Posts Tagged ‘Bulgarian Church’

His all Holiness Patriarch Maxim Patriarch of Bulgarian Orthodox Church – a silent life of a holy man who headed the Bulgarian Church in one of its most difficult times of 12 centuries existence

Friday, December 21st, 2012

 

On Saturday 15.12.2012, 40 days has passed since our first along equal Bishops patriarch Maxim passed to the Lord Jesus Christ. Just like his humile living his passing to Christ went in humility and without much publicity.

 

 

The "death-remembrance" prayer service was served 40 days after his passing to Christ in his favorite monastery the Troyan Monastery.

Troyan monastery the monastery where the holy body of patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria was buried and his memory remembrance service was served

Many  people blamed the patriarch for not being canonically chosen for breaking the Church order for being responsible for the bad state of our Bulgarian Orthodox Church, for all the mostly bad things that happened in our country over the last 21 years since the fall of communism regime.

Our patriarch, however behaved like a true, monk he keep silent in all people's lies on his account, he kept silent when people has called him agent of the Social regime, he just kept silent for all except for things which were directly being enforced against the Church canonical apostle's succession and the ancient Orthodox Church tradition and liturgical Church slavonic language and the centuries kept since the baptismal of Bulgaria Church order and canonical rules.

He was a head on the "ruling steel" of the Church during a severe communism atheistic regime and even though the multiple attempts of communist power to destroy the Church from within by installing many priests and bishops as their spies, and doing all in the party's power to make people disbelief the Church and trust in communism, they all failed and the Church win. The Church win just in accordance with Christ's words as the Lord Jesus Christ said in his Holy Gospel – "The gates of hell will not prevail over my Church".

Besides being ahead of the Bulgarian Church in this difficult times of trial for the Church, our patriarch's care for the Church continued even after fall of communism in times. Under Patriarch's Maxim Patarichship, the BOC (Bulgarian Orthodox Church) has survived over the difficult times of great Schism which continued in its peak from 1997 to 1998, though the schism itself in some kind existed without much publicity from years 1992 to 1998. The Schism in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church was caused by some regularly chosen Bishops, who claimed that patriarch Maxim which was chosen during Communism was not chosen according to canons but chosen by Communists.

One of the Bulgarian Orthodox Chruch (Holy Synod) Metropolitans self-proclaimed himself as patriarch claiming that he was supposed to be chosen as patriarch but the communists change it in favour of Maxim. It was God's providence (not without the prayers of many and the prayers of his holiness Maxim) which solved the created long lasting conflict inside the Bulgarian Church.
The self-proclaimed "Patriarch" Pimen died and the Bulgarian Police force came to power and put out a few of the left shismatic priests who had occupied over some of the Church buildings and claimed the Church buildings belonged still to the Schismatic Synod and not to the regular Bulgarian Orthodox Church Synod headed by Maxim. It is very interesting fact that just in short it appeared Patriarch Maxim (even though the accusations) has never had a dossier and according to communist archives is not in the list of the Bishops who have signed a declaracy to be working with the Communist Government and behave according to the planned agendas of the Communist Authorities.

Patriarch Maxim of Bulgarian Orthodox Church a holy man of our times

This is the best evidence that patriarch Maxim was a Holy Man not chosen by communists as many pseudo-Orthodox Christians and even a lot of devoted ones were deluded to believe but chosen by God's great providence of the Bulgarian nation and the autocephalous BOC. It is interesting facts concerning the schism in the Church during 1997-1998, that many don't know but can be clearly researched in the many documentations (video materials, archives and newspapers) that the ruling then "Democratic Party" – Syiuz na Demokratichnite Sili (Съюз на Демократичните Сили) – (SDS), has carefully fostered and was initiator of the Shism in our Church.

The reason for the schism was evident there were people who didn't wanted the Bulgarians to go to Church and have faith, and more concretely there were people not wanting Bulgaria to have a strong Orthodox Church and the climate after communism fall was giving an opportunity for BOC to rise and lead many of the BG populations who were baptized but never had the opportunity to attend the Church and get to know the Church teaching due to the atheistic communist regime back in the "bosom" of the Church.

Bulgarian politics from The Democratic – "Blue Party" – SDS (Syiuz na Demokratichnite Sili – Ally of Democratic Forces), were openly supporting the so called "Alternative Church Synod", leaded by Pimen, even until the moment where the sanity and God's providence overbear and the schismatics (many of which had their illegal business with prostitution or narcotics), were driven out of the Church and many of which in their attempt to escape police trial went abroad in the "Western World", stealing a big multitudes of Church money. During the whole schism the Church's all bank accounts were frozen. So during those almost 1.5 year during "schism", Church's money couldn't be used by the Church.

Just to give you an idea on how bad and harmful to the Church this was, imagine if some a government of USA "froze up", all accounts belonging to a big company provider lets say IBM. Imagine what would be the eventual short time consequences for IBM – the answer is their business will probably be broken so badly, that after that it is not very likely they recover. However as the Church is not a normal organization but is an organization established by the Saviour Jesus Christ himself and lead by the Holy Spirit, all this couldn't destroy the Church.

Yes it is true it badly harmed the Church, and the Churches went empty, it is true that the confidence in the Church authority was damaged, but the Church itself continued operating and even after the few consequential years of desolation in which mostly noone visited the Church except on big feasts (and even on big feasts was scared to go to Church because could happen to be in a Schismatic Church) – as for regular people there was no clear understanding which of the Church buildings belongs to Patriarch Maxim's Canonical old times synod in which they baptized and which belongs to the self proclaimed Pimen and his assembly of deluded good Christians (most of which came back to Church) and the big part of wolf's in sheep's clothes which wanted to use the Church as aim to advance their power authority in society and financial acquisitions.

The shism is a topic which is little researched and little spoken of after that as Patriarch Maxim with his monk's silence was able to mitigate the harshness of the situation so just 14 years after almost no-one in Bulgaria remembers the times of Schism – except ofcourse the Christians who lived over it.
As with many of the great saints patriarch Maxim went mostly unnoticed by society and his death hour was little spoken and not quickly forgotten. However historically I'm sure he will always, be remembered as the person who take the "Church" ship over one of their hardest historical times since y. 870 to present time.

Patriarch Maxim led the Church in year 1971 – 2012, 1971 to about 1985, were years of severe communism, where police was prohibiting people to visit the Churches and pray or take the sacraments. If one does so he often lost his, job or was asked to go to police for a check up. Some devoted Christians were severely threatened and some were sent to the state Prisons like Belene.
During his reign-ship patriarch Maxim had to rule over a Church without layman, the word Church itself comes after Ecclesia (A gathering of the faithful), during Patriarch Maxim's reign he had to however rule over a Church which from a good working huge Ecclesia (a gathering of believing people), to a Ecclesia of mostly few thousands of priests and maybe few thousands of old people who, were under a pension and therefore were allowed to go to Church and pray or take active participation in the Church.

The huge consequence of this is evident in the Bulgarian Church even to this day, as the Church is mostly filled with old people and you can rarely see a young people or families visiting the Church. Bulgarian devoted youngsters, therefore even joke-up saying that our Church is a "grandma's Church". Even though the empty Churches and the unbelief of many still, many people are baptized and are continuously being baptized in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church even to this where most of the Bulgarian population is Orthodox and had received the initial grace of Christ. Thus even though due to the little layman attendance, the Church is not in bloom still it is living in most of the Bulgarians and their families and in that sense it is still in continous bloom. Also it is a good idea that we Bulgarians, take an honest look to ourselves and ask ourselves the question is the weak state of the Bulgarian Church attendance, due to the non-stop journalist made-up scands, or it is because of us which we didn't supported our Church both financially and with our participation in Holy Sacraments and Church life and deeds.

The Church feast of St. Tsar (King) Boris Mihail (Michael) I – Baptizer of Bulgaria – 2nd of May a Triumph for Bulgarian Autocephalous Church and Church Slavonic

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

saint Tsar Boris the baptizer of all Bulgaria

Today on Second of May every year in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church calendar we commemorate the memory of Saint King Boris (Michael) who is a baptizer of Bulgarian nation and among the greatest saint of Bulgaria, perhaps second in saintship after St. John of Rila.

St. King Boris was the ruler of the First bulgarian Empire (852-889) the actual title as we know it from the chronicles is not king but archont which literally means ruler, but as the main chronicles who came to us are Byzantine we have to take in consideration that Byzantine Chronicles aimed to discredit the Bulgarian rulers because of feeling inferior every non-Byzantines who in Byzantine terms were considered barbarians.

He had a notable correspondence with Pope Nicolas II head of the Western Church before the Great Schism.
Saint Boris I is famous with with 115 Questions (which are fully preserved). He  beseech the pope to sent an apostoles of faith who will teach the new nation to faith in the same time he lead a correspondence with the Byzantine emperor and the Eastern Church.

The pope sent 2 missionaries cardinal Formiosa of Portuens and Bishop Paul of Papulon. King Boris requested for Cardinal Formiosa to become a future archibishop of Bulgaria, but the pope Nicolas II being afraid of loosing ground of a choice of future Bulgarian archibishop rejected king Boris request it is interesting fact that the same cardinal Formiosa become the next Pope of the Roman Western Church in period (891 – 896).

Taking in consideration the papal's desire to dominate over him and the more freedoms given by the Byzantine Church along with the fact that Saint Cyril and Methodius's pupils came to him with a ready Church Slavonic Glagolic version of the Holy Bible and a new Church language (and considering the fact that the seven pupils of St. Cyril and Methodius were being chased away from Great Moravia (Saint Clement of Ohrid (Kliment Ohridski) and Naum Ohrdiski with Sava, Angelarius and Gorazd) and seeing the fallacy of the filioque addition to the Creed of Faith finally King Boris received baptism by the hands of Patriarch Photius.

He received holy baptismal in year 864, receiving the Christian name Michael (Mihail) receiving his Christian name from his godfather, Emperor Michael III.

According to Church tradition the reason to Baptize in Christian faith was his amazement of an icon of the Judgement Day he saw in one of his visits to Constantinople.

The Church tradition also says saint Boris I's sister have lived for a long time in Constantinople, where she received baptism and once returning to the Bulgaria she bring the light of faith here too.

Besides that some of his family has already earlier converted to Christianity and some earlier Bulgarian Khans such as Trivelius (Tervel) who is considered to saved Europe from Muslim Invasion earlier were already Christians.

King_Boris I bapttish of Byzantine Emperor Michael III

During his holy reign he has established mass Christianization of Bulgaria, where the traditional ancient pagan traditions and belief in fake gods like Tangra were abolished completely.

St. Tsar Boris has secured the Bulgarian Church an autocephalousy, he also received the saints Cyril and Methodius, when they were banished from Great Moravia.

Our saint king has secured a refuge for st. Cyril and Methodius and provided them with assistance to develop the Slavonic alphabet and literature.

After he abdicated in 889, his eldest son and successor tried to restore the old pagan religion but was deposed by Boris I. During the Council of Preslav which followed that event, the Byzantine clergy was replaced with Bulgarian and the Greek language was replaced with Old Bulgarian as an official language of the Church and the state.

Bulgaria_under_rule_of_Boris_I-st-the-baptizer-king-of-Bulgaria

In 889 Boris abdicated the throne and became a monk. His son and successor Vladimir attempted a pagan reaction (to return the Bulgarians to the old belief in Tanra), which brought Boris out of his monastic life in 893 out of zeal for Christ and a fatherhood for the future of Bulgarian nation.

Vladimir was defeated and blinded by a miracle of God as Boris had less soldiers than his pagan son but in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ he showed victorious.

Once defeating his unbelieving son, Boris gathered the Council of Preslav in which the Old Greek language in Church was replaced with Church Slavonic and most imporantly on the council King Boris on the Church assembly placed his third son, Simeon I of Bulgaria on the throne, threatening him with the same fate if he too apostatized.

Simeon I was reluctant to become a secular ruler as according to some of the written sources he was preparing to become a great spiritual leader a monk and perhaps a next archibishop or even patriarch in the newly established autocephalous Bulgarian Church but following the monk rule of humility he decided and accepted the throne but throughout his life he kept his great zeal for monasticism and enlightenment. His ruling become a golden age for the Church Slavonic he financed seriously and worked hardly to prepare educated monks and to translate a major works of the Holy Fathers such as Shestodnev (The Six Days of Creation), Simeonov Sbornik (Simeon's Collection) and many of the key works of saint Athanasius the Great, Saint Basyl the Great, Saint John of Damascus etc.

According to some historians it was King Simeon who later give birth to the second by size Monastic Community in Byzantine Emperire the Stone Monasteries of (Meteora).

Boris returned to his monastery, emerging once again in c. 895 to help Simeon fight the Magyars, who had invaded Bulgaria in alliance with the Byzantines. After the passing of this crisis, Boris resumed monastic life and led a holy life until he pass out in year 907.

Here is the daily troparion assigned by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church sang at the churches today (the text is translation from Bulgarian):

St. Boris-Michael, prince of Bulgaria, Troparion

Full of the fear of God, and enlightened by holy baptism, thou becamest a habitation of the Holy Spirit,
O right-believing King Boris; and having established the Orthodox Faith in the land of Bulgaria,
and set aside the scepter of kingship,
thou madest thine abode in the wil derness,
didst flourish in ascetic struggles, and found grace before the Lord.
And now, standing before the throne of the Most High, pray thou, that He grant unto us who entreat thee salva tion for our souls.