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26 October the Feast of Holy Great-Martyr Demetrius the Myroblyte known also as Demetrius of Thessaloniki

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

Sveti Dimitar Solunski_kopie-ikona

Bulgarian icon of Saint Demetrius

Every 26 of October in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and whole Bulgarian nation we honor deeply the memory of martyrdom of Saint Demetrius the Myroblyte (meaning 'the Myrrh-Gusher' or 'Myrrh-Streamer'; a term that stemmed from 3rd century – 306 y. the year of Maryrdom of this great saint. Saint Demetrius over the century has been one of the most venerated saints in the Eastern Orthodox Church and since the Christianization of Bulgaria his glory also spread quickly throughout the Bulgarian Empire lands.

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During the Middle Ages, he came to be revered as one of the most important Orthodox military saints, often paired with Saint George of Lydda and for that in many of the Orthodox Churches worldwide there are icons of the two saints painted together holding their warrior equipment spear, shield and sward .

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St. Demetrius (Dimitar in Bulgarian) feast day is 26 October for Eastern Orthodox Christians, which falls on 8 November for those following the old calendar. In the Roman Catholic church he is most commonly called "Demetrius of Sermium" and his memorial falls on 8 October, which seem to coincide with my Birthday 🙂

Demetrius was born to pious Christian parents in Thessaloniki, the Eastern Roman Empire region Macedonia in 270 (Macedonia has been part of the Bulgarian kingdom and Empire for many centuries).

According to the hagiographies, Demetrius was a young man of senatorial family who became proconsul of the Thessalonica district. He was run through with spears in around 306 AD in Thessaloniki, during the Christian persecutions of Galerian, which matches his depiction in the 7th century mosaics.

Most historical scholars follow the hypothesis put forward by Bollandist Hippolyte Delehaye (1859–1941), that his veneration was transferred from Sirmium when Thessaloniki replaced it as the main military base in the area in 441/442 AD. His very large church in Thessaloniki, the Hagios Demetrios, dates from the mid-5th century. Thessaloniki remained a centre of his veneration, and he is the patron saint of the city.

After the growth of his veneration as saint, the city of Thessaloniki suffered repeated attacks and sieges from the Slavic peoples who moved into the Balkans, and Demetrius was credited with many miraculous interventions to defend the city. Hence later traditions about Demetrius regard him as a soldier in the Roman army, and he came to be regarded as an important military martyr. Unsurprisingly, he was extremely popular in the Middle Ages. Disputes between Bohemond I of Antioch and Alexios I Komnenos appear to have resulted in Demetrius being appropriated as patron saint of crusading.

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Saint Demetrius Russian Icon

Demetrius was also venerated as patron of agriculture, peasants and shepherds in the Greek countryside during the Middle Ages. 

Most scholars still believe that for four centuries after his death, Demetrius had no physical relics, and in their place an unusual empty shrine called the "ciborium" was built inside Hagios Demetrios. What were purported to be his remains subsequently appeared in Thessaloniki, but the local archbishop John, who compiled the first book of the Miracles ca. 610, was publicly dismissive of their authenticity. The relics were assumed to be genuine after they started emitting a liquid and strong-scented myrrh. This gave Demeterius the epithet Myroblyte.

Saint Demetrius used to be a mayor of Thessaloniki and had been very educated for his time, the Roman empire ordered him to find and imprison, torture and eventually kill all Christians in the city who refuse to follow the paganic Roman religion. Being a brave in heart and a being a Christian himself, he refused to follow the unrighteous emperor decree and even on the contrary started to put special efforts for the raising of the Christian faith in the city. 

Despite this position in the still-pagan empire, he remained fervent in faith and works for Christ, encouraging many Christians to endure persecution and even bringing many pagans to the faith.

When Maximian returned from one of his campaigns to Thessaloniki, which he had made his capital, he had pagan games and sacrifices celebrated for his triumph. Demetrios was denounced by pagans who were envious of his success, and he was thrown into prison. While in prison he was visited by a young Christian named Nestor, who asked him for a blessing to engage in single combat with the giant Lyaios (or Lyaeus), who was posing as the champion of paganism. Demetrios gave his blessing and Nestor, against all odds. Nestor succeded to slew his opponent in the arena contrary to any expectations as Lyaios used to kill many, many christians on the circus arena, as David had once defeated Goliath. Saint Demetrius blesses Nestor but warned him he will have to endure a martyrdom after his defeat of Nestor which occured shortly after the defeath of Lyaios, Nestor was captured and martyred for Christ. Being raged out by the killing of Lyaios, the Romans send trooops and killed with spears saint Demetrius while he was praying in the prison.

According to some (Greek) hagiographic legend, as retold by Dimitry of Rostov in particular, Demetrius appeared in 1207 in the camp of tsar Kaloyan of with a lance and so killing him. This scene, known as Чудо о погибели царя Калояна ("the miracle of the destruction of tsar Kaloyan") became a popular element in the iconography of Demetrius. He is shown on horseback piercing the king with his spear, paralleling the iconography (and often shown alongside) of Saint George and the Dragon.


The reason of High veneration of Saint Demetrius in Bulgaria today ?
 

The godly life he led, together with his military virtues and martyrdom, led the people of Thessaloniki to declare him their saint-warrior and patron. According to the beliefs of the local centuries, the saint defended Thessaloniki, performing miracle after miracle, but in August 1185 something unheard of happened. The second richest and most important city in the empire after Constantinople was captured by the Normans and subjected to unprecedented looting. The Church of St. Dimitar was burned and the relics of the saint were scattered. The medieval Greek, who was inclined to seek God's intervention everywhere, was spiritually broken. The Romans saw the fall of Dimitrov as a punishment for their sinfulness. It is clear to them that St. Dimitar left them.

Meanwhile, in the north, the memories of the old Bulgarian kingdom were more than alive, and it became increasingly difficult for the Bulgarians to tolerate the Roman rule. The moment for a mass uprising was ripe. According to Nikita Honiat, there were three key events at the beginning of the uprising. The first concerned the desire of the brothers Peter and Assen (prominent Bulgarian boyars) to be included in the proniat lists of the empire and to receive a small landed estate at the foot of the Balkan Mountains. To this end, most likely in the autumn of 1185, they appeared in person before Emperor Isaac II Angel in Kipsela, just as he was preparing to march against the Normans who had conquered Thessaloniki. The refusal to comply with their demands provoked sharp resentment in the younger brother Assen, who personally threatened the emperor with rebellion. This unheard of behavior of the young boyar was punished with a slap.

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King Ivan Assen I (Tsar of Bulgaria 1187/1188–1196)

The second important event was the imposition of additional taxes on the livestock of the population on the occasion of the emperor's wedding to the Hungarian Princess Margaret. This led to the outbreak of strong and mass discontent among the population of Moesia. The two brothers knew very well what they were doing and used the mass discontent to make their threat a reality. However, the insults, material hardship and the presence of two brilliant leaders in the face of Assenevtsi were not enough for a revolt.

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Bulgarian Medieval Icon of Saint Demetrius the Myrrh-Bringer

The Bulgarians also had to receive a "divine" guarantee for their work. They believed that the Lord should show them that they were chosen and worthy of their freedom, that they not only could, but should take up arms against the Byzantine Vasilevs. And the sign was not late. On October 26, 1185, Assenevtsi, together with a large crowd, gathered in Tarnovo to consecrate the newly built church "St. Dimitar. Meanwhile, a miraculous icon of the saint appeared in the city. It was alleged that she had left Thessaloniki, conquered by the Normans, and found her home in the new temple of the Bulgarians.

The religious consciousness of the medieval Bulgarian interpreted this as a refusal of St. Dimitar to defend the Romans and a sacred guarantee that the saint will protect the Bulgarians in their cause for freedom. And indeed the old church in Thessaloniki had collapsed and plundered, the Romans were punished, the Empire was humiliated.

 

Those gathered in the church began to shout and call for the rejection of the yoke and for the restoration of the glory of the old kings. In this atmosphere of patriotic enthusiasm, the older brother, Todor (named Peter), placed a golden tiara on his head, put on a red cloak, and put on the purple shoes that only the Byzantine Vasilevs could wear. Thus, after 167 years of interruption of the throne of the Bulgarian kings, a Bulgarian ascended again. The coronation of Peter as king and the beginning of the great uprising of the Bulgarians was one of those moments in history when all accounts end and only faith gives the people the courage to take the hand outstretched by the uncertainty of the future and follow the path indicated by her, not knowing where he was taking her.

Niketa Choniates writes: “With such (divine) prophecies the whole nation was won for the cause and all raised their swords. And because their rebellion was successful from the very beginning, the Bulgarians believed even more that God had approved their freedom. "

At first, Isaac II Angel was unable to respond to the uprising, as he had to deal with the Normans and the usurper of Cyprus, Isaac I Komnenos. It was not until December 1185 that Vasilevs sent his uncle Sevastocrator John against the rebels. However, no battle took place because the Sevastocrator was recalled on suspicion of rebellion. At the head of the second army was Caesar John VI Kantakouzenos, who went to Hemus, but was defeated in a night attack by Assen-evtsi. The Bulgarians took the lives of most of the Roman army, and its commander managed to escape by abandoning the entire convoy. A third army of the great Byzantine general Alexy Branas was also sent, but it turned against the emperor and marched to Constantinople instead of Tarnovo.

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The Byzantine themes (or districts) of Bulgaria and Paristrion 

Paristrion – (Greek: Παρίστριον, lit. 'beside the Ister'), or Paradounabon/Paradounabis (αραδούναβον / Παραδούναβις), which is preferred in official documents, was a Byzantine province covering the southern bank of the Lower Danube (Moesia Inferior) in the 11th and 12th centuries.

It was not until 1186 that the emperor personally led a large army and decided to deal with the Bulgarians once and for all. His campaign forced the brothers to retreat across the Danube to their Kuman allies, and Isaac II Angel plundered Moesia and returned to Constantinople. According to the story of Nikita Honiat, the emperor was so arrogant of his success that he met with ridicule the reminder of Vasily II the Bulgarian assassin that the Bulgarians would revolt and that one day they would be liberated.

At that time, Assen's personality became more and more prominent, and he became the real leader of the rebellion. In the summer of 1186, the Assenevs crossed the Danube again, conquered the plain and set their goal to bring the endeavor to a successful conclusion. Niketa Choniates says:

"And then they returned to their homeland Moesia; finding the land abandoned by the Roman armies, they took on even greater confidence, leading their Cuman auxiliary detachments as if they were legions of demons. They did not simply want to secure their possessions and establish control over Moesia; They wanted to devastate the Roman territories and unite the political power of Moesia and Bulgaria in one empire as before. "

Isaac Angel's second campaign was not long in coming. In the autumn of 1186 he set out again against the two brothers, passing through the fortress of Beroe and heading for Serdica (today's Sofia), from where he intended to cross Hemus and attack Tarnovo. The winter of 1186, however, blocked the passages and forced the emperor to abandon his endeavor for another year. With the arrival of the spring of 1187, the Romans crossed the mountain and besieged the Lovech fortress. However, the Bulgarian troops offered unprecedented resistance and after a three-month siege Isaac II Angel had to ask for peace.

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The Church Saint Demetrius built by King Asen I in memoriam of great Miracles of Bulgarians victories over Byzantines
Church is located near the Tarnovo Fortress of Trapezica

The Church slavonic written sources tells how the brothers spread the word a patron saint of Thessaloniki – St. Demetrius, came to Tarnovo to help the Bulgarian people to be liberated…
 

Thus, most probably, the Lovech armistice was signed in front of the city walls, which de jure recognized the Bulgarian power north of the Balkans. The long road to freedom began on that distant St. Dimitrov's Day in 1185. he was finally walked away. St. Dimitar became the patron of the Asenevtsi dynasty and one of the most beloved Bulgarian saints, and the Bulgarians proved to the world that their pursuit of freedom is nothing but a great national feat, in which with a true understanding of the necessary and possible, with steady faith and unwavering energy in the design and implementation, the political and spiritual resurrection of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom was reached.


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Saint Demetrius Bulgarian icon year 1824

St. Demetrius is depicted on horseback spearing a man, not because he ever a killed a man but because he blessed Nestor to win over the Gladiator Lyaeus. The Church decided to commemory the memory and bravery of Saint Nestor who also confessed Christ in his martyrdom every on the next day after the memory of st. Demetrius is celebrated. Saint Nestor even today is celebrated in the Church calendar on 27-th of October.

In Bulgaria the veneration of saint Demetrius was of high esteem especially in the Second Bulgarian Empire and many churches and monasteries has been built around the country (counting at few hundred temples and monasteries) with him being their patron.

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Saint Demetrius Holy Relics in the St. Demetrius Church in Thessaloniki Greece (the white papers are names of people who ask for help from the saint)

Saint Demetrius is famous in Thessaloniki and highly venerated every year during his feast as he has been summoned by the Church to protect the city on multiple occasions which he did so far during pandemics such as the Black Death and during invasion of alien (non-Christian) nations.

It is mostly remarkable that every year during his feast day, a great miracle happens from the exact place where he was martyred (situated in the Church named after him), a myrrh with heavenly odor is streaming which is taken by believers for oilment and as a blessing carefully kept until the next year feast of the saint.
Because of the high amount of myrrh outflow a special pool was kept to keep the oilment sparring out of his holy relics.

As Saint Demetrius has helped multiple times to many of their saints as we know from history, especially in times of epidemies and pandemies like it is now let by his holy prayers those who venerate him and the people worldwide finds Healing and relief and an Enlightment and blessing from the light of Christ, just like Nestor found in his blessing !

Holy Martyr Demetrius of Thessaloniki pray the Lord for us the sinners !!!

Saint protector of the Family and The receipt of Saint Petka Tarnovska by King Asen II story

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

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In these hazy and confused times where the family as institution is failing and it is becoming more and more modern for people to live together without official Civil marriages count are steadily declining not to mention that the Church marriages no matter whether it is a Protestant, Roman Catholic is very rare thing. The attack against families is multi-vector one, it is descredited and being pranked on the TV in movies and serials, in the press. Many of the bad sides of marriage are exposed as well as the incapabilities of any traditional marriage to respond to the modern challenges of the world and hence many choose to not marry. But originally God created man to live in a family Adam and Eve were the first marital couple (even though they did not officially binded it on paper) in the municipality or the Church. Of course there situation was slightly different than today as they were the only couple in the beginning when God created man one would say. But even after that through the Ages Marriage and fidelity that stems out of it has been considered normal. However today normality is being pranked and abnormality is being enforced from all sides. 
As the topic of family does directly concern me as I have a family I thought therefore it is useful to mention again today about the feast of Saint Petka Epivatska (Epivates) famous as Saint Petka of Tarnovo who is considered in our Eastern Orthodox Christian countries as a protectress of family.

The reason why we venerate saint Petka here in Bulgaria is because here holy relics has stayed in Tarnovo for almost 2 Centuries and being in Bulgaria, they have worked many miracles, many of which were done over a family husbands and wifes who had their usual trials, like infertility, problems in family, quarrels etc.
For being famous for that miracles she has been invoked for centuries worldwide by believing Christians for help on their family trials.

Below is shortly the history of how St. Petka Epivatska, holy relics were transferred to Tarnovo and the multiple transfers of her relics until she finally choose to reside in Iash Romania.
 

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The reception of Holy Relics of Saint Petka Paraskeva in medieval Capital of Bulgaia Tarnovo

In 1230 King Ivan Asen II the most powerful South-eastern European ruler demanded from the the Knights of the Crusaders to submit him her holy relics who are found still in Tracian city Kaliakratea ruled at that time by the Holy Latin Empire. King Ivan Asen II together with the patriach Joachim the first receives her holy relics with honor and settles her incorruptabilities into the newly creates Church in honour of herself St. Petka behind Tsarevets FortressSaint Petka became from that point considered as a protectress of the city, the throne and the country.
Her holy relics arrived from Kallikrateia in Tarnovo, the Capital of Second Bulgarian Empire in year 1230 AD, she has been thus called Paraskeva of Tarnovo and has been venerated as a protectress of the Tarnovo city the Bulgarian nation and the country. The attitude towards Saint Petka Tarnovska as a protectress of Bulgarian nation and contry is been clearly seen by the mention in the Bulgarian and International acts (documents) and manuscripts of that XII – XII century.

To learn more about Saint Petka  Parskeva Epivates of Thrakia feast day today 14 of October check my previous article here.

Let by the Holy Prayers of Saint Petka the Families be granted grace to endure the hardships of life! Saint Petka pray Christ for us!

Saint Georgi of Sofia “the Newest” Bulgarian Confessor Christian saint martyred 1534 AD during reign of Turkish Sultan Selim in Medieval Serdika (Sofia)

Tuesday, June 1st, 2021

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Troparion, voice 4
With a soul wounded by the love of your God, the wise George the Glorious, he preached to the ungodly, Christ God, trampled with his feeth, the Turkish heresy; and when he adorned himself with the crown of martyrdom, you ascended to the heavenly multitudes: ask Christ God to preserve your homeland, this city (Sofia) and the people who always worship your deeds.

On 26-th of May the Bulgarian Orthodox Church celebrates the memory of one of the great Bulgarian Martyr saints Saint Georgi the Newest.
С~тый Геԝ̀ргїй Софїѝскїй Новѣ̀йшїй) St. Georgi (The Bulgarian equivalent name of George) is one of the 3 saints holding the name Georgi which has confessed Christianity refused to accept islam and accepted Martyrdom for Christ in period of 1396 till year 1530 and one of the 9 famous Sofia city saints. Saint Georgi of Sofia the Newest was named after the highly venerated in Bulgarian just like in whole Christian world saint George.

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St. Georgi was born in the city of Medieval Sofia (Sredetz), fortress of Serdika today’s Sofia in a family of Ivan and Maria – a wealthy and society recognized family of that time. He has born after a fervent and lengthly prayers of his parents who couldn’t have children for a long time and has been given a kid by the prayers of Saint Great Martyr George
It is important to say Georgi (the newest) celebrated on 26-th of May is a different saint from St. Georgi called “the new” whose memory in the Church is commemorated on 11-th of February.

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Miracle making icon of saint Georgi Sofiyski (currently in the Church in yard of Alexandrovska Hospital Sofia)

The young Georgi quickly learned to write and read, a skills that only the most educated people usually coming from noble families could do. His favourite activity
in his free time when he was not in help of his parents was reading the Holy Scriptures.
He was grown by his parents in Christian goodness and fervency for the Christian faith.

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Aged 25 he orphaned as his beloved father passed away to Christ. Georgi posessesed an extraordinary beauty, sharp mind and virtues, seeing the young man in his grief the local Turkish authorities tried as they usually do to attract the youngster to the islamic faith to make their way to interact with Georgi and do their business easier and most importantly have Georgi in their auhotirities congregation consisting only of people belonging to the islam as it was up to the Ottoman Turkish consistution law of the day.

To attract Georgi, turks first tried with hypocritical kindness and a care for the young to help him raise in the power of authorities of the city, not succeeding with that they have, they have forcefully wrapper the Muslim turban on his head and proclaimed him officially Muslim. Feeling offended by the ungodly deed of this enemies of Christ, immediately the saint throw the imposed turban on the ground and trampled on it.
The enraged muslim crowd seing his public offence for the prophet Muhammed handed him over to the Qadi in the court.

Neither the seductive promises of high office nor the cruel tortures could break the unshakable firmness of his Christian faith. The judge ordered that his body be cut into strips from head to toe and that the wounds received be scorched with dirty candles, which made the martyr’s body so hot that his face could not be seen. But all efforts were in vain.

The final verdict of the judge followed – Georgi to be hanged on the main barn in the city of Sofia, where there was a furnace for melting iron and copper ore. The execution command also stated that his body should remain on the gallows for three days in order to begin to decay, so that the faith of the Christians in the incorruptible relics of the saints and in the resurrection of the dead to be refuted and hence disgrace christianity. However, exhausted from his suffering mrtr. Georgi died at the hands of the executioners before they managed to hang him. To fulfill the command turks, anyhow hung him on a rope to show the sentence has been successfully carried out.

For three days the body hung on the gallows without any sign of decomposition, and on the contrary, an unusual fragrance of the holy relics of the martyr wafted through the barn. His mother sat under the gallows and grieving his beloved son hugged her son’s legs, staying next three three days to her son. The hanging took place on May 26, 1530 (according to other document sources in 1534). Thus on 26th of may the Church set a service in memoriam.

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5-th Century Church of Rotonda St. George Centre of Sofia

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Saint Georgi Sofiyski / Saint George of Sofia the Newest grave near Rotonda Church Saint George in City Center of Sofia, Bulgari

After the expiration of the sentence, the kadi handed over the body of the martyr to be buried in a Christian way, and the burial was solemnly performed by the then Metropolitan of Sofia Jeremiah in the church “St. the great martyr George the Victorious ”. Now these relics are in obscurity. The mother of the martyr died on the 40th day of George’s death and was buried at her son’s feet.

These events took place during the reign of Sultan Suleiman I Kanuni (the Legislator) also known as Suleiman the Magnificent. This “Golden Age” for the Ottoman Empire was a time of unheard of atrocities against Christians in the territory of the empire and very difficult times for the Bulgarian people. The reign of Suleiman I and his father Selim I was a time of obscurantism and severe persecution of the Christian population, a time during which many Christian new martyrs on Balkans had the courage to defend their faith.

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The capture, trial and torture of St. George of Sofia The latest took place near the then Sofia. Today the place is located in the yard of the famous Alexandrovska Hospital which was a King’s hospital during the times of Kingdom of Bulgaria after liberation took place from the Turks in 1878 y.. The exact location where martyrdom occured is between street St. Georgi Sofiyski ”and“ Pencho Slaveykov ”Blvd.

There was a large stone cross with an inscription on the site, which a few years after 1944, due to the risk of being destroyed, was collected by Sofia priests and is still preserved in the altar of the church “St. Georgi Pobedonosets ”on Blvd. Partriarch Euthymius”. Until the 1940s, a liturgical procession was held from the place of death of the saint to the Rotunda on May 26.
Nowadays happily, the old Lithia tradition is being renewed and a small Lithia is conducted by Bulgarian Orthodox Christian clergy and layman.

In the garden next to the building of the Second Surgical Clinic there was a stone cross, which indicated the place and history of the martyrdom of the saint, and today a temple was built in honor of the saint.

Church-of-saint-Georgi-Sofijski-in-Alexandrovska-hospital-Sofia-Bulgaria-the-place-of-martyrdom-of-saint-Georgi-Sofijski
source: Lives of the Saints. Synodal Publishing House, Sofia, 1991, edited by Parthenius, Bishop of Lefkada and Archimandrite Dr. Athanasius (Bonchev).

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HOLY MARTYR GEORGE OF SOFIA THE NEWEST, PRAY GOD FOR US!

17th of May Saint Martyr Nikolay Sofiiski (Nikolas of Sofia) – Bulgarian Martyr Confessor saint from the XV century

Friday, May 21st, 2021

Saint Confessor Nikolay Sofijski (Nikolay of Sofia) Short Biography

 

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St. Nikolay (Nicolas) of Sofia has been born in Ioannina (city now in territory of Greece). He was a pious and with his honorable craft of shoemaking going through the stormy sea of life. When he arrived in Sofia (Serdica / Sredetz), one of the main cities of the Ottoman Empire of that time, a long remain of the glorious past when even the righteous emperor Constantine The great was considering to set as a capital of the Eastern empire either Constantinople today's Istanbul in Turkey or Sofia (Fortress of Serdika).

When Nikolay came to Sofia, he was immediately recognized by the Turkish authorities and rich people of the city  and to have him part of their "nobel" turkish society and enrich the city ruleship, the Turkish tried to push Nikolay to accept Islam. 
Once a time Turkish invited Nikolay, put a somniferous herb in his offered drink and once he fall asleep without his knowledge they have circumcised him according to Islamic tradition observance. 
Once awaken Nikolay realised what has been done to him and fall in a deep regret and mourned over the abuse of his body which according the Christian faith is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Once he started appearing on the streets of Sofia, Turkish immediately invited him to attend the mosque considering him already a muslim due to the circumcision ritual commited on him. 
He firmly rejected the offer publicly, considering himself a Christian as he never publicly resigned his Christian faith and never ever wanted to be muslim and never ever has attended another temple apart from the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church he belonged to.
Facing the rejection, the powerful of the day turks cannot believe their eyes as they already thought Nikolay accepted the fact he is already a muslim, not understanding that for a Christian the temporary flesh is nothing but a temporary hut and the Spiritual and Eternal Soul and The Spirit of God which enlightens it as well as the Eternal Kingdom of Heaven is everything. The turks thouhgt over it fleshly, thinking that having a sign of circumcision already puts a person belonging to his faith, not knowing that the the first desciples of Christ, the most holy apostles as belonging to the Jewish faith had their circumcision themselves, and this circumcision never ever hindered their faith in the Resurrected Messiah Jesus Christ.

Immediately facing the rejecting the Turks, arrested him as a traitor of their faith and put him into a harsh torments.

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Combined icon with the living of saint Nikolay of Sofia

Putting him on trial In the local court, the judge announced his opinion that Nikolay doesn't hold a fault, neither against Islam neither against the claimants.
Nevertheless the crowd put Nikolay outside of Sofia (in a similar way the Jews resurrected Christ outside of the city of Jerusalem) in Sofia's near region called "Yuch Bunar", translated from Turkish as the  ("The Tree Wells"), there they stoned to death on 17th of May year 1555 A.D., (the stoning a transgressor of the Islamic law, tradition is still followed by some countries even today, for example I heard similar cases do happen still in Saudi Arabia for sinners against islamic law).

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Saint Nikolay icon in his traditional Bulgarian clothes wear (Nosia)
holding his shoemaking instrument

His holy body has been moved to the graveyear called (Търница) Térnitza and has been burned – and the dust has been scattered through the four directions of the world North, East, South, West following islamic tradition and in attempt to completely irradicate the memory of the saint in the relatives and the living Christians of that time.  Even though due to the request of Matey Gramatik (Mathew the Gramatik – translated as Chronicler / Annalist), a boy managed to collect little burned part remains of the relics and a pious christian, secretly made a burial prayer for his Soul (Опело – called Opelo in the Slavonic Eastern Orthodox Church) according to the Christian tradition and buried him with honor.

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Soon after the martyrdom of saint Nikolay the New, the Metropolitan of Sredetz Iakov (Jacob), announced the canonization of st. Nikolay on a specially summoned for the consideration of saintship of St. Nikolay, a Local Church Metropolitan Council. Jacob received parts from holy relics (parts of the skull and the bones) of st. Nikolay, that has been secretly kept by a faithful Christians till then and placed the new received saint relics and placed them together in the ark (coffin) with the incorruptable holy relics of Saint King Stephan Milutin at that time located in Church of St. Archangel Michaelsee my previous article pilgrimage to the incorruptable Holy relics of Saint Stephan Milutin in Cathedral Saint Nedelya, Sofia Bulgaria. Later parts of the holy relics has been housed in in a Wood maden Church.

 

The grave of saint Nikolay of Sofia is one of the few known graves of Bulgarian saints. Today, it is situated in the city center of Sofia capital city of Bulgaria in the district "Три кладенци" / "The Three Wells". Three hundred meters from there (in the tiny park like garden between the streets of "Pirotska" and "Opalchenska") lays a Beatiful Majestic Church, dedicated to the Holy Martyr st. Nikolay Sofijski. The Church of Saint Nicolas of Sofia is one of the biggest Cathedral Churches in Bulgaria (it is second by size in city of Sofia). The Temple has been rised following a project of architecture created by Anton Tornyov after the Liberation of Bulgarian following the Russian/Bulgarian-Turkish war on 3-rd of December 1900. Church saint Nikolay Sofijski has been consecrated by Metropolitan Partenij (Parthenius of Sofia was a senior Bulgarian clergyman and church figure, Metropolitan of Sofia from 1892 to 1918. Metropolitan Parthenius is an exceptional clergyman who has left a lasting mark in the history of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.).

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Church of Saint Nikolay of Sofia in Sofia Bulgaria (corner of street "Opalchenska" and "Pirotska").


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Church Nikolay Sofijski view to Iconostasis Church interior

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Church dome paintings of St. Nikolay Sofijski

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Iconostasis of the Church (notice the beatiful flower forms curved wood)

In the beginning of XXth century in 1870s on the exact place of the grave of the saint has been built a small chapel in his memoriam. It is situated in a small yard on today's Street of "Tzar Simeon / King Simeon" it is opened for pilgrim visitors everyday in the early afternoon every working day. 
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The Chapel entrance door 

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A Heavenly beauty roman like chapel

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The Chapel on the grave of Saint Nikolas of Sofia, built on the place called "Terniza" (Tzar Simeon Street), where on 17-th of May, year 1555 A.D. where remains of the saint has been burned by turks – photo by Martin Mitov (C) 

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The Grave of Saint Nikolay of Sofia (View to Alter dedicated to the matryr saint)


The holy relics of Saint Nikolay the new are now preserved in his Church  and are brought for veneration by believers and pilgrims on each 16 and 17 of May and sometimes in a Church feasts of a higher importance.

Each 17-th of May in Sofia it is a tradition for clirics (clergy) to gather together with pilgrims and layman for a Lithia with the holy relics of saint Nikolay from the Church to the chapel, and for the following two days 18, 19th of May his holy relics are publicly displayed for veneration.

Sofia's mediaval historian and clergyman deacon Matey Gramatik (upmentioned), was a comtemporary of the saint and eyewitness of his martyrdom and death, soon after wrote his Church service and Biography (Saint Living). Today the original manuscript is preserved in the the Library of the church "St. Martyr Nikolai Novi Sofiyski" in Sofia.

Let by the holy prayers of Saint Nikolay Sofijski our homeland Bulgaria is given peace prosperity in The Hope, Faith and Love and every Good and firmness in the True faith given by Christ the Holy Eastern Orthodox faith. Let by his Holy prayers God gives peace and love to everyone in the world and grant, repentance for us the lost and spiritually poor and "fatherless" children of the 21st century.

The Great Canon of of Saint Andrew of Crete important repentance landmark in the Great Lent Church time

Monday, April 19th, 2021


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The Great Canon and Great example of Repentance

Every year the Great Lent, in the Orhodox Church an important part of the Fasting time and Church faithful meeting for the Services is the reading of the so called "Great Canon" .
Canon of Repentance  was composed in the distant seventh century by a notable saint in the Church saint Andrew of Crete (Greek: Ἀνδρέας Κρήτης, c. 650 – July 4, 712 or 726 or 740), also known as Andrew of Jerusalem.
He was an 8th-century bishop, theologian, homilist, and hymnographer. He is highly venerated in our One Holy Eastern Orthodox and considered in saint in the Catholic Church as well.

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His life's most important work The Great Canon prayed in singing form during every Great Lent period in the Church since then and is example for Christians for how a repentance's set stone should be set and which are the main positive and negative personages we know from the holy bible scriptures.  The Great Canon is known well and sung often by dedicated Christians even in their home in or outside of the great lent period.
The canon expresses the overall understanding of the Church through times for good and bad examples of how a man should live, if he wants to have a good life in Christ and what he should abstain and not do if he wants to accept in deed and "utilize" so to say the Salvation given by Christ on the Cross.

The Great Canon was composed by saint Adnrew in the Seventh Century ! And preserved its preserved its form and content up to this very day. 
It is  lenghtly one as it is a Church services that lasts sometimes from 1 hour 50 minutes hour or even up to 2 hours 50 hours if performed with a  Bishop or a Metropolitan. The Saint Andrews Canon is red every day in the First week during first of Great Lent divided by IV parts on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.

Great Canon Content

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Great Canon text consists of four parts, each divided into nine odes like any other regular church canon.
There are slight differences between the odes of the two compositions. In the Great Canon, there is a greater number of troparia (songs sung in honour of a Biblical major event, a saint veneration song or other song with content to glorify the miracles of Christ).
A common remembering part of the Canon heard is the begging "Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,
At the refrain "Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me," a full prostration (a bow to the ground). is performed Also, some of the odes have additional refrains and troparia to the author of the canon, St. Andrew of Crete, and Saint Mary of Egypt who spend 47 years hermit life in the desert and is one of the greatest models of repentance in Christian history.

A basic distinguishing feature of the Great Canon is its extremely broad use of images and subjects taken both from the Old and New Testaments. As the Canon progresses, the congregation encounters many biblical examples of sin and repentance. The Bible (and therefore, the Canon) speaks of some individuals in history in a positive light, and about others in a negative one—the penitents are expected to emulate the positive examples of sanctity and repentance, and to learn from and avoid the negative examples of sin, fallen nature and pride. However, one of the most notable aspects of the Canon is that it attempts to potray the Biblical images in a very personal way to every penitent: the Canon is written in such form that the faithful identify themselves with many people and events found in the Bible.
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The earliest manuscript we know of attesting to the Great Canon (with a slightly different order of troparia and a shorter composition) is the Studite Triodion of the middle of the second half of the ninth century, stored in the library of the Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg.
This manuscript has the Canon in hits original place in the services of Great Lent – at Matins of Thursday in the fifth week (when the life of St. Mary of Egypt is read). 
Only later does it also appear at Compline of the first four days of the first week.

The Canon is a soul-piercing, heartfelt lament of the righteous for his sins. The very beginning: “Where shall I begin to weep for the action of my wretched life? What first-fruit shall I offer, O Christ, in this my lamentation? (Ode 1)—attunes the soul for mourning and repentance, for the “wounding of the heart.”

The author of the Canon laments not only for himself, but for all mankind that has sinned. He recalls every transgression, every fall, from Adam to the New Testament. The majority of the Canon—eight odes—consists of Old Testament examples. St. Andrew doesn’t just recall the sins of the forefathers, but he experiences them as his own: “I have rivaled in transgression Adam the first-formed man, and I have found myself stripped naked of God” (Ode 1).

The transgressions of the forefathers become prototypes of the passions that torment a man: “Instead of the visible Eve, I have the Eve of the mind: the passionate thought in my flesh” (Ode 1). Or another example: “To whom shall I liken thee, O soul of many sins? Alas! To Cain and to Lamech. For thou hast stoned thy body to death with thine evil deeds, and killed thy mind with thy disordered longings (Ode 2: “See now, see”). Here St. Andrew follows St. Maximus the Confessor, for whom Cain is “the acquisition, the law of the flesh,” rising up against Abel, that is, the mind, according to the symbolic interpretation, and killing him. This is what St. Maximus writes: “Had Abel kept guard over himself and had he not gone out with Cain into the field, that is, into the plain of natural contemplation, before attaining dispassion, then Cain, who is and is called the law of the flesh would not have risen up and killed him” (Ad Thalassium 49).

If in the Canon St. Andrew recalls examples of Old Testament and New Testament righteousness, then it is first of all in order to reproach his soul for sloth and for sinfulness and to call it to imitation, for example: “O miserable and wicked soul, imitate the righteous and pure mind of Joseph; and do not live in wantonness, sinfully indulging thy disordered desires” (Ode 5).

The Canon is a broad historical panorama outlining the history of human sin and human righteousness, of the rejection and acceptance of God. The contents of the Canon are deeply Christ-centered, with heartfelt appeals to Christ in every ode, for example: “May the Blood from Thy side be to me a cleansing fount, and may the water that flows with it be a drink of forgiveness. May I be purified by both, O Word, anointed and refreshed, having as chrism and drink Thy words of life” (Ode 4). The only way of purification for St. Andrew is in Christ, through sobriety, feat (podvig), and all time giving and living all for God.

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The Great Canon of St. Andrew is, undoubtedly, based on a robust Patristic foundation, with quotes from St. Meletius of Sardis, St. Ephraim of Syria, St. Gregory the Theologian, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Maximus the Confessor. And the merit of St. Andrew of Crete is that he was able to synthesize their experience and imprint it into the Canon.

What is given to us in the Canon of Repentance of St. Andrew of Crete is the Biblical, ecclesiastical, truly universal experience of repentance, of the stinging of the heart, of the excruciating removal of the old, dead man and the putting on of the New Adam, in Christ Jesus, our Lord, to Whom glory is unto the ages of ages.

Saint Martyr Antepas of Pergamum mentioned in the Book of Revelation of saint John the Apostle – 4th Sunday of Great Lent saint John the Climacus

Sunday, April 11th, 2021

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Saint Antepas of Pergamum

Saint Martyr Antepas commemoration in the One Holy Eastern Orthodox Church is on 11 of April. The veneration of this saint in the past centuries was great in both the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Western Church (The Roman Catholic Church), especially before the great schism in 1054. Saint Antepas was well known among people in the medieval times for being a saint invoked in troubles with a toothache and all kind of teech diseases which were a true plague in the prior ages as people did not have much knowledge on how to heal or recover teeths and usually in case when someone got a tooth ache the ultimate solution to remove the teeth. 

His Vitae (Living) is mostly interesting as he is a saint according to Orthodox Church tradition that was one of the spiritual titans in the first century, where the church was mainly troubled by persecusion by the jews who refused Christ as Messiah, by the pagan crowds and starting from second part of I-st century officially persecuted by the Roman Empire authorities. In this bloody century for the Church where martyrs lay down the foundation of the Church many saints become a victims of jewish fanatism and pagans atrocities. Saint Antepas is one of those saints who at that time was a bishop of the Church of Pergamum mentioned in the Prophetic boof The Book of Reveletaion (the last book) of the Holy Bible book cannon that is included in every (protestant, anglican, orthodox, catholic Holy Bible). Saint John the Apostle the author of Book Revalation has been exiled on mount Paphos (today Cyprus) at time of Martyrdom of Saint Antepas. St. John the Apostle while being in the cave exiled, received in a vision by Christ the revelation of the furute things to come before the end of the world and antichrists false messiah appearance. Before his revelation it is not known whether saint John knew physically his brethren in Christ antipas but this hypothesis is little likely as appearance the book of Revelation has been revealed to John in a single vision by The son of God Jesus Christ where in mystical vision in which the merits and the deficiency of the Church has been presented of the 7 Churches of Asia Minor present at the first century in the world. The Church of Pergamum was one of the Seven Churches of which the Revelation speaks which surrounded by all kind of uncleanness, idolatry and satanic deeds of the Pergamum people and this diseases partially started even plaguing members of the Church who with time had fallen away from faith due to their sinful deeds and undesire for repentance. The book of Revelation mentions the martyrdom of Antepas as a truthful witness of Christ who steadily kept the faith in the Risen Christ enduring martyrdom. "I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.". Book of Revelations 2:13.
The spiritual State of the Church of Pergamum is described as follows,

"I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth." Rev. 2:13

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Saint Antepas was a missionary bishop who lived in time of Roman Emperor Domition II-nd, By the Revelations book we found out that in the 1st century the Pergamum Church Bishop has been a pious saintly man firm in his faith. The Church tradition's memory give us a little more details on the Martyrdom of Antepas. 

According to tradition and history. The citizens of Pergamum (Pergam) were fanatic admirers of their pagan idols and spend their life in all kind of wickedness. Those who observed their lives got the impression that among them really lives satan himself. Among such uncleanness Antepas has been a true headlight in the dark night or like a rose among prickles, showing path to salvation through the three Christian main viritues of Faith, Pope and Love. Even though Antepas witnessed people ungodliness, he did not embarass from the malice of pagans, but on the contrary good heartedly and with a diligence performed his Christian obligations of a shepherd and preacher, revealing deceptions of idolatries and advised them to turn better for their good to the Truthful one God the creator and Ruler of Universe who has send his Only Begotten son to Cross on Golgotha to suffer for the sins of man and return the fallen man to the Holy Trinity God the Father the Son and the Holy spirit and by his suffering showing us the narrow but straight way to heaven of the Suffering by accepting one's personal Cross uniting and nailing it to Christ's cross by handing over all one's life to Christ.

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St. Antepas preaching turned quickly many of the pagns to Christ's Church. The pagans lost many of their faithful admirers, worshippers of the idols decreased highly and the toll for the idols as well (monetary funds for the shamans) in Pagan temple decreases. Antipas was blamed for his missionary work and revealing the truth to the blind by envious and hard-hearted, greedy idolatries.

In the same time Domitian being loyal to the Roman gods also proclaimed a persecution announcing christians as enemies of the empire. Attaining bravery by that the pagan priests catched Antepas and brought him before the city ruler, blaming him that he become a reason for the gods to become angry and as a reason for the so-called idols (thought to be gods) to stop caring about Pergamon in which they no longer received the high honor for their service to the idols.

– Is that true? asked the ruler of Pergamon – that you have been not giving veneration to the gods, and you teach the others to despire the gods and not give them honour? 
This is why our city is suffering because the gods has been offended and no longer have mercy and take care about this place and our well being.
Leave out Christianity repent and give obbey our law. If you do not give honor to the idols and continue to despise the gods, we will torture you according to roman law.

Antipas replied:

– I AM CHRISTIAN ! And the unwise king's orded i cannot perform and to the false gods i will not obey.
To give you a concreate and clear answer I tell you, the so called gods are not gods and they have no power to protect the city.
Leave your delusions, repent for the wickedness and believe in Christ, who embodied from Heaven to save all humans.
He is the only true God and he is about to come again in the end of ages to Judge everyone according to their deeds – everyone will either receive a gift or punishment.

 

– What is that new teaching shouted enraged the city ruler. You do obey to some new invented by your own law and reject the ancient worships, given us by the fathers. Leave the new faith and stop venerating for God a man who was crucified shamefully as a villain in times of Pilates.
Obey the king order and live in peacefully. We'll help you everything, we'll love you as our sons, because your advanced age requires it – that we all love you and venerate you as a father.

Antepas replied:
– Nomatter what you tell me – I am not that reckless (foolish) for being lived until the old age and being near end of my earthly days, to leave the true faith and to retreat to the salvational faith. You will not deceive my mind because it is enlightened by the wisdom of the Divine books. If you do not repent and do not stop worshipping your idols and you do not believe in the True God you will perish (both physically and spiritually).

Maddened by raged, the pagans crow did not wanted to hear any more the words of the pious elder – bishop. They captured him and drag him to the pagan temple. There was an idol: a big bull, forged by copper. Heating him up till it become red and they throw in the Bishop Antipas. He did not feared but with joy made the Sigh of the Cross and reverently cry out in prayer:

– Oh God,m who have revealed the secret mystery of our our Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for all the good deeds to me in my life. Thank you, you have granted me in that hour to be written in the list of the martyrs for your teaching. Receive my departering from temporary life my soul and engift it with your Grace.

Enduring peacefully and with firmness the terrible torturs, saint Antepas prayed for his enemies and for the whole world. Gradually his bodily powers weakened and he quitly passed to Christ. 
Christians with great honor and according to Church tradition buried the body of the saint martyr. 
His Holy relics were saved and God has engifted them with the healing power. 

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Fourth Sunday of The Great Lent Sunday of Saint John the Climacus.
Saint John Lestvichnik and his Book a Spiritual Ladder to Heaven (Lestvica)

 

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Fourth Sunday of the Great Lent – Saint John Lestvichnik / John the Climacus and his Ladder to Heaven

This year the second year of the "Coronavirus pandemy" 2021 the 4th Sunday of the Great Lent which every year commemorates the glorious Holy father and "a commander" of the Monks Saint John the Climacus / Saint John The Sinaites / John the Scholastic that lived in the 6th-7th century. He is mostly known in Bulgaria / Russia and the Slavonic Churches as Saint John Lestvichnik.  Saint John was ascetic monk on the mount of Sinai born circa 579 and passed away to Christ year. 649 A.D. He is revered a saint in both Eastern Orthodox Church as well as the Roman Catholic Church and the rest of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, though he is lesser known in the in the Western world .e.g in Roman Catholic Church. Saint John eagered for a higher spiritual life and thus has spend 20 years in the desert in hermitage, studying and practicing the writtings of the holy fathers to advance his spiritual life and attain spiritual perfection by overcoming all the main passions that are a stopper for a man to become fully spiritually enlightened and reach "in the flesh" the kingdom of heaven and become a victor against the evil passions.  

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A lot can be said about saint John Lestvichnik and his world famous book Lestvica (Ladder ) Κλῖμαξ known in Latin world as Scala Paradisi a ladder of divince ascent.

In Lestvica the later chosen Abbot of Raitha Monastery st. John Lesvichnik describes to brethren monks on how to overcome different temptations and the attached moving passions and is well known in his life time for being a light beam for good truthtful spiritual lifesaint John Lestvichnik. Even Pope Gregory the Great wrote to him recommend himself to his prayers, and sent him a sum of money for the hospital of Sinai, in which the pilgrims were wont to lodge.

In the Book Ladder that should be tabletop book for all Christians,we hear of the ascetic practice of carrying a small notebook to record the thoughts of the monk during contemplation. Some parts of the books sounds scary and completely strange for the modern readers as we're all sunken in comfort and excessness of things.
Κλῖμαξ is mostly known in the Eastern Orthodox Church and highly estimated by anyone who actiively practices orthodoxy for being the best guide for a person to check his current spiritual life.

 

The Ladder describes how to raise one's soul and body to God through the acquisition of ascetic virtues. Climacus uses the analogy of Jacob's Ladder as the framework for his spiritual teaching. Each chapter is referred to as a "step", and deals with a separate spiritual subject. There are thirty Steps of the ladder, which correspond to the age of Jesus at his baptism and the beginning of his earthly ministry. Within the general framework of a 'ladder', Climacus book falls into three sections. The first seven Steps concern general virtues necessary for the ascetic life, while the next nineteen (Steps 8–26) give instruction on overcoming vices and building their corresponding virtues. The final four Steps concern the higher virtues toward which the ascetic life aims. The final rung of the ladder – beyond prayer (προσευχή), stillness (ἡσυχία), and even dispassion (ἀπάθεια) – is love (ἀγάπη).

Let by the prayers of Saint Antepas, Saint John Lesvichnik and Saint John The Apostle, the All Merciful God to have mercy on our Souls and veliver us from temptations and all evils in present and coming and grant peace and relief to all suffering for the truth and enlighten man to turn back in repentance to Christ !
Amen

6 of April Short Living and Death of Saint Methodius a brother of Constantin Cyril – Christian Enlighteners of the Bulgarian and Slavonic Lands

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

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Saint Methodius was the bigger child of the two brothers enlighteners of Bulgarian Lands and the Slavonic nations Saint Cyril (known as The Philosopher) and Saint Methodius born in Thessaloniki
a region of the Byzantine empire. Thessaloniki and its regions according to manuscripts has been mostly inhabited by Slavs at IX century.

In his young age he has chosen to be a Byzantine army man. For 10 years he has been assigned to govern a region of Slavonic lands part of Byzantine Eastern Empire. 
Even though he had been a successful in his worldly career and has been taking a respectful service for the Byzantine Emperor he felt the calling of God, gave up his high position in
aristocracy and entered one of the many monasteries of the empire in mount of Olympus Asia Minor region. Soon after to the same monastery came his younger brother Constantine
Since that moment the two brothers never departed until death of Cyril who died in Rome. And even in his death has been highly venerated by the Pope and considered saint even in
time of his burial at the famous Basillica Church San Clemente where they reside for veneration by Slavs even to this day.

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The receiving of Saint Cyril and Methodius in Rome with the Relics of Saint Clement 4th Pope of Rome

The two God chosen man also achieved a glorious deed which was not achieved by anyone before. The creation of the Glagolic Alphabet which become the foundation of the Cyrillic alphabet
currently used of about 300 000 000 people worldwide including by us Bulgarians. The new language was developed to be able to share the high truths of Christ the Gospel and his Church services and books  and 
most impotantly the eternal salvation prepared by God The Holy Trinity The Father the Son and the Holy Spirit for all those who love him and servce him.

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The Holy relics of Saint Cyril in San Clemente Crypt

As knowing the truth about Heaven and Hell and the Heavenly
kingdom they were highly conserned for the high see of Slavs in the Empire who still have been in darkness of idolatry and paganism. Inspired by God they soon creating an Alphabet in which  translated the whole Holy Bible (The Gospel of Christ the Epistle books and Old Testament book  and Church service books translating the Eastern Orthodox Holy Liturgy of Saint John The Crysostom and Saint John The Basil.
in language understandable for the Slavs. The glagolic alphabet has been soon translated to the Cyrillic Alphabet by the 7 pupils of Saint Cyril and Methodius and has been spread in Bulgarian lands first then in Serbia, Kiev
and rest of Slavonic nations.

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In Great Moravia a region today situated in Chech Republic the two saint brothers teached and baptized the local Slavs , teaching them the Eternal heavenly truths of the Gospel.
The German clergy envied the two apostle equal mans mission great success and tried to rebaptize and teach the already baptized according to a Roman Rite and spread their own influence pushed by a lust for power.
Hence Methodius (also called by Western histographs Method) has been chased away from Moravia by the German clergy to the nearby Pannonia, where king Kocel  who appreciated St. Methodius great deeds for his people and
not understanding why the German-clergy is chasing such a saintly man has moved him to Rome to Pope Adrian II-nd with an enquiry to ordain him a Bishop. The Pope ordained him almost immediately and accepted St. Methodius
and St Cyrilus with all his clergy in honour, because the 2 saints were bringing a highly esteemed gift the Holy Relics who were attained by them earlier in their Baptizmal Mission to The Hazars (an assignment given to them by the Eastern Byzantine Emperor
and successfully achieved).
During their travel in Herzon the two saints has found the Holy Relics of Saint Clement Ist the 4th Pope of Rome who has been exiled and passed away to Christ as a martyr in Herzon (Today's Crimea) in the distant 2nd century.
After his consecration in Rome saint  Metho has been raised from a simple Gospel preacher to the high clergy rank of Archibishop for Pannonia and Moravia, a region who has been under the rule of the Bishop of Rome.

The fight against the clean life of the saint continued with full power even after his raise to the throne of archibishopship. The envious pseudo spiritual missioners sent by the Pope hungering not for Christ but for earthly power slandered
frequently against Method. to the local prince. because Methodius was publicly rebuke their unclean life being filled with the power of Christ spirit who detests all uncleanness in man. At other times suggested to the pope that Methodius is
against the Western Church and eagers to cut Moravia and Pannonia from the diocese of Rome and give it to the Byzantines. In parallel the German "clergy" was frequetnly sending letters slandering against Methodius accusing him in inobedience to the Eastern Christian Emperor
and the The Great Church of Byzantium the homechurch of st. Cyril and Method. and to whom they were obedient still …
Methodius being already in advanced age had to go everywhere by person and rebuke and testify about himself that all this is a far away from truth. His enemies succeeded eventually and for 2 years and a half he has been thrown in prison without the knowledge of the pope.
Finding out about this ungodly deed of his inobedient power-lust german clergy Pope John VIII issued a special order bulla for the immediate liberation of his archibishop.

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Icon of Saint Cyril and Methodius painting from 1848 y.

Even in this hardships saint Methodius never stopped to preach the Gospel to the Slavs and spread the Good news of Jesus Christ The Son of God enbodiment, life, Crucifix for the sins of all mankind anf Glorious Resurrection through which all those who believe are saved if they persist in the good deeds of Christ and stick to the trutfullness  of the Church of Christ which at the time of St. Cyrilus was before the Great Schism in year 1054, when the Roman Catholics has fallen away from the One Church who kept and preserved the head of the Church Jesus Christ teaching the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church.
Being even in prison Saint Methodius continued to translate The Holy books from Greek to the new language invented and adjusted for the Slavs talk. 
He left us as a heritage the Translation Copy of All Books of Holy Bible except the book of Maccabees which is today only present in the Orthodox Bible and considered one of the non-canonical but God inspired books, as well as the Nomocanon (the book with rules and Church laws of the Church and the clergy).
Nomocanon comes from .(Greek: Νομοκανών, Nomokanōn; from the Greek nomos – law and kanon – a rule). It is  a collection of ecclesiastical law, consisting of the elements from both the Civil law and the Canon law.
Nomocanons even today forms part of the canon law of the Eastern Catholic Churches (through the Eastern Catholic canon law) and of the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

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Saint Methodius the Slav-Bulgarian enlighter passed silently to Christ full of God''s Grace in saintship on 6th of April year 885 A.D. His burial was in Velegrad Chech Republic, and according to the Church tradition about his living  he "lays in the Great Moravian Church in the left side of the wall behind the alter dedicated to the Mother of God the Holy Theotokos Virgin Maria". A church service dedicated to him is still presented in the Bulgarian Church's manuscripts and a copies of it in preservation museums in Russia.

The deeds of Saint Methodius and Saint Cyrilus has a mark on the whole world's events. Even to this day as in Bulgaria, we have a translation of the Bible based on the Cyrillic language named after saint Cyrilus the brother of Methodius based on his started work to translate Glagolic alphabet to Cyrillic, continued by his pupils and fully completed by Saint Clement (Kliment) of Ohrid, who was warmly accepted by Saint Apostle equal King Boris I of Bulgaria. Thanks to him the deeds of Saint Methodius and their pupils and we have the cyrillic alphabet and Bulgarian Orthodox Church and spirituality even today. The deeds of Saint Cyrilus and the Cyrillic are recognizable worldwide in the face of the strange for the Western and the Asians Cyrillic language used by Russians.

Two Saints Cyril and Methodius has were officially proclaimed as a protectors of Europe recently by Pope John Paul II, for a reason as the ex-Pope has seen and experienced the powerness of prayers of the two saints while he was a cardinal in Bulgaria before his raise to the Roman Popeship throne about little know nowadays.

The Memory and veneration of Saint Methodius and Cyrilus logically are mostly observed in Bulgaria logically as Bulgaria was the first Empire country historically to accept the spiritual fruits the new language.  Many Schools and institutions, streets are named after the two saints.
The official Church veneration of St. St. Cyril and Methodius is on 11 in Church and  May in secular tradition. The Bulgarian Orthodox church has established a number of feasts connected to the two saints as they''re the prime patron saints thanks to whose prayers the Bulgarian Church has been established survived through centuries and conitnues its triumphal march towards the kingdom of heaven.

Let by the two saints Methodius and Cyril Bulgaria and Europe have Peace, Faith and Love and Enlightenment about the true teaching of Christ the Holy Orthodoxy!
 

Saint Markianos and Martyrios a church reader and sub-deacon holy martyrs for Christ – The feast of Sub-deacons

Sunday, October 25th, 2020

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Saint Markianos (Saint Markian) and Martyrios are little known saints in the Western realm and there is too little of information in English about this two early martyrs who lived circa year 340. What is special about them is that besides being a strong confessors of the True Eastern Orthodox faith, they served in the Church as simple 'reader' and 'sub-deacon'. This two designations were very much respected in the early Church as sub-deacons were usually the ones who have served in the Church inseparable as a Church service helpers to the patriarchs or some high clergy as Metropolitans and Bishops. We have many saints in the Church that are from a simple warriors as Saint Georg and Saint Dimitrios the Wonderworker (The MyrhBringer) to monks, bishops, patriarchs and pretty much all kind of people from the society from the begger to the richest and most famous kings and queens. However it is rare to meet in the ( Act of the Martyrs – latin: Acta Martyrum), to find  canonized saints that were in the lowest step in Church hierarchy as a simple 'psalm' and holy writtings reader or a sub-deacon. A Sub-deacon for those who don't know is a pearon that is a like a servant helper to the priest or bishop) that has been responsible for helping with the Church service and resolution of material and administrative needs of the christian community.
Usually in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the church reader or sub-deacons were and asre still called hipodeacon or "ipodiakon" in Greek / Slavonic church language), they didn't have the right at that early ages of christianity to publicly teach on faith matters or do apologetics (defendings of faith), however this 2 saintly man Markianos and Martyrios seem to have been a burning with the power of the spirit of God in their heart and the situation they were put in when the Church was under persecution and the patriarch Paul of Constantinople I (was patriarch from 340 ~ 350 AD). Saint Paul removed from his Church headship sent to Exile in Armenia and some time after drawned. He is commemorated in the Church on 6th of November. Hence considering situation St. Markian and Martyrius had to either defend and die for the faith or be scared and run away far in the caves or distant places of the empire such as villages on the outskits far away from the center city Rome …

The Heresy of Arius has been the most modern and the new modified faith claiming Christianity gathering followers in a viral way, and due to that the Arians have been in position where most of the public authorities in the Roman empire has been on their side against the Orthodox Christians.

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Due to that in the church communities in near and distant lands of empire, the Arians were fiercely persecuting the Orthodox, and for a time even Emperor Saint Constantine The Great were deceived by their hypocrisy. It was terrible times for true confessors of faith. But not only Arians were persecuting Christians, as paganism were still deeply rooted in many of the lands and the Edict of Mediolan who gave equal rights to the religion in AD 313 was not strictly followed and senators of Roman regions with Paganist beliefs, were also harshly raising persucutions against their enemies the Christians who according to them are destroying the ancient culture and beautfy of paganism, not venerating the old pagan gods and against the wicked debauchery customs who were followed by pagans in 3rd / 4th century.

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Practically everyone who have admitted publicly Jesus Christ as a Creator of the World and a Son of God one hipostasys of the Holy Trinity God The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit, were captured put to prison and quickly executed, if they don't turn out from their christian beliefs.

Arians has taken a lead even more with the set on the throne of Emperor Constantius II the son of Constantine I-st, as he has also fallen in the Arianism* heresy and who has taken in the court as a close advisory Eusebius and Philip who due to their half-pagan half-arian half superstitious understanding of the world have led a fierce war against Christianity and did a lot of evils to Christ Church.

* Arianism – believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who was begotten by God the Father, and is distinct from the Father (therefore subordinate to him), but the Son is also God the Son but not co-eternal with God the Father. Arian theology was first attributed to Arius (c. AD 256–336), a Christian presbyter in Alexandria of Egypt.
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Until dethronment of Patriarch Paul I, St. Markianos and St. Martyrios have been a notaries of St. Paul (a typist to the patriarch and a kind of personal secretaries of the Patriarch) besides serving as Church reader and sub-deacon. They were famous for their time with their warm preaching of the Words of God – the Gospel of the Christ following the example of the apostles. Due to the raising heresies they also take an active part in writting many documents against the heretical "arians" and so called "macedonians" who teached anti-christian teachings who were newly invented and unknown to the ancient church teachings. They've had a special gift from God to be able to speak in a way to defend the faith so noone with his knowledge or high-education couldn't stand overcome them in disputes on church matters and many times they have disputed with Arian heretics exposing their fallacy (delusions) putting them to shame.

After the exile of Patriarch Paul heresy-archs arians turned their poisonous hatred against the patriarch two pupils Markianos and Martyrios. Craftly acting they acted slyly with a craftul lie and promised them a lot of gold a good place in the emperor's court, to raise them in the church hierarcy (in the part of the church which was already confessing arian heresy) and give them a lot of privileges from the king with the condition to accept, support and confess arianism.

But God's servents despised everything from this world, rejected the offered golden gifts, preferred eternal Heavenly honors than short and vain worldly and even laughed at them.

As Arians saw nothing can't convince them to their malice teaching, heretics condemned them to death, which was desired by the confessors (which remembered well the exile and the manly martyrdom of their teacher St. Patriarch Paul) and with all their being desired to be with Christ in the Eternal prepared palaces, where life will be without end in never ending bliss as promised by Christ in the Holy Scriptures. They preferred Christ more than the temporary life enjoyments.

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When brought to the place of the execution of their false made accusement and sentence for being blasphemers of Christ, two saints asked for a small time
to pray. Brough up their eyes to the heaven and prayed with the words:

" – Oh Lord, who have unseenly created our hearts, who arrange all our deeds – "He formed the hearts of them all; he understands everything they do." (Psalm 33:15), receive with peace the souls of your servents, because we're mortified for your name – "Yet for Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." (Psalm 44:22). We're joyful that you give us such a death, we depart from this life because of your name. Let us to participate in the eternal life in You, the source and giver of life."

Praying with this words, they bowed their holy heads and under sword and was killed by beheading by the unfortunate arians because of their confession of the divinity of Christ as true uncreated Son of God who existed before all ages before the creation of the world as we Christians believe to this date.

Some of the Christians took their holy relics and buried them outside the Melandissia Gate of the Constantinople. Later Saint John of Chrysostom built a church in their name over the place of their miracle-working relics. There the sick for many ages received divine healings  of different incurable diseases by the prayers of the holy martyrs of God, Praised in Trinity in all ages.

By the prayers of your Holy Martyrs St. Markianos and Martyrios Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on us !

What is it like to become a father in the Age of Coronavirus Pandemics – Our baby Dimitar is born

Thursday, June 4th, 2020

After a long 9 months finally on 12.05.2020 12 of May 2020 by God's grace our baby Dimitar was born. He born one day after Saint Cyril and Methodius feast in the Church on the Church Feast of Saint Ephiphanius of Cyprus, Saint German Patriarch of Constantinopol a fierce fighter for the veneration of Holy Icons, Saint martyr Ermogen patriarch of Constantinople (according to new style Calendar) and Saint Basil of Ostrog (in old calendar) . I always loved spring and especially month of May so I'm happy the baby born exactly on this month. For many 2020 broght the coronavirus pandemics brought a lot of pain and surely for us it brought an extra stress with all this mask wearing and super extra precaution measures everywhere and self-isolation but for me 2020 brought me a great joy and a good things in life, after we changed the rented apartment and we moved from Mladost 3 to Geo Milev (a district that is much more fitting my temper), now just 4 months later we have this greatest joy of having a son, something that many people dreamed all their life and suffered. For us it was about 6 years without a baby and the lack of a child in a family seems to extra strain situation. I do suffer and pray for all those people who can't have child and desperately want it and I hope God will bless many with the same joy in the coming years. I have to say having a baby fills up a great hole in the family and brings up new horizons for development of both families and the new born child. Most importantly a new opportunity is there for a new man to get into the kingdom of Heaven know Christ and hopefully end up in eternal blissfulness in Heaven with all the saints by the mercy of God. If you think for a while how all of us some time back in time were also a kid and how our mothers had many sleepless nights and feared for our health and well-being and how from a small baby we become a man who studied excelled in things, failed in others and have the opportunity and rationality to do complex things such as writting this article you get into the conclusion all this is hard to believe mind blowing miracle …

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Right out of Mother's Belly seeing the Light of the World for a first time – First Picture of the Baby before he officially had a name

Many people prayed for the easy birth of my wife as she is already 36 years old and in that years sometimes giving birth is dangerous and often many woman loose babies or are forced to be cut for the baby to be delivered from the belly with Caesarian section cut. Svetlana give a normal birth thanksfully and she delivered the baby for just 3.5 hours after she was accepted in hospital the previous day and doctors did an infusion of oxytocin  (a liquid hormone that doctors use to acccelarate the birth process when the baby was over carried just like it was in our case and in the case of many woman) – Svetlana overcarried it with 5 days.

After a long struggle with my wife on selecting the name, we finally named our new born baby Dimitar  born 49 centimeters / 2980 grams / Dimitar was named in honour of one of the most notorious and loved saints in the Eastern Orthodox world Saint Demitrius of Thessaloniki after a very long struggle to select the name as my wife Svetlana desired to name him Daniil (Daniel), a name which is also beautiful and belongs to the Prophet Daniel and Saint Daniel the Stylite. Svetlana had some weird ideas to name the boy Elijan (Ilia) as well as some other ideas for names like Andrei (Andrew) a very beatiful name belonging to Saint Andrew the Apostle who by the way preached on the Bulgarian Sea Coast according to Church tradition I was against not because the names are bad but because I wanted strongly to follow our well known tradition in Bulgaria to name the first born male boy after the grandfather in that case I wanted to name baby Dimitar firstly in favour of Saint Dimitar (The Myrh Bearer) of Thessaloniki to be the heavinly guide of the boy together with all the other saints under the  Demitrius / Dimitrius name as well as to venerate my father who is a very hard-working and patient parent even over the years with a such a wild child which I am.

Holy Relics of Saint Demetrius the Myrh Bearer in St. Demetrius Basilica in Thessaloniki (Greece)

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Saint Demetrius killing Lyaeus the Glariator (depicting the spiritual destroyment of paganism by prayerrs of Saint Demetrius and a remembrance of fact that Christian Nestor killed much powerful Gladiator Lyaeaus who killed thousands of Christians on the Arena before by the all powerful prayers of Saint Demetrius)

I find worthy  to name a few of the other kid's heavinly prayer intercessors this is the well known Russian Saint Dimitrius of Rostov, The bulgarian saint Saint Demitrius of  Besarabia (an ex-territory of Bulgarian Empire) and Saint Dimitrij Donskoy, there is even more saints undet the Demetrius names canonized by the church over the centuries.

The name selection of a boy turned to be much more complicated than I thought and for anyone out there that has to go through the process of awaiting a new born I recommend you to select the name in advance as selecting the name after birth in negotiation with a woman who gave birth is a terrible and hard to bear experience as her hormones are making swing moods every now and then.

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Selecting a kid name in the past was quite an interesting process and there was various approaches here in Bulgaria, from naming the kid after a grandfather, grandmother to naming it after a big saint if he is born on a big saint's Church feast day for example if it is born on 6th of May (saint George's day) in Bulgaria it is common to name the kid Georgi or if it is Saint Cyril and Methodius Cyril.
Due to the fact the kid was born near the feast of Saint Apostole Simon the Zealot one of the names I suggested to Svetlana was Simon or Simeon even though that name was not my choice as a compromise that might fit us both. We had some discussion and we both liked the Kiril (Cyril) name, plus 11 of May was Saint Cyril and Methodius but I had an internal tension about it as we didn't have anyone in family called Kiril.

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Heart works perfect Praise the Lord ! 🙂

Finally my wife stepped back and she agreed to write the name in birth register the name Dimitar so now the kid in his Birth Certificate  is Dimitar Georgiev Georgiev.

Giving birth in Pandemics prevented me to be able to go and see the child until the day he and wife was discharged from Sofia's Maichin Dom University's hospital as clincally healthy.
Please excuse me if I'm turning your attention from the common IT themes Religion and Philosophy which I talk about but I thought putting a few lines for a life changing event as a baby birth is important for me personally to organize things in my head.

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The little Big Man

The stress around the baby born is always a big deal both for the mother and the father. But in my case thanks God I was relatively calm. The feelings in the days around birth for the father are quite extreme of course and perhaps this is why many fathers drink till forgetfulness after the baby is born. This however was not the case with me, even though due to the spiritual hardships I have a drinked a couple of beers overall I stayed sober around the birth and right after it before the baby came home.

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In front of the Prayer Chapel in Maichin Dom (where yearly the Patriarch of Bulgaria Neofit sanctifies the place with Vodosvet (Sanctification of the Water)

Talking about taking the baby I'm thankful to my dear Friends Angel / Krasimir his wife Irina and Mitko Ivanov, who were the only person to kinda of support me and come for the official dischargement ceremony in hospital. I had to organize a couple of things for the dischargement pay the bills currently in Maichin Dom the overall birth expenses for doctors, midwives, hiring room expenses (for 8 days hospitalization) was lets say normal 1345 LEVA  (~ 700 EURO) much lower price than in other non-government funded hospitals in Sofia like Nadezhda  where it would have been about 2300 LEVA, this is of course higher than social countries of Western Europe like Germany where a normal state funded birth would cost something like ~ 350 – 400 EUR but still very cheap if Compared to United Stateswhere a good orchestrated birth costs something like 25 to 30 000 USD.
As I heard from wife the birth experience she got was of course harsh but this is normal for the first baby where the levels of stress and uncertainty is absolutely unbearable for the your unexperienced parturient mother.

I have to express my sincere thankfulness to the great Head Doctor Miss Ivet Raicheva thanks to whom my wife succeded in normal birth and we have a healthy baby.as well Doctor Nikolay Gerdzhikov from Hospital Second Baby Specialized Hospital Sheinovo who  break off the amniotic fluids baloon of my wife to accelarate the overcarried baby timely birth, as well as all the pregnancy tracking doctors of UMBAL Nadezhda (A Hispital for Woman Health).

Just like I thank warmly to all the people who have given us baby clothes, baby car chairs, subtrates, carriage cangoroos and all kind of baby toys and equipment useful in raising the baby as well as all the friends who helped with advices during the pregnancy and many hardships in this 9 months before baby come to earth and after that. This are Mitko Paskalev, Mitko Ivanov / Anastasia, Krasimir, Hristina, Father Stoyan and his wife Yanna, our godfather Familiy Galin and Andrea, uncle Emilian, Vasil Kolev, Father Flavian and all others who helped us with warm prayers and good words during the hardships of pregnancy during the Coronacrisis.

Due to the Covid, every time I had to go to the hospital to bring my wife food, pampers, fruits etc. was only possible to be delivered by a medicine personal (with a small treatment fee) as entrance of externals like me was not possible.

I did not have the chance to go inside the hospital's 12th floor to pick up my wife with the baby due to the COVID-19 Virus, hospital entrance was only allowed to the parter stage and only after they check your temperature with an electronic wireless gun-like thermometer headed right in your head …
I had to then wait with the few bouquet of flowers, chocolate candys and alcohol to hand in to the main degenerating doctor which in our case was Ivet Raicheva, I have to kindly thank this professional woman for doing all the best for my wife in assisting her in birth and succeeding in a normal birth process which in our age is quite rare about at least 80% of woman give birth with a C-Section.

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Friends and Brothers / Sisters from the Church Angel, Krasi, Irina and Mitko Ivanov

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Krasimir and Irina

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In front of Maichin Dom Me seeing my boy for a first time !

After Svetlana was accompanied in the entrance stage with a medicine worker, we made the standard few remembrance pictures on the floor and infront the hospital and on a Volkswagen Taxi headed home with the baby being in fear for the baby in every car bump.

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The great joy of blessing to be with your Son for a first time

Once Dimitar was already home we rejoiced and placed him in his already prepared baby crib and left home wife for 40 minutes together with the baby and went out to for a quick treat for friends who were so kind to come for the baby.
The routine afterwards is expected as to every new born, a lot of breast feeding for wife, adaptated milk sometimes, changing pampers, baby bathing every day, swinging, singing songs to calm him down when he songs etc.

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The responsibilities for the father of course suddenly rise as you have to be a products supporter as your wife is quite weak over the 40 days after birth, you have to clean, buy food or prepare something to eat, prepare her a breastfeeding teas, confort her and calm her. But the overall it is clear that the woman becomes much more stable version of herself after the birth she starts thinking more to the ground and dream less in fantasies as the baby helps her better see the reality and learn to sacrifice more.

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Let God bless and protect Dimitar by the prayers of the Holy Virgin Mary Theotokos and All Sains and help him in all the hardships from the cradle to a fully grown and wise man that he'll become one day by God's mercy!