores, many christian countries both Western and Eastern all throughout the world have the tradition of coloring eggs for Easter. 
The tradition is also the same here in Orthodox Bulgaria, as we have the tradition to boil and color eggs in various colors. 
Usually the first egg is colored in Dark Red and once sanctified in the Church is put on the iconostasis (the prayer corner in the house) in front of Christ, Virgin Mary and saints icons and kept their until next year.

Miraculously this Egg usually does not start decaying or smelling as an ordinary egg will do if left out of the fridge for a month or so. This first egg in dedication and memory of Christ's resurrection is kept on the iconostasis until the next year's Pascha and then buried somewhere in a green clean place for sanctification of the land.

This is a good and well followed tradition for those strict about religion, but even those who did not strictly follow Christianity or orthodoxy do color eggs for the fun of kids and as an expression for joy of the Paschal feast. Both grown and kids then try out their forces whose egg is more powerful by knocking each other's eggs to test whose egg shell is more solid and can stand up the break. The egg that is "victorious" once people test their power that is stronger and withstand the "egg fight" is kept for another egg duel with another person.

According to old superstitious belief if you win over in an eggs fight this is interpteted as you will have a good health and well being for the upcoming period till next year's Pascha.
 

How and from wherein this Boiled Eggs coloring originated ?


The short answer is it is connected to one of Church's traditions about the poor apostle Equal Saint Mary ( Maria ) Magdalene, who have given as a gift to Roman emperor Tiberius an Egg with the All Famous Greeting dialog in the Orthodox Churches among people with person A saying:   Christ is Risen ! person B responding: Truly he is Risen! (Христос Воскресе Войстину Воскресе !)

From the time of the many appearances of the Savior Christ in flesh after his Glorious Resurrection described by the Holy Evangelists in the Gospels and the fervent sermon of St. Mary Magdalene (one of the of the so called Myrrh- Bearing Woman who were the first who have visited the tomb where Dead body of Christ was led and become witnesses of  the Resurrection). The surviving Bible's New Testament 4 Gospel books do not provide further details about the activities of St. Mary Magdalene and her life. The Church mouth-by -mouth tradition of her later life in several local Christian churches differ slightlyhowever everywhere they essentially report on the zealous co-apostolic activity of St. Mary Magdalene. And the differences between these traditions depend on which of the evangelical women these churches understand by the name of St. Mary Magdalene.

Some Western Christian churches, as well as the Church Fathers and learned theologians, unite in one or two personalities three evangelical women: the sinner who repented in the house of Simon the Pharisee, shed tears at the Savior Christ's feet, wiped them with her hair. and she anointed them with precious ointment, and Mary of Bithynia, sister of Lazarus of Bythynia ( resurrected in the fourth day after death by Chrsit and commemorated one day before Palm Sunday )' and Mary Magdalene, who was delivered from the Savior Christ by seven demons. But the Orthodox Church now, as before, recognizes those mentioned in the Gospels with different signs, three persons as different separate ones, and does not want to base historical information on arbitrary, plausible interpretations. Therefore, the tradition of the Orthodox Church states that after the Gospel appearances of the Risen Christ before His Ascension and after, St. Mary Magdalene resided with the Blessed Virgin and the Apostles and was an active helper of the first successes of spreading the Christian faith first in Jerusalem. But full of zeal, fervent faith, and zealous love for God's gospel, she then preached in other lands, proclaiming everywhere the heavenly grace, joy, and salvation of all who believed in the Savior of the world, the Risen Christ.

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While visiting Italy to preach, St. Mary Magdalene found an opportunity to appear before the then-reigning Emperor Tiberius I, and presented him, according to generally accepted Eastern custom, with an egg painted red and greated him with "Christ is risen!"

The modesty of the gift of Mary Magdalene did not surprise the emperor, because he knew the ancient custom of the East, also among the Jews, going for the first time to superiors, or on solemn occasions to acquaintances or patrons, to offer a gift of honor, with some known or special, symbolic meaning. Examples of this can be found in Jewish Old Testament history, as are the gifts presented by the rich Wise men (magis – today their relics are kept for veneration in Cathedral of Cologne Germany) to the born Jesus Christ in Bethlehem of Judea. Even the poor in such cases offered as a gift various fruits from their locality or eggs from birds. Thus, partly following this ancient custom and with the red color of the egg laid and with the hitherto unheard words "Christ is risen!" to arouse the curiosity of the suspicious Emperor Tiberius. The holy co-apostle Mary Magdalene, by explaining the significance of this gift, began her fervent sermon on the Resurrection truth and the teachings of the Savior Christ for salvation. With great inspiration and conviction she told the emperor about the life, miracles, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ according to his own prophecy. She gave a direct, simple-minded account of the extremely unjust, biased judgment of Jesus Christ by the embittered members of the Jerusalem Sanhedrin. governor of Judea Pilate of Pontus, in condemning Jesus Christ to crucifixion. She explained how all this incurred the wrath of the Roman emperor then and how Tiberius handed them over to a court in which Pilate was deprived of power and exiled to Gaul, in the city of Vienna, where, according to legend, tormented by remorse and despair, he killed himself. According to another legend, Pilate repented, turned to Christ in prayer, as a sign of which his head was accepted by an angel after being cut off.

According to Church tradition, the sisters of Lazarus Martha and Mary went to Italy with St. Mary Magdalene; and Pilate, learning of this and fearing the denunciation of his unlawful actions by the Christians, himself sent a message to the Emperor Tiberius about Jesus Christ, in which he testified to the virtuous life of Christ, the healing of all diseases and infirmities from Him, even for the resurrection of the dead and for His other great miracles. Pilate asserted that in examining the accusations of the Jews, he found no fault in Jesus Christ; he made great efforts to deliver Him from the hands of the troubled Jews, but failed to deliver Him and betrayed Jesus to their will because of the cries of the people and the rebellious accusation of the Jews against Pilate himself …

 

... as a witness, overwhelmed with fear, he told the emperor about everything that had happened to Jesus Christ, who became an object of faith as God …

After such testimonies from the Roman governor of Judea and the worshipers of the Savior Christ, Emperor Tiberius, according to legend, himself believed in the Savior Christ, proposed to include Jesus Christ in the image of the Roman gods, and even when the Roman Senate rejected this proposal, Tiberius by royal decree threatened to punish anyone who dared to grieve believers in Jesus Christ.

In this way, with the zealous, fearless sermon on the Savior Christ, St. Mary Magdalene, along with other devout Christians, persuaded the pagan governor of Judea to testify in writing about the universal event of Christ's Resurrection before the pagan world and persuaded the then Roman emperor of the Savior Christ, thus facilitating the spread of Christianity.

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Anastasis (Resurrection) Church Fresco


And the Christians of that time, learning about the significance and strength of the impression caused by the offering of a red egg by Mary Magdalene to Emperor Tiberius with the words: "Christ is risen!" then began to imitate her in this and as a remembrance of Christ's Resurrection they began to give each other red eggs and say: "Christ is risen! … He is risen indeed! …"

Thus, this custom gradually spread everywhere and became universal for Christians around the world. In it, the egg serves as a symbol of Christ's resurrection and the resurrection of the dead, and of our expected new-birth for eternal bliss in the future life, the pledge for which is Christ's Resurrection.

Just as a bird is born from an egg and begins to live an independent life after its release from the shell, and the vast circle of life is revealed to it, so we, at the second coming of Christ to earth , rejected from ourselves together with the earthly body all that is mortal on earth.

By the power of Christ's Resurrection we will be resurrected and resurrected to another, higher, eternal, immortal life.

And the red color of the Easter egg reminds us that the redemption of mankind and our future new life have been acquired through the shedding of the cross on the pure blood of the Savior Christ.

Thus, the red egg serves to remind us of one of the most important dogmas of the Divine revealed Christian faith.

 

After the crucifixion of Jesus by the Jews in terrible miracles took place in nature, many dead righteous people rose, with His resurrection on the third day.Pilate, as a witness overwhelmed with great fear, informed the Caesar of all things that had happened to Jesus Christ.

In Eastern Orthodox Tradition Christ is Risen ! Truly he is Risen Greeting is used to joyfully great each other all around the Orthodox countries in the first 3 days of easter, and can be used instead of normal Hello greeting ! for the upcoming week The Holy Easter Weak which is a week of great joy and even by a hello greating in the Church could be used for 40 days as a normal greeting.

It is worthy to close this article with the praisal words, read on the first day of Pascha  authored by one of the most important Church fathers and
compiler of most served Liturgy service throughout the yearly service calendar:

"Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in a tomb!
For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the first-fruits of them that have slept."

Saint John Chrysostom

The Holy and Great Week of Passions of Christ in the Church – Day by day explained

Tuesday, April 19th, 2022

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The Holy Great Week of Christ Passions

The last week of the earthly life of the Lord Jesus Christ is called the "Great" or "Passion Week", i.e. A week of suffering, a prelude to eternal life. The Lord's life was coming to an end. Having resurrected Lazarus on the Sabbath as a proof of the Mass coming Resurrection known in the Church as Lazarus Saturday as it is always celebrated Saturday in the Orthodox Church on which people gathered to solemnly welcome the Messiah Christ, and triumphantly entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Following that the Savior Jesus Christ who prophecised his betrayel to the Cross for human sin, the Lord voluntarily walked step by step to His predestined inevitability.

Every day of the Passion Week is called Great and Holy for the reason this week is the most Holy and Sanctified week of the whole Calendar Church year. Each of the Seven days of it, the Church commemorates events of last week of Christ's life and suffering on earth before Resurrection and Ascension to Heaven through special services the way of Christ to Golgotha, the sufferings and His redemptive work on the Cross.

Worship during Holy Week

Lent services on the weekdays of Lent are characterized by their penitential singing. The royal doors (of the alter known as Dveri) remain closed as a symbol of man's separation from the Kingdom of God. Church vestments are dark, usually purple in the color of repentance.

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No Divine Liturgy is performed on weekdays, but so that the (ordinary chrsitians who go often and pray God) – so called faithful can support themselves in their ascetic effort of fasting by accepting Holy Communion, a Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is performed (a specific Liturgy prepared for the Purpose that is only served during great Lent). This service is very ancient, it is mentioned in the canons of the VII century, but it was established earlier for sure. Most likely the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, practice to sanctify bread and wine in prior has later evolved in the Roman-Catholic Churchs errenous from Eastern Orthodox point of view – Eucharistic Adoration
– (a consacration host kept usually in the so called (monstrace). Traditionally, Presanctified Liturgy creator is considered to be Pope St. Gregory I the (Dialogus), Pope who governed the Western Church in (VI century) – some  theologians today claims it was developed at least partially or coauthored also by Saint Ambrose of Mediolan (Milan).

The pre-consecrated liturgy consists of a solemn Lenten Vespers (prelonged repentance songs) with elements from Psalms and readings from Holy Scripts regarding life and suffering of Christ, to which is added the part of "transfer" of the Holy Gifts from the Alter to the Upper place (the place where the proskomidia occurs) and walked in on the "Great Entrance" Liturgy part with the Sacraments placed in the Holy Chalice held by the priest in front of iconstansisa and back to the Alter of Sacrifice, however the consecration of the Gifts itself is not performed, the Eucharistic gifts are already sanctified and prepared on previous Sunday Saint Basil or Saint John Chrysostomos liturgy.  That is why the service is called the Presanctified Liturgy, i.e. of the pre-consecrated Gifts.

Usually This service takes place on Wednesdays and Fridays or at least on one of these days and on the 6th week of Maria of Egypt is served 3 times instead of 2 throughout the week to venerate the Most Holy Mother Mary of Egypt which from a Harlot turned a saint by immerse repentance, and cause of that become the patron saint for repentance and example for true repentance, that each and every Christian aims follow, every day of his life.

Following the 6th weeks of Fasting a period that the ancient Church placed for try out of ones self soul state and cleanance of passions comes saint Lazarus Saturday.

Lazarus Saturday is the only day of the year when Sunday service worship is integrated in Saturday.  Usually Sunday service is a service of higher importance than the other ones, a faithful gathering to share the unspeakable joy for the Resurrection of Christ and his triumph of Life over Death. 

Lazarus Saturday is the beginning of the Easter celebration. During the Liturgy of Lazarus, the Church glorifies Christ as "Resurrection and Life", who even before His sufferings and death, with the resurrection of Lazarus, confirmed the foreshadowing of the universal resurrection of mankind coming. It was because of the resurrection of Lazarus that Christ was glorified by the people as the long-awaited Messiah (no man ever was able to rise up a death rotting person from the Death after four days in grave) truly identifying him as the promised King of Israel and the fulfillment of long ages awaited Old Testament prophecies.

The very feast of the triumphal entrance of the Lord into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday) belongs to the twelve most importance Church feasts, known in the Church as "Feasts of the Lord". Christ immediate worship by all Jews on his entrance in Jerusalem  is directly connected with that of Lazarus Day on which he did the miracle of commanding Lazarus to wake up from Death,  returning life of a long dead Lazarus.

On the eve of the feast, the prophecies about the Messianic King from the Old Testament are read, along with the Gospel accounts of Christ's entry into Jerusalem, as another confirmation that Christ is the True Messiah.

In the morning, the willow twigs we hold in our hands throughout the Liturgy are blessed, thus showing that we welcome Jesus Christ as King and Savior, just like the Jews has received him in Jerusalem 21 centuries again in  year 0 A.D.

Extract Prot. Thomas HOPCO "Fundamentals of Orthodoxy" with short modifications from:
Church NewsPaper of Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Issue 7 of April 17, 1998

Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday and Holy Wednesday

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Church Slavonic (Old Bulgarian) notable singing during the first 3 days of the Holy Week sung in the Orthodox Church

Text translates as:

Behold, the Bridegroom comes at midnight,

And blessed is that servant whom He shall find watching,

And again, unworthy is the servant whom He shall find heedless.

Beware, therefore, O my soul, do not be weighed down with sleep,

Lest you be given up to death, and lest you be shut out of the Kingdom.

But rouse yourself crying: Holy, Holy, Holy, art Thou, O our God,

Through the Theotokos have mercy on us.

Troparion of Bridegroom Matins

During the first three days of Holy Week, the Church commemorates the Lord's last stay in Jerusalem. In these days the worship is very intense: there is a Midnight Office (Μεσονύκτικον, Mesonýktikon; Slavonic: Полунощница), The Hours matins, Psalms Book chapters, reading of the Gospel and Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts. During the "lessons" given by, the four Gospels to the Gospel of John are read. 13, verses 30
 

Great and Holy Monday

On Holy Monday, the evangelists tell us how the Son of God entered the Jerusalem temple and found it full of merchants. Overwhelmed with holy wrath, He overthrew their tables and drove them out, because the temple is a house of prayer, not a marketplace. (Matt. 21: 12-13, Mark 11: 15-19; Luke 19: 45-46).

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On Holy Monday, the Church celebrates St. Patriarch Joseph, the son of St. James the Patriarch and a type of Jesus Christ.

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Joseph The Magnificient

Joseph was sold by his brothers to merchants traveling to Egypt.

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There, in a foreign land, he went through many sufferings, but Pharaoh made him second in power and position in the whole kingdom (Gen. 41: 38-46). Like Joseph, the Lord Jesus Christ was betrayed by the Jews to the Gentiles, tortured, and suffered for human sins.

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The Icon of Christ the Bridegroom (Ο Νυμφίος)

The Church also invites us to reflect on the image of the barren fig tree, which withered after being cursed by the Lord (Mark 11: 12-14, 20-26, Matt. 21: 18-22). "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire" (Matt. 3:10).

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In the same way, we will be condemned if we do not live in prayerful communion with God, do not strive to improve our faith, do not fill ourselves with virtues, and do not bear spiritual fruit.

Great and Holy Tuesday

"Watch therefore: for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh" (Matt. 25:13).

(Gospel reading: Matins 22: 15-23: 39; Liturgy Mat. 24: 36-26: 2).

Holy Tuesday is a day for teachings and final moral instructions:

The Lord Jesus Christ gives us an example of how to do good – not to give from our surplus for this purpose, but as a poor widow to set aside from our last material means.

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Speaking of the approaching days of struggle and trial, Christ tells of the ten wise virgins who were always ready to meet the Savior (Matt. 25: 1-13). It reminds us that we must "be vigilant and not be discouraged" and keep our lamps lit in anticipation of the Divine Bridegroom.

That is why on Holy Tuesday the Church sings:

Here comes the bridegroom at midnight,
and blessed is that servant whom he hath found awake,
and unworthy is he whom he finds careless.

Therefore beware, my soul, lest you sleep,
to be delivered to death and to remain outside the closed doors of the Kingdom,
but come to your senses and exclaim: Holy, holy, holy, O God,
have mercy on us for the sake of the Mother of God!

"The light of the body is the eye" (Matt. 6:22), says the Lord. the unsullied human heart and soul, and "the oil is alms or all our good deeds" (St. John Chrysostom).

Living virtuously, with the fear of God and trust in the Lord, we will be ready to meet the Savior and enter the marriage hall – the Kingdom of Heaven.

The church also reminds us of the parable of the talents (Matt. 25: 14-30) and invites us to work hard and improve the abilities God has given us.

Then follow prophecies about the fate of the city of Jerusalem for the last days of the Second Coming of the Lord
(Matt. 25: 31-46, Mark 13: 1-31, Luke 21: 5-38).

Great Holy Wednesday

On the day of Holy and Holy Wednesday we remember one of the last events before the Lord's saving sufferings for us: the precious ointment, which in his sincere repentance a sinner woman poured on the Savior's head (Matt. 26: 6-13, Mark 14: 3-9).

She managed to enter the house where Christ was, the woman carrying an alabaster vessel with precious very expensive ointment, she wanted to pay her enormous respects to Him. In a hurry (scared that someone from the people in surrounding Christ might stop here) in order for not to interfere with her good intentions, she broke the vessel that was helding a high amount of oilment, making it easier to spill the ointment on Christ.

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The precious ointment cost three hundred dinars ! (Mark 14: 5), so some being sick of the passion of Judah the Iscariot (The Love for Money the works of the Flesh) resented it: "Why is this waste?", "The ointment could be sold and the money given to the poor."
And Christ answered them, "You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me," "she has done a good work for Me [by] deceiving to anoint My body for burial." Her zeal will be heard all over the world.
Like the prodigal son, the sinner realized her sins and "came to her senses."

Let us also come to our senses about our real spiritual condition and repent of our sins, so that with our repentant tears we may "anoint" the Lord like that repentant woman !

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On the same day, we recall the decision of the Sanhedrin to condemn Jesus Christ. Then Judas Iscariot went to the Jewish leaders and agreed to hand him over for thirty pieces of silver (Matt. 26: 14-16, Mark 14: 10-11, Luke 22: 1-6).

We should well think:

Do we, who bear the name of Christ, not betray Christ through our ungodly deeds?

From that day on, the kneeling prayers do not cease, as one should understand we have done plenty of badness and has inflicted additional pains to Christ, who suffered for all great sins on the Cross.
 

Great Wednesday

Great and Holy Thursday – Remembrance of the Last Supper

On that day, the Lord Jesus Christ celebrated the Passover in the home of a resident of Jerusalem
(Matt. 26: 17-35, Mark 14: 12-31, Luke 22: 7-38, John 13: 1-17, 26).

Before supper He washed the feet of the apostles and said, "I did not come to serve, but to serve."
The Savior then instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist (Communion) by Himself partaking of the holy apostles.

By His great mercy, the Lord also gives us the opportunity to receive His true body and blood during the Holy Liturgy, so that by accepting Christ within us, we may strive to keep Him through the purity of our hearts.

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After bequeathing the new commandment to love all, Christ revealed to His disciples that He would be betrayed.
Bewildered, the students asked who would do this.

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Judas asked is it him that will betray ? 
Christ answered him so meekly that the others did not understand.
Judas got up, went out leaving the holy eucharistic supper.
And pupils, thought he was going shopping for required goods for the brothers because he was a treasurer (an accent how we should keep a good mind and try to think well about others all the time).

Next  great accent is Lord's Prayer.

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Christ Prayer in Gethsemane Garden – Bulgarian Icon museum Great Tarnovo

In the Garden of Gethsemane After supper Christ and the apostles went to the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26: 36-46, Luke 22: 39-46, John 18: 1), where he prayed until the coming of the traitor.

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Usually on Thursday evening the morning of Good Friday service is served, when the so-called Twelve Gospels are read, ie. the twelve passages of the Gospel that tell of Christ's sufferings.


Through them we witness the mockery, suffering, and crucifixion of Christ, through which He redeemed us.
"Here is the Lamb of God who took away our sins."

And again we wonder if we do not crucify Christ through our passions and sins.

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Jesus in Golgotha – Theophanes the Cretan

On this day, the priests take the Cross out of the altar, which symbolizes its carrying from Christ to Golgotha.

The Great annointing of the sick service is served so called "Велик Маслосвет" – during whose many prayers to saints healers are red to intercede for us following by 7 Act of Apostle readings and 7 Gospel Chapter Readings, wherever possible in large Cathedral Churches, this is served by 7 priests  every willing layman is anointed with oil 7 times after reading each of the 7 Gospels for restorating of Health of the sick as well as a special blessing in the manner of the ancient Church tradition.

Great and Holy Friday

The Way of the Cross and Golgotha ​​We remember the great sufferings of Jesus Christ, who freely agreed to be judged, flogged, spat upon, beaten with slaps, and shown before the people in a purple robe, with a cross in his hand and a crown of thorns on his head. 

Armed with a heavy cross from Pilate's praetorium (judgement place), Christ was led to Golgotha ​​on the crucifixion.

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Crucified between two robbers for desecration in terrible natural disturbances – an earthquake and an eclipse of the sun, he died, accepted death to save all mankind from death.

On this day, every Christian should follow complete fasting (eat nothing and drink nothing) and pray and sorrow deeply for the Lord.
According to church rules, even the sick should only eat bread (at best a very dry one) and drink a little bit of water. Joys of any kind of type should be abstained and all passions avoived and one should ask God for mercy for himself, his family and ask is merceful to everyone.

Great and Holy Saturday

The burial of Christ the Savior and His descent into hell are commemorated.
He died on the cross, blood and water flowed from His pierced ribs.
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, asking Pilate for permission, removed Him from the cross, anointed Him with perfume, wrapped Him in a new shroud, and laid Him in a new tomb carved into a rock in the Garden of Gethsemane.

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Epitaphios (Lamentation of Christ) from Stavronikita monastery, Mount Athos – Theophanes the Cretan

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Myrrh-bearing women were present at His burial in the tomb, among whom, in tears with her grief-stricken heart, was His Mother the Holy Mother of God.

The church sings regarding this great events:

"In the grave with his body and in hell with his soul as God,
in heaven with the thief and on the throne with the Father and the Spirit You were, Christ,
Who fills everything. "

The Jews sealed the tomb and set up a guard.

Great secret! "Let the human creature silence !" – sings the Church instead of the Cherubim song on Holy Saturday.
The lord of life is in the grave, but he will soon be famous for the miracle of the resurrection.

On the Saturday morning after the liturgy, in some places it is customary for the priest to give flowers to the faithful as an expression of joyful anticipation of the Resurrection.

Holy Week in the statutes of the ancient churches

Initially, Easter was preceded by a two-three-day fast, which took place one week – the so-called.
Passion Week, or the Week of Christ's Suffering.

Subsequently, the 40-day fast was added to Lent, similar to the forty days during which Christ fasted in the wilderness. It was intended for the "announced", that is, for those who would be baptized on Easter.

For a long time during the practice of mass baptisms of the elderly, the sacrament was performed on Easter, when baptism was especially experienced as a participation in the voluntary death and resurrection of the Lord.
That is why the Easter Liturgy is extremely baptismal in nature.

After the sixth century, the baptism of children began to predominate, so the mass baptism of adults on Easter was gradually abandoned.
It was then that the meaning of Pentecost was changed – from a catechetical period, fasting became a period of repentance for members of the Church.

In the ninth century, Pentecost the word stems from the Greek Πεντηκοστή (Pentēkostē) meaning "fiftieth" was finally united with Holy Week, and so the duration of Lent increased.

The length of Lent varied, depending on how local churches viewed the inclusion of Holy Week at Pentecost and whether they considered Saturdays and Sundays, when canons forbid fasting, to be part of it.

In the Constantinople Statutes (followed by our Bulgarian Orthodox Church), Holy Week is not considered part of Pentecost, and Saturdays and Sundays are included in the Lent period, although they are not Lent days in the full sense of the word.

Thus, according to the Constantinople Statute, The Pentecost Lent had 6 weeks of 7 days, ie 42 days.
If Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday are excluded from it, the duration of Lent is exactly 40 days.

According to this statute, Lent begins on Maundy Monday from the first week of Lent and ends on Friday of the sixth week, that is, on the eve of Palm Sunday.

The troparions included in the Triodion (Постен Триод – The Church Service book with sung text used during the Lent, for this day speak of the "fulfillment of the soul-beneficial fortieth Pentecost" and the anticipation of the "holy week of the Passion."

The interpretation of the rule in the Apostolic Decrees (Church rules guidance book text from the end of the IV century) is similar, where it says:

"Perform this fast before Easter, beginning on the second day (that is, Monday) and ending on Friday. After these days, as completing the fasting, begin the holy week of Easter by fasting through it with fear and trembling."

It is no coincidence that the liturgies of Lazarus Sabbath and the Lord's Entrance into Jerusalem have baptismal elements.

According to another tradition, reflected in the 29th canon of the Sixth Ecumenical Council (681) – that is the year of Creation of Today's country of Bulgaria (which is the only country in Europe that did not change his name as of year 681), Holy Week was part of Pentecost, where it is called "the last week of Pentecost".

This other practice is preserved by the ancient churches, which separated from Orthodoxy after the Fourth Ecumenical Council in Chalcedon (451) – The Armenian, Coptic, Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, Ethiopian Church of Toledo, (perhaps the Jacobite Syrian Church) etc.

Even though this historic tradition was well preserved in those Churches and many of their church order or customs such as veneration for the icons, holy relics, the problem with them preventing them to be in  ull communion with Eastern Orthodox Church stems in their rejection to accept the V-th XI-th and XII Ecumenical Ecumenical Councils and their perseverance on monophysitism (literally translated as, one nature – a teaching that says Christ has only one Nature and one Will a Godly, they say they do not reject that Christ was also real man in flesh but they consider the Godly nature of Christ has consumed the manly, which makes up their wrong understanding that Christ on the Cross did not fully suffer with his manly nature, but both God and man has suffered on the Cross – a doctrine which according to the Church councils is a pure hearesy, we can also conclude by the one nature of Christ that the so called today Oriental Orthodox Churches teach, that Christ on the Cross did not bear all the sins of the world as a man but he received all the sins and turmoils and evils as God.

In contrast in Eastern Orthodox Churches we do consider the truth that Christ has two Natures manly and Godly as well as Two Wills.
Some of the upmentioned ancient Oriental Orthodox Churches keep up to the heresy of monothelitism and that is why they're not communion with us the Eastern Orthodox.

The two wills in Orthodoxy is known under the term dyothelitism or dythelitism (stems from Greek δυοθελητισμός "doctrine of two wills") is a particular Christological doctrine that teaches the existence of two wills (divine and human) in the person of Jesus Christ.
Specifically, dyothelitism correlates the distinctiveness of two wills with the existence of two specific natures (divine and human) in the person of Jesus Christ (dyophysitism).

The Catechism of the One Holy Orthodox Church is stated: "Similarly, at the Sixth ecumenical council, Constantinople III in 681, the Church confessed that Christ possesses two wills and two natural operations, divine and human. They are not opposed to each other, but co-operate in such a way that the Word made flesh willed humanly in obedience to his Father all that he had decided divinely with the Father and the Holy Spirit for our salvation. Christ's human will 'does not resist or oppose but rather submits to his divine and almighty will.'"

This position is in opposition to the Monothelitism position in the Christological debates. The debate concerning the Monothelite churches and the Catholic Church came to a conclusion at the Third Council of Constantinople in 681. The Council declared that in line with the declarations of the Council of Chalcedon in 451, which declared two natures in the one person of Jesus Christ, there are equally two "wills" or "modes of operation" in the one person of Jesus Christ as well.

Dyothelitism was championed by Maximus the Confessor against monothelitism, the doctrine of one will. 

According to their tradition, Saturdays and Sundays as "non-fasting days" are not included in the calculation of Pentecost, so these churches fast 8 weeks for 5 days, ie 40, but fasting for pre-Chalcedonians begins one week earlier (when we have The week where orthodox stop eating Milk and Diary – Сиропустна Неделя (Milk-quit Sunday).

According to some liturgists, the appearance of the preparatory "Milk-quit" week before the beginning of Lent is the result of the desire to combine the two traditions in the Church.

Important clarification to make here is we have different view from  upmention Ancient considered schismatic Churches. Cause these ones only accept Church father decision in ecumenical councils until the 4th and cause they reject authencity of the IV th, XI th and  XII th ecumenical councils and consider Christ has only one nature a Godly one, they don't reject the existence of Human nature completely, however they stand for that Godly nature of Christ completely succumbs the human one and therefore it turns out Christ suffered on the Cross only as God (that Eastern Orthodox Churches consider as heresy).

Our believe of the Eastern Orthodox Church  Jesus Christ has two natures and two wills a Manly and Godly and his desire to humilate the Will of the Father and the Holy Spiritut to fulfill the salvational plan was voluntery.

The Roman Catholic Church since ancient times, has included Holy Week of Pentecost. However, through several councils, she lifted the ban on fasting on the Sabbath (64 Apostolic Rule). Unfortunately fasting today in Western Roman Catholic Churches is trongly reduced and all in all officially the layman in that Church has to fast about 4 days in the whole year, where in practice most people usually fast only one day on the Good Friday.

This practice is sharply condemned in the 55th canon of the Sixth Ecumenical Council. That is why the Roman Catholic Church calculates Lent as follows: 6 weeks of 6 days of fasting makes 36 days. To them are added 4.
Therefore for Catholics, the Great Lent begins on Wednesday, the so-called. Clean Wednesday (which according to Church tradition is the day on which Judah decided to betray Christ promising the Sanhedrin to sell them Christ for 30 silver coins … )

What is the reason for Holy Week Fasting

In our Eastern Orthodox Church on Holy and Great Friday, is a very holy and sad day – considered the saddest day in the year, because we sorrow for the great unrighhtousness done to King and The master of Light and Universe and Son of God Christ, being betrayed, joked and beaten in a substitute for us (as we in reality deserve this disgraceful faith for our multitude of transgressions).

Therefore the Goal of following the whole 7 days of Passion week in a Steady fasting is to cleanse up the soul and body, increase our talents (the virtues), prepare to receive Christ in His Glorious Resurrection in our Souls through the Mystery of the Mysterious – the Holy Communion and most importantly win over our sinful passion's rooted in hatred,lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, pride and all evil and most importantly commune with God with constant prayer and spiritual labors.

The constant prayer is attained in church laymans differently by reading of morning, evening private rules, canons, attendance of the many, many morning and evening services.
What is unique is the church services are constructed in a way that the morning services are served in the evenings where possible after Sunrise about 19:00 o'clock, and evening services are
served in the mornings together with the Hours and on Fridays united with a Liturgy of the Presanctified gifts.

In monasteries especially in Holy Mount Athos and some of the more ascetic ones, the frequent custom is often to use with a blessing of their elder the constant repetition in one self of the so called "Jesus Prayer";

Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me the sinner!  Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me the sinner! Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me the sinner! 

The weapons of the spiritual war used are abstinence of food or at least reducing the food intake and more importantly, reduce the passions. The most important fasting of course is the spiritual.

But for the spiritual advancement a good leverage shown by the Holy Fathers is the Fleshly fasting given to be followed during this week.
Fasting according to church canons for this week, includes only eating if heath allows it of raw foods, vegetables and fruits, bread and plant foods without oil, the local custom not mandatory tradition in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church is to also not eat fat containing nuts, throughout the week with exceptions on Great Thursday the day of The Last Support, where oil is allowed because of the Greatness of the Feast.

The fast during Holy Week is especially strict – "without wine and oil", ie dry foods, as only on Holy Thursday, after Holy Communion, believers used for the spiritual holiday "oil", ie vegetable oil.
Holy Sabbath was treated with special care, as it was the only Sabbath that the canons decreed as a fast day.

Fasting on Holy Saturday lasts until midnight, until the Lord's Day, when the Lord's Resurrection is announced.
The Apostolic Decrees stipulate: "The Sabbath lasts until the roosters sing, the fast ends with the coming of the first day after the Sabbath, which is the Resurrection."

Saint Luke of Odrin, a Glorious Bulgarian XVI century Christ martyr who publicly refuted Islam, feast day 23 of March

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022

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Holy Reverend Martyr Luka (the bulgarian name for Luke) was born in city of today's Edirne ( Odrin ) formerly known as Adreanopolis to pious Bulgarian parents – Atanas and Dominica. After the early death of his father, his mother gave him to a rich merchant from (Zagor) today's city Stara Zagora in Bulgaria, who treated him like a son.
The merchant once went to Russia, taking 13-year-old Luka with him.
On his return he stopped in Constantinople.

There Luca quarreled with a turk and started beating him. Then the enraged Turks captured him and wanted to kill him.
The frightened Luke shouted: "Let me go! I will convert to Islam!"

The turk immediately took him in and forced him to renounce Christ and convert to Islam, which the young boy did out of fear.
But after the fear passed, Luke became frightened by his action, lost his joy, and began to repent bitterly.

He reported himself to his batismal father (have to say at that time the importance of the God-father was very enormous much more than today). 
His father tried to release him with the help of the Russian ambassador.
But the evil turk, instead of freeing the boy, tied his hands and forcibly circumcised him.

After some time, Luca managed to escape from this Turkish home where he was forced to work as being counted a member of Islamic community and introduced himself to the Russian ambassador, who in attempt to save him from his slavery, sent him to the cities of Smyrna and Tire.
There Luke became seriously ill and, fearing death, called a Christian priest.
After hearing his confession, the priest advised him to retire to Mount Athos and repent there under the guidance of virtuous men.
After his recovery, he actually followed the advice of the clergyman and entered the Iviron  Athos Monastery, where he was restored to his Christian faith through the sacrament of Holy Anointing.

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Saint Luka of Odrin ( Adreanopolis ), the saint is well known in Greece as Saint Luke of Mytiliny (Mytilene a main city
in Lesbos Island Greece)

From there he moved to the Stavronikita Monastery, where he received a monastic vow.
But the enemy of human salvation did not give him peace.
Continuously Driven by temptations, he fled from one monastery to another. He went to the  Bulgarian "Zografski" ( Zographou ) monastery (from where he returned to the world, but failed to calm down, came to Mount Athos again) and then consequentlially to  Xyropotamou, Koutloumousiou  ( Kutlumush ), Saint John's Scyte, Grigoriou (Grigoriat), Saint. Anna Scyte.

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Thinking about why he has no peace during all this time, but always moving from place to place, he came to the conclusion that this is a punishment from God for his denial of the Christian faith.

So he came up with the idea of ​​martyrdom (as a mean to redeem his sin) and shared it with some clergy: no one dared to recommend a martyrdom to him because of his youth.
But in the end, seeing his unwavering determination, the priest Ananias gave him a cell rule in preparation for martyrdom for Christ. Then the clergyman Visarion cut his hair in a Great Schema " μεγαλόσχημος" monastic vows and went with him to the island of Mytilene (today in Greece).

After partaking in the Holy Mysteries of Christ, St. Luke dressed as a Turk and went to the Qadi (Judge – qadis have been an institution in cities in Turkish empire pretty much like today's Courts).

He told allegorically how he was forcibly converted to Islam, openly renounced ungodly Islam and professed the Christian faith in the following way:

He went beforte the kadi and asked him in loud voice,

"Is it just for me to be deceived, a child like myself?"

The kadi asked,
"And who deceived you?"

Luka responded,

"Someone deceive me, giving me a badge of islam [meaning circumcision."

The kadi then asked to see the badge. But when Luke went to open his clothing, those
present in the courthouse finally understood what he meant and shouted for him to stop.

Luka then said,

"Being a young child of thirteen, I was deceived by you
and I came over to your religion, not being able to discern
the truth from falsehood. I therefore remained
with what is false and a lie for some time because I
understood your religion was not true, but false.
And he whom you call a prophet is not a prophet but a
deceiver and a mythmaker, and he has deceived all of
you and you believed him . Having therefore been
informed that your religion is darknes, I reject
it before you and I confess my former Christian faith
which is true light. I believe and worship a true God,
my Lord Jesus Christ who will come to judge all
the world, the living and the ded, and who will render to
each according to his works. If you do not believe in
HIm. as I do, you will all be damned."


The kadi further asked Luka where he is from and he said he has came to this place by ship from Russia as Russia has been considered the only country protectorof Orthodox Christians in the empire and
wanting to protect his relatives and the Church hierarchy in the Empire from from further beating or destructions of Churches and arrests of Orthodox Priests and clergy within the empire by the turks.

He further asked:
"Where are you staying?"

"Nowhere. I did not stop anywhere, but came straight here."

The kadi turned to the others in court and said,

"He is crazy. See if he recognized his own shoes."

Luka turned and immediately rushed to find his shoes and showed them
to the kadi and said,

"I am not crazy, as you say. Here are my shoes. I brought them in Constantinople."

The kadi said,
"I am sorry for you son.
If you do not listen to me,
you will suffer many torments, many of which
you have not even heard. So think well."

Luka replied:

"I have already though on all the torments which you
can inflict on me, and I have come. So, whatever you
plan to do to me, do it quickly, without delay, and be
assured that I am clean and blameless and I will not deny
my faith. I am an Orthodox Christian and I will die an
Orthodox Christian. I worship Christ and it is Christ
whom I desire. I confess him here where I once
denied Him in ignorance and I proclaim Him with true knowledge."

All-Bulgariasn-saints-Church-service-icon-Vsi_Bylgarski_svetii_sluzhba
All Bulgarian Saints icon, Christ in Glory surrounded by
Bulgarian saints – below Christ throne – Saint King Boris the Baptizer
and Saint Patriarch Euthimius, the monastery on the Bottom Rila Monastery
The first by importance and Largest Monastery in Bulgaria, Saint Loukas of Adreanopolis
is also commemorated on this date too

Neither the caresses and promises of the Muslims nor the threats of torture could shake the hard young man in his determination to die for Christ. The Turks beat him severely and threw him in prison, shackling his legs. At that time all the churches were praying for the martyr.
The Metropolitan of the island and the Elder Visarion managed beseech to send him to prison the Holy Mysteries of Christ for the last communion.
Finally, the judge saw Luke's unwavering firmness and sentenced him to death by hanging.
When the executioner hoped for the noose around his neck, he said,
"Confess Muhammad, our great prophet, and we will let you go!"

The Holy Martyr replied,

"I believe in my Lord Jesus Christ and I worship Him alone!"

St. Luke was hanged on March 23, 1802 at the age of 16.

The holy body of the martyr remained hanging on the gallows for three days, but during all this time it remained white and beautiful, emitting an unusual fragrance.
After three days, the Turks tied a large stone around his neck and his body was thrown into the depths of the sea, but instead of sinking, it remained with the stone on the water surface. When night came, the Christians found him on the shore and handed him over to the earth with due honors. The other clothes of the Venerable Martyr received healing power and by touching them the sick received healing.


Let by the Holy Prayers of Saint Luka of Odrin, God quickly grant all People worldwide more peace, love, hope, faith and wisdom that are so desperately needed today !

Text on the living of the saint  extracted from:
1.  Lives of the Saints. Ed. † Bishop Parthenius (Levkijski) of Lefkada, archim. Dr. Athanasius (Bonchev). Synodal Publishing House, Sofia, 1991
2. Witness for Christ: Orthodox Christian Neomartyrs of the Ottoman Period 1437 – 1860 by Nomikos Michael Vaporis p. 252-257

 

In Praise of Holy 40 Martyrs of Sebaste – a medieval work by Saint Clement of Ohrid (The Wonderworker)

Wednesday, March 9th, 2022

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I consider / think for the will of the same mind and the equality of wisdom of these fourty martyrs and in amazement, I resort to Christ,  by whom clearly comes every good giving and every gift, as the Many-Blessed Paul said and blessed: “Thou are Christ – a God’s power and wisdom.” And with that power, were filled the many-blessed fourty warriors, martyrs for Christ.

They shone in the world like the brightest stars and illuminated the whole universe with the rays of the knowledge of God, having among them the spiritual sun – Christ. Illuminated by its light and adorned with great beauty, they blossomed with special faith like fragrant lilies, abundantly watered with the dew of the Holy Spirit. Decorating themselves with good deeds, they became beloved of their Lord, because in purity and love they surpassed each other. They shone like lamps with spiritual radiance: some with fasting and abstinence, others with good faith and hospitality; some with kneeling prayer and sincerity, and others with humility and meekness; some with vigilance and sincere love, and others with love and mercy for the poor. Indeed, the power of the Holy Spirit was with them, urging them to every good deed and by faith protecting them from every calamity.

And so, they were as homogeneous in appearance and beauty. Weaved through faith and love like a golden necklace, they were connected to each other by unanimity. Leaving the vain way of life, they zealously wished to stand before the unspoken glory of God through good deeds and sincere love. They urged each other to hurry to the holy path of feat. Instead of armor, they put on the faith, and instead of a shield, they armed themselves with The Cross and appeared in battle like Lightning – Riding against thousands and tens of thousands and were glorified with Victory. They fought a double war – with Visible and Invisible enemies.

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Ivory Relief icon 40 Martyr 10th century from Constantinople now kept in Bode museum Berlin

The devil, who could not see their beauty and faith, as well as their pure life, fought against them by entering the malevolent court of Licinius, who was autocratic at the time. He raised persecution against Christians. Wanting to deceitfully capture the faithful martyrs, Licinius forced everyone to worship idols. But the ancient prophet proclaimed and said: “Lord will not leave the rod of the wicked on the lot of the righteous, so that the righteous do not stretch out their hands to iniquity. Lord, do good to the good and to the righteous at heart! ” With this light they illuminated themselves, striving brilliantly and wonderfully in martyrdom, despising the ordinary pleasure of joy. Cheering each other on, they said to each other, “Brethren, let us not be afraid of this short-lived torment, which passes quickly like a shadow, but brings us into the eternal dwellings. Therefore, brothers, stand firmly armed against the adversery-enemy, so that we may be adorned with victorious crowns of Christ God!
Because for the sake of earthly life and for the sake of the mortal king we did not spare ourselves in battles, but, having fallen into many troubles, protected by the power of God, we emerged victorious, then – if we try to follow him, taking upon ourselves his voluntary sufferings, we hope that he will be with us, as he promised: “When you are taken to assemblies, to authorities, to prisons, to kings and princes, and to tormentors for my name's sake, do not worry about what to say or what to answer, for I will give you words and wisdom that all your adversaries will not be able to resist or contradict. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body and can do no harm to the soul; but be afraid of him; who, after the murder, has the power to throw into hell. "

With these words, they learned and supported each other, and powerfully trampled on the devil's cunning. They gladly endured all kinds of sorrows, saying to themselves the apostolic word: "God is not unjust, brethren, to forget your labor."

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40 Holy Martyrs of Sebaste martyrdon in the Lake Εκκλησιαστικό Μουσείο (Alexandrupoli, Greece Church Museum)

When they stood at night, in the cold, in the middle of the swamp, near the town of Sebastia, here is one of them, turning away, ran to the bathroom (built near the plateau) and, touching the heat, it melted like ice and died. And suddenly an unspeakable light shone from the sky on them, and the cold turned from it into warmth. And forty crowns descended from heaven upon their heads. Only one wreath remained, with nowhere to stop.The guardian, seeing this miracle, took off his clothes, jumped to the martyrs and cried out in a loud voice: “I believe in the Son of God Jesus Christ, in whom even these holy martyrs believe; may He honor me with the same glory, so that I may complete with them a martyr's deed! ” And immediately the crown of unspeakable glory descended on his head and stood. This is God's mercy, as the Lord Himself said, "The last shall be first, and the first last."

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Church of Holy Martyrs, ex-Capital of Bulgarian Empire Tarnovo / Trnov, Bulgaria

Therefore, how can we praise the most holy company, from which this wretched man fell away, as Judas once fell away from God's chosen company, and as the devil fell away from the angelic staff and from the light and became the ruler of darkness and deserved eternal torment. His envy engulfed this wretched man. But still the devil was trampled by the invincibles.

The church nourished them with spiritual food, crowned them with the brightest wreaths; he made them companions of the angels and showed them to the whole universe as bright lamps. With their miracles they shine more than the sun. The prophet announced about them in antiquity, saying: “You have tested us, O God, you have melted us as silver is melted; put men over our heads. We went through fire and water and you set us free. " As they desired this eternal peace, they left behind the beauty of life, houses, wealth, fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers, wife, children, and even despised their lives, according to the Lord's command. That is why the Lord has miraculously shown all His favor to them. Indeed, they were vessels of good use, chosen for the service of the only ruler and our savior, Jesus Christ. Nothing could separate Christ's love from them: no fire, no water, no other suffering.

That is why today we celebrate their memory with respect and, giving them the due praise, we say: "Rejoice, all-honorable and wonderful company of the most glorious army!"

They became like the disembodied forces and surpassed them; for they, being disembodied, stand in their place and enjoy the unspeakable beauty. And the martyrs, having swum the earthly ravaged sea , illuminated the whole world with their blood. With spiritual wings, they flew up and stood before the unspeakable glory of God. They abundantly heal the sick, cast out demons, alleviate suffering, enlighten churches, keep the peace, guide people to good deeds, cast out demons and quickly destroy their cunning, enrich the poor in two ways – mentally and physically – destroy heresies. Shining with the brightest dawns, they became great advocates – martyrs for the faith.


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Chapel of the Forty Martyrs containing the Holy Relics Church of Holy Sepulchre Jerusalem


So what mouth or which tongue will be able to praise these heavenly lamps, which appeared brighter than the sun? With their pure relics, they illuminated the whole world like stars. They warmed the day's frost, ignited by the Holy Spirit. And fiery flames extinguished them, as once the godly youths in Babylon. With their golden bones they illuminated the streams of the river, adorned all the churches with their fragrant relics, delighted the world with their unspeakable miracles, banished deception, and planted the truth, stepped on the devil, rejoiced Christ! That is why the right hand of the Almighty adorned them with bright wreaths and illuminated them with the rays of the unspeakable light, honored them wonderfully and with the honor to stand before God, clothed them with God-woven clothes, filled them with the power of the Holy Spirit and made them equal to disembodied forces. . That is why God is wonderful among his saints, always glorifying those who glorify him, and miraculously honoring them with unspeakable miracles. I want to tell one of their many miracles, namely how children listen to their noble mother.

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A Nun Monastery near Vrachesh Village, Bulgaria – Monastic Church

When these blessed martyrs surrendered their holy souls into the hands of the Lord, one of them was still breathing. His mother, seeing that he was left alive, rejected the female weakness, took male audacity, took his beloved son on his shoulders and, following him (after the car loaded with the bodies of the martyrs), said to him: "Do your best, Sufferer for Christ, be courageous and strengthen your heart, and may my soul rejoice for you! Do not fall away, as Judas once fell away from the apostles, nor as one of you has now fallen away, but give God all your hope and your spirit, and he will support you; for, behold, Christ is standing before you, brother, to receive your soul and await your arrival. ” As she spoke this, her son, carried by her, surrendered his soul into the hands of the Lord. She took it, placed it with the saints, and said, "Rest, child, with your holy company, and remember me with them in your holy prayers, so that I may accomplish your martyrdom." Then she returned with joy, praising God. Have you heard, brethren, of the love and boldness of the Christ-loving mother? How she feared neither the king, nor the tormentor, nor the sword, nor the fire, but only the life-giver of God.

Merdanya_monastery_40_Martyrs-after-the-battle-of-Klokotnitsa-by-Bulgarian-ruler-Ivan_Asen-II-near-Lyaskovec

Church of 40 Holy Martyrs in Merdanya Monastery near Lyskovec Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria (The monastery in thankfulness to the martyrs for helping the Bulgarian King Ivan Asen II in the Famous Medieval battle of Klokotnitsa which occured on 9th of March year 1230 near the Village of Klokotnitsa – As a result, Bulgaria emerged once again for short time as the most powerful state in South-Eastern Europe)

Therefore, if we reject from ourselves any fear of men, let us make room in ourselves for the fear of God. May he enlighten our souls and hearts! May we always abide in fasting, in purity and sincere love, in meekness and obedience, abstaining from all evil. Let us adorn ourselves with good deeds, like these most holy martyrs, glorifying the Most Holy Trinity, one in three persons – the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit – now and always, and forever. Amen!

Text originally existing in Church Slavonic and translated to Bulgarian language by Archimandrite Dr. Atanasii Bonchev (who was also the Author of the Book the Living of the Saints used in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church even today)
 

The Menaion (one of Liturgy service books) of the Eastern Orthodox Church lists the names of the Forty Martyrs as follows:

  • Hesychius, Meliton, Heraclius, Smaragdus, Domnus, Eunoicus, Valens, Vivianus, Claudius, Priscus, Theodulus, Euthychius, John, Xantheas, Helianus, Sisinius, Cyrion, Angius, Aetius, Flavius, Acacius, Ecditius, Lysimachus, Alexander, Elias, Candidus, Theophilus, Dometian, Gaius, Gorgonius, Eutyches, Athanasius, Cyril, Sacerdon, Nicholas, Valaerius, Philoctimon, Severian, Chudion, and Aglaius.


A curious fact is in the Eastern Orthodox Church, there is a prayer mentioning the Forty Holy Martyrs of Sebaste is also placed in the Orthodox Wedding Service (referred to as a "crowning") to remind the bride and groom that spiritual crowns await them in Heaven also if they remain as faithful to Christ as these saints of long ago.

Hearing on the enormousness of Saintship of the Holy Fourty Martyrs and their endurance. 
Let us ask them for their holy prayers for more peace, love, faith and hope and endurance and patience on the hard trials each one of us face constantly!

Holy 40 Martyrs of Sebastia Pray the Lord Jesus Christ so we find mercy in God!

Saint Prophor Pchinski Saint Jochichim of Osogovo and Saint Gabriel of Lesnovo the three little known Bulgarian spritual followers of Saint John of Rila

Saturday, January 15th, 2022

Biography of St. Prohor Pshinski

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St. Prohor Pshinski. Mural from the 15th century in the church "St. Archangel Michael" in Saparevo near Kyustendil. Source: bartol, bartol.blog.bg

 St. Prohor Pshinski. Mural from the 15th century in the church "St. Archangel Michael" in Saparevo near Kyustendil. Source: bartol, bartol.blog.bg The Rev.

Prohor Pshinski was a Bulgarian by birth from pious parents in the Ovce Pole region of northern Macedonia. It was given by God to childless parents for their prayers and sucked in along with his mother's milk and her high piety. When he grew up, his parents insisted on marrying him. But he once heard in the temple the words of the Savior: "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me," (Matt. 10:37). the town of Vranje in Yugoslavia. He lived in a cave where water springs for 32 years. Once a frightened deer ran to him, chased by a hunter who soon appeared.

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Prophor Pchinski (Pshinksi) Byzantine Empire Icon

At his first meeting, the monk called the hunter by name and predicted that he would soon become a Byzantine emperor. At that time Bulgaria was under Byzantine slavery (1018 – 1186). And indeed, after some time this man reigned under the name of Roman Diogenes (1067-1071). Astonished by the fulfillment of this prophecy, he discovered the incorruptible relics of the late Prohor Pshinski and built a large temple in the name of the saint on the site of his asceticism. His holy relics were laid there and a monastic fraternity gathered.

This monastery still exists. The Venerable Prohor Pshinski died on September 14, but due to the great feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the celebration of his memory was postponed to January 15. His monastery celebrates his memory on September 19.

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

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Saint Prohor Pchinski (Pshinski) Wall Painting icon XV century Kyustendil Bulgaria

The prologue biography of St. Prohor Pshinski is an original ancient Bulgarian writting, known in a single transcript in the New Prologue from the beginning of the 14th century (GIM, Uvar. 70). Under the date of October 19, the Venerable Hermit Saint is mentioned next to St. Ivan Rilski. Both texts are published by Kl. Ivanova (1977). D. Chesmedjiev (2009) points out that the cult of St. Prohor Pshinski is poorly fixed in the written tradition. All the details about the saint are known from his prologue. St. Prohor lived in the 11th century, working in the Kozyak mountain (near the village of Staro Nagorichino). After his death, his relics were transferred to the church he founded, called Pshinya, where he was healed.

Saint Prophor Pchinski in Modern Theology

His cult probably originated during the Byzantine rule. His memory is celebrated on September 13 and October 19. In the New Prologue, in addition to biographies of St. Ivan Rilski and St. Prohor Pshinski, there are also biographies of St. Achilles of Larissa, St. Simeon of Serbia and others. 30 years ago Kl. Ivanova (Ivanova 1977: 59) has suggested that the manuscript was compiled in the Pshin Monastery itself, but the spelling and language features of the collection are Serbian. According to the latest research by the same researcher, Nora's prologue originates from Jerusalem and was created in the Serbian monastery "St. Archangel Michael ”(Ivanova 2008: 68–70).

 

Biography of Saint Joachim of Osogovo

Images of St. Ivan Rilski and St. Joachim of Sarandapor from the Poganovo Monastery, end of the 15th century. It is not known where he came from, from his life it is known that he came from the west, according to Ivan Snegarov, perhaps from Zeta, in the Osogovo Mountains, where he sought monastic asylum.

An unknown boyar from the village of Gradets, not far from Kriva Palanka, today in northern Macedonia, shows him the place he was looking for monastic solitude – a cave by the Sarandapor River, today's Kriva River. Here St. Joachim spends his life as a hermit, in fasting and prayer, and the local Bulgarians revere him as a holy man. 

Osogovo Monastery.

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Osogovo Monastery Saint Joachim Icon

Joachim Osogowski died on August 16, 1105.On this date the Bulgarian Orthodox Church commemorates him.

Years later, the widowed priest Theodore of the Sheep Field settled in the place of Joachim's hermitage, adopting the monastic name Theophanes. After his saint appears, he discovers his miraculous relics, which are laid in the church built in his memory. In the 12th century, the cult of St. Joachim became so popular in northwestern Macedonia that a monastery of the same name was built around the temple. 

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Images of St. Ivan Rilski and St. Joachim of Sarandapor from the Poganovo Monastery, end of the XV-th century ( the three most famous spiritual pupils of Saint John of Rila )

In the monastery, similar to the life of St. Ivan Rilski, a life of St. Joachim was created, known from later transcripts, as well as a service of the saint. Around the middle of the 14th century the cult of St. Joachim spread to the eastern Bulgarian lands, and at the end of the 14th century it was transferred to Russia.

Biography of Saint Gavriil (Gabriel) Lesnovski

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Saint Gabriel of Lesnovo fresco from Archangels Chapel Rila Monastery, Bulgaria

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St. Gavriil Lesnowski.
Detail of a mosaic on one of the doors of the Patriarchal Cathedral "St. Alexander Nevsky" in Sofia St. Gavriil Lesnowski. Detail of a mosaic on one of the doors of the Patriarchal Cathedral "St. Alexander Nevsky" in Sofia

Reverend Gavriil Lesnovski is one of the three great followers of the Rila desert dweller St. Ivan Rilski. He lived in the XI – XII century. He was born in the village of Osiche, Palaneshko (Macedonia). He came from rich Bulgarian parents and received a good education. When he was old, his parents betrothed him to a good-looking bride. Soon, however, his fiancée died. Then he entered a monastery and became a monk. With the inheritance he received from his parents, Gabriel built a monastery with a church named after St. Archangel Michael in the Lesnovo Mountains, northern Macedonia, near the present town of Kratovo.

The Venerable Father gathered monks, appointed an abbot, and he himself secluded himself in the mountains of desert life and silence, doing so for 30 years. He then returned to his monastery and died on January 15. Thirty years after the death of the Venerable Gabriel, a Russian monk named Joseph in the town of Sredets (Sofia) – at the suggestion of the saint – went to the place where the Venerable struggled, found his grave, found his incorruptible relics, laid them in a coffin and provided for prayer worship to believers.

For many years the holy relics of the Reverend Gabriel rested in the Lesnovo Monastery and performed many miracles. Probably in the thirteenth century one of the Bulgarian kings of the Assen dynasty brought them to his capital Tarnovo and laid them in the church "Holy Apostles" in Trapezitsa. According to the Reverend's prologue of 1330, "they have lain there until now and give healing." After the Ottoman invasion of Bulgaria, traces of the holy relics of the Venerable Gavriil Lesnovski are lost. The monastery he founded was later named after him and became an important literary center. © Lives of the Saints. Synodal Publishing House, Sofia, 1991, edited by Parthenius, Bishop of Lefkada (Levkijski) and Archimandrite Dr. Athanasius (Bonchev).

Saint-Gabriel_Lesnovski-Saint-_Joachom_Osogovski_and-saint_Prohor-Pchinski-Saint_Alexander_Cathedral_SofiaSaint Gabriel of Lesnovo, Saint Joachim of Osogovo and Saint Prohor Pchinski mosaic saint Alexander Nevski Cathedral Church, Sofia, Bulgaria

The Saints Prohor Pchinski, Joachim of Osogovo together with Saint Gabriel of Lesnovo according to Bulgarian Orthodox Church tradition are considered to be 3 of the many pupil monks of Saint John of Rila who spread the light of Holy Eastern Orthodox Christian faith in whole Bulgarian lands and from there towards Russia and far west Serbia, Croatia, Hungary who historically has been orthodox and later converted to Roman Catholicism.

Happy Nativity Christ is Born ! Happy New Year 2022 and thanks for reading me

Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

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Christ is Born ! – Image Source: Holy Cross Monastery

Happy Nativity Christ was born 2022 years ago ! I wish a happy Nativity (Christmas).
ILet with the birth of Christ, his light and eternal dominion is born in us and lights us, as the star lighted the Magis who followed the Christmas star.

I wish my dear readers Peace, Love, Hope, Faith Good spiritual and bodily health and God's mercy by the prayers of the Holy Mother of God.

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Saint Alexander Nevsky Largest Cathedral, Sofia Bulgaria. Tallest (53 m) and largest (by area and volume) cathedral in the Balkans and one of the 3 largest Eastern Orthodox Churches in Europe.

I wish you also a Happy New 2022 year ! Let the new year bring you new power to fight evil and do more good. Let the new year be peaceful, full of Grace and kindness to each of my dear readers ! Let the new year bring you more wisdom and understanding on everyone's life destination and bring you understanding on what is the proper things to do that would bring more joy and for our family, colleagues at work and people who surround is over the coming 12 months time.

Let each those who were sorrowful become joyful, those who hurted, get healed and those who worked hard find fruits out of their hard labor. Let those who hunger find food and those who are in pain find relief ! 
Use your obtained knowledge wisely and not only work on the mind  but work on the soul so they both become better !

Cheers and Happy New  Successful Year 2022 !!!

Feast of Saint Naum of Ohrid, One of the Holy Seven Apostoles and Enlighteners of Bulgaria and Slavonic Eastern Orthodox Churches venerated 23 December

Tuesday, December 28th, 2021

In Bulgarian Orthodox Church the feast of Saint Naum of Ohrid is marked right at the end of the Christmas Fasting Period only days before Nativity (nasci, which means "to be born.",  source, Latin nātīvitās (“birth”). See also naïveté, γέννηση (Greek)as known in the East or Christmas (Christ-Mass) or XMas, the "X" comes from the Greek letter Chi,as known in the West. 
The reason to celebrate saint Naum are twofold second, first is the fact he passed away on 23 of December year 910, and second with the aim is to underline the importance of his many translation works for the Cyrillic Medieval Enlightenment Renessance for Europe and Asian Lands thorough the many Bulgarian saints stemming from Saint Cyril and Methodius.

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Saint Seven Apostles contemporary Mosaic Saint Sofia Church, Sofia Capital of Bulgaria

The enlightement spreading the new translated understandable texts for the Slavonic "Sea" of people and even in far asia for Slavs and respectively the Slavonic Churches, the biggest member of which is now the Russian Orthodox Church and through later through Orthodox Russia enlightened with Holy Orthodoxy Asia (China, Japan) and Africa. Back then among 1/3 of all the civillized world has been in contact or can speak some form of slavonic and the fact that the Holy Bible, and the Church books were translated for the Slavs has been unthinkably great.Today among 1/10 of the world still speaks and writes some form of Cyrillic thanks to the great works of Saint Naum and the rest six of the Holy Apostles, that are nowadays little known in Russia and the rest of Slavonic world.

Saint-Seven-Slavonic-Apostles-of-Bulgarian-and-SLavonic-Churches-Sv_Sedmocislenici_with_Jovan_Kukuzel_in_Ardenica

St. Seven Numbers and St. John Kukuzel. A fresco from 1744 from the main church of the monastery in Ardenitsa (present-day Albania), built on the foundations of the Holy Trinity Church, built with the patronage of St. Tsar Boris the Baptist. Written by the brothers Constantine and Anastas Zograf from Korca.

The names of the Seven Holy-equal apostles are  Saint Cyril and Methodius who created the Glagolitic script, and their five students Kliment, Naum, Gorazd, Sava and Angelariy.[ 3 ]. Another person we know of the of constellation of God enlightened apostle equal is Constantine of Preslav also considered a direct disciple of Methodius, the Church traditionally does not include him because he is not canonized (even though there is high probability he has been no less saint than the 7th). Saint Constantine of Preslav he is an author of the Alphabet prayer and multiple other Church books and works that are now completely destroyed and lost.

Saint Naum of Ohrid or Preslav himself was a medieval Bulgarian scientist (if we talk in terms of todays science), writer and saint. The Orthodox Church also venerates him as one of the Holy Septuagint translators as he used the famous Septuagint translation of the Bible as a specimen for his Cyrillic script translation.

 

Church sung chants on St Naum Feast

Troparion, voice 4

He left the world, became attached to Christ, crucified his flesh and lived spiritually, blessed Nahum.
You have endeavored to ascend in the way of the apostles, you have converted many, countless Moesians to the faith,
therefore, with your prayers, deliver us from temptations.

Kontakion sung, voice 3, similar to Virgo today

The honorable memory of your bright deeds, shining like a great sun for all,
enlightens those who sing to you, and casts out demons and all infirmities,
therefore, gathered with love, we truly praise her. 

St_Naum_of_Ohrid_Last_Quarter_of_XIV_Century_St_Mary_Perivleptos_Church,_Ohrid_Icon_Gallery


Short Biography of Saint Naum


Biography Information about his life before arriving in Bulgaria is scarce.
According to one of his biographies, he was born in Moesia, "of noble parents", but despising wealth and nobility, he joined Cyril and Methodius [1] 

 According to the life of Cyril and Methodius by Clement of Ohrid, Nahum participated in their mission in Great Moravia, and in 868 was ordained in Rome. In 886, Nahum was expelled from Great Moravia after spending some time in prison for his resistance to the influence of the German clergy. He arrives in Bulgaria together with Kliment Ohridski, Sava, Angelariy and Gorazd. Monastery "St. Naum ”on Lake Ohrid Naum is one of the founders of the Preslav Literary School (originally in Pliska, that was a major Capital of Bulgaria at that time and first Capital of Bulgaria [2] ). In Pliska St. Nauh worked between 886 and 893 on copying important books of the bible and multiplying the still scarce Church books in Bulgarian. After Clement of Ohrid was appointed bishop of Drembica in 893, Nahum continued his work at the Ohrid Literary School. During this period he founded a monastery on Lake Ohrid in honour of Saint Archangel Michael (a very likely reference to Baptizmal name of Saint King Boris the Baptizer of Bulgaria who accepted the name Michael in his Baptism. The monastery in Ohrid, where his holy relics lays till this day in a small grave  is now named in honour.

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Monastery of Saint Naum of Ohrid started by saint Naum

Even though the scarce information we have for the saint, the honour to Saint Naum over the centuries from the Slavonic Christiandome has been enormous and he has been especially invoked by people who suffer attacks by unclean spirits or are suffering long years sickness in heavy condition. In modern Theology he is also known under the name Saint Naum of Preslav-Ohrid a reference to the two major Bulgarian cities where he has done his spiritual labour in translating texts from Greek and perhaps Latin to the freshly invented Bulgarian alphabet recently reformed by his teacher Saint Kliment Ohridski who by himself has been a pupil of the Inventors of the Glagolic at that time Old-Bulgarian alphabet Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius.

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Up view to Monastery of Saint Naum of Ohrid (the Church size was common in the time the aim of Building small Churches was to show the humbleness of Faith)

Venerable Nahum of Ohrid was the youngest of the disciples of the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius, in the town of Devol, Macedonia, instructed in the faith of Christ, fought there and died in 910.


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Dormition of Saint Naum of Ohrid

His relics are a source of healing. Venerable Naum Ohridski died on December 23, 910, when his memory is celebrated even till today especially in Bulgaria and today's Macedonia which back in the day has been part of the Bulgaria (the far border of Bulgaria, historical Albania was just 300 meters from Ohrid's Saint Naum self-built Monastery).

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Sea view to Monastery of Saint Naum Ohrid

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Peacocks in the back yard of Saint Naum Church (peafowl has been common Christian symbol in the early centuries)

Since ancient times the Ohrid Archbishopric (which over the centuries has been usually identified with Bulgaria), closed as an independent in 1767 as desired by Turkish Sultan with the help of Ecumenical Patriarchate. In Bulgaria there is established June 20 as a day for a more solemn celebration of his memory.  [ 4 ]

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Saint John Maksimovich (Bishop of Shanghai and San Francisco)

A curious and little known fact from the Life of almost contemporary 20 century saint John Maksimovitch (Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco) is Saint John of Maksimovich discovered about Saint Naum's existence "by accidence" during his studies. Finding a relief and spiritual enlightment and support from the Saint he used to go to hospitals to pray for the sick holding an icon of saint Naum of Ohrid invoking his holy prayers, throughout his life he held a severe reverance for the saint, thanks to whose prayers Saint John Maksimovitch presented himself to Christ, passed to eternal life on his feast day 23st of December.

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Saint Naum (right side) and Saint Clement of Ohrid
 

St. Naum Preslav-Ohrid remarkable Enlightener [ 5 ]

Author: Ivan Grudev

 

Brethren, let it not be without remembrance
Elder Nahum, this brother, comrade and
compassionate of Blessed Clement …
From the oldest biography of St. Naum, first quarter of the X century.

St. Naum Ohridski. Stamp of H. Zhefarovich, 1743. 1150 years have passed since the birth of Presbyter Nahum, the student, collaborator and successor of the great work of the equal apostles Cyril and Methodius, one of the most prominent figures of medieval Bulgaria.

The son of "his noble parents", Nahum grew up in Moesia (the biographer used the unofficial name of Bulgaria throughout the Middle Ages, and more likely – the medieval regional name of present-day Macedonia – Lower Moesia). There he joined Cyril and Methodius, "Who then walked all over the Bulgarian land, striving to convert the seduced to the Orthodox faith … To bring many to the Christian faith and enlighten them with the light of truth … translated the divine scripture, the old and the new, from the Hellenic (Greek) language to the simple Bulgarian language and invented letters for the Slavic language themselves "; or to Methodius during his reign as a Slavic principality in present-day Eastern Macedonia from approximately 837 to 847, or to Constantine-Cyril during his fateful mission among the Bulgarian Slavs of the Bregalnica valley (present-day northeastern Macedonia) from 855 to 859

The biographer's announcement that Nahum was the brother of Kliment Ohridski was accepted by most researchers in a spiritual sense – that the two were close associates in the great and long struggle for the establishment of the Slavic-Bulgarian education and literature. It seems the truth is different. A careful analysis of the facts that have come down to us cannot but lead to the conviction that perhaps Nahum and Clement were in fact brothers. The role of Nahum, the older brother, in relation to the ten-year-old and more talented Clement (born in the second half of the thirties of the ninth century), is strikingly reminiscent of the tender care and unwavering support of Methodius to Constantine. Cyril.

Both Nahum and Clement faithfully followed the Thessalonian brothers, providing them with the closest help and cooperation in their missions among their compatriots – the Bulgarian Slavs, the Khazars, Moravians and Pannonians, "Walking with them everywhere, even to ancient Rome."

After the death of Methodius on April 6, 885, Nahum was probably one of his closest students, who helped Clement to quickly write the Extensive Life of the immortal Slavic-Bulgarian first teacher, to raise him along with the previously written Extensive Life of Constantine-Cyril as a shield for the preservation of the works and covenants of the Holy Brothers among the Western Slavs. But their efforts are in vain. The united union of German feudal lords, the Catholic clergy and the traitors of the Moravian princely court subjected the work of Cyril and Methodius in Moravia and Pannonia to pogrom and destruction.

Clement's biographer reports that the persecuted students of Cyril and Methodius "longed for Bulgaria, thought about Bulgaria and hoped that Bulgaria was ready to give them peace." Such feelings and such aspirations could be felt only by people in trouble abroad, to their Fatherland, from which they once left with their favorite teachers around the world.

Unlike the Moravian and Pannonian students, who were thrown into prisons or sold into slavery, and some, such as Methodius' successor Gorazd and killed, Nahum, Clement and Angelarius, as Bulgarian subjects, were forcibly expelled from Moravia.

Reaching Belgrade with all their might, the three martyrs were received with great reverence by the Boritarkan (according to a later report, Prince Radislav), the Bulgarian military and civilian governor of the northwestern lands, as long-awaited guests. 
Saint-King-Boris-Baptizer-Sveti_car_Boris_pokrystitel

Saint King Equal-to-the-Apostles Boris-Mikhail from (852–889, Church feast 2 of May)


For a short time still holding a title Prince Boris-Mikhail enjoyed the dear guests in the capital Pliska, who brought there the light of the work of Cyril and Methodius, the most priceless treasure of the people and the state. The weary Angelarius died quickly, and after a short rest Clement took the road to the extreme southwest of the Bulgarian land, the territories most recently liberated from Byzantine rule, where the Greek cultural and religious influence of the great centers of Thessaloniki and Drach was almost irresistible. The highest state interests urgently demanded the creation of a hearth of Slavic-Bulgarian education and literature in order to save the Bulgarian language from the Greco-Byzantine aspirations. By order and with the generous help of Prince Boris-Mikhail, Clement established an educational and literary center in Devol (now a non-existent city in southern Albania).

Only Nahum remained in the northeastern Bulgarian lands. He was given a similar task. In order to avoid an undesirable complication of relations with the Greek clergy in Bulgaria and Byzantium behind them, again with the help of the wise ruler Nahum organized a Slavic-Bulgarian educational and literary center for the northeastern lands, but not in the capital Pliska, where the Greek Archbishop of Bulgaria, and in the nearby Slavic settlement of Preslav (and Clement chose for his activity not Lichnida, today Ohrid, the metropolitan center of the southwestern lands, but Devol, a city of the same diocese). The younger student of Metodiev, Konstantin Preslavski, reports that he was inspired by Nahum to write his Teaching Gospel. This announcement proves that the leader and organizer of the Preslav educational and literary center was Presbyter Naum.

After the brilliant research of our late scientist Prof. Ivan Galabov at the University of Salzburg, the use of non-scientific terms "Preslav Literary School" and "Ohrid Literary School" is no longer justified, as "school" primarily means individuality, originality, internal autonomous development. Prof. Iv. Galabov proved the very close cooperation between the artists from Devol-Ohrid and Preslav, in the undisputed championship and influence of Veliki Preslav, in which such giants worked as Presbyter Naum, Bishop Konstantin Preslavski, Presbyter John Exarch, blacksmith Dox (see Chernorizets Hnorizets Presbyter John, Presbyter Gregory the Monk, Blacksmith Tudor Doksov, Prince Simeon, etc., while the achievements of the Devolsko-Ohrid center are the work of only one Clement, although a giant of spirit and word. As far as Devol-Ohrid and Preslav flourished not only education and literature, but also fine and applied arts, architecture, crafts, etc., for which Prof. N. Mavrodinov proved their stylistic unity throughout the era of the First Bulgarian Kingdom, despite the insignificant local differences, the scientific concepts are "Devolsko-Ohrid Cultural Center" and "Preslav Cultural Center". 

The-Grave-of-Saint-Naum-of-Ohrid-one-of-the-Seven-Apostles-of-Bulgaria-and-Slavonic-lands

The Grave of Saint Naum Ohrid (situated near the Northern Wall of the Church)

In his monastery on December 23, 910, the famous educator and benefactor of the Bulgarian people died, buried by his "brother, comrade and compassionate" Bishop Kliment Ohridski. His tomb is preserved to this day in a special chapel to the right of the altar of the monastery church.

Although the church has been rebuilt twice, the temple built by Nahum has remained the central building of the present one. This surviving church, with the tomb of Naum Preslav-Ohrid and its highly artistic frescoes from 1806, the work of painter Tarpo Konstantinov from Korca (probably Debar master, settled there, or a descendant of Debar settler), in which central place is occupied by the images of Prince Boris-Michael, the Holy Septuagint – Cyril, Methodius, Clement, Nahum, Gorazd, Sava and Angelarius, separately of Nahum, Clement and Prince John-Vladimir, is the most exciting pantheon of the First Bulgarian Kingdom and his Golden Age.

No, the presbyter Naum Preslavsko-Ohridski was not left without remembrance and praise. No Bulgarian has forgotten that he is one of the first masters who laid in Preslav and Ohrid the foundations on which Bulgarian culture is built from then until today. And forever.

 

Used Sources

1. ref (Duychev, Ivan. Extensive Greek biography in the service of Naum Ohridski, in: Duychev, Ivan. Studies on Medieval Bulgarian History and Culture, Sofia, 1981, p. 178. )

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pliska

3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Apostles_of_Bulgarian_Orthodox_Church

4. Extensive Orthodox Monthly lives, ed. Tavor and Lives of the Saints, Synodal Publishing House 1991

5. First publication on the Internet liternet.bg. 

6. http://www.pravoslavieto.com/life/12.23_sv_Naum_Ohridski.htm

7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boris_I_of_Bulgaria

8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clement_of_Ohrid