Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

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

Wednesday, April 27th, 2022

 

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Christ is Risen ! Truly He is Risen !

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

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

Christus Resurrexit ! Resurrexit Vere ! – Latin Paschal Greeting

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

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

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

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

How and from wherein this Boiled Eggs coloring originated ?


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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Anastasis (Resurrection) Church Fresco


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Saint John Chrysostom

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

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The kadi asked,
"And who deceived you?"

Luka responded,

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

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

Luka then said,

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


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

He further asked:
"Where are you staying?"

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

The kadi turned to the others in court and said,

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

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

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

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

Luka replied:

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

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

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

The Holy Martyr replied,

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

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

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


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

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

 

Few words on Saint Prophet Daniel feast day in Orthodox Church December 17

Friday, December 17th, 2021

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Few words on Saint Daniel the Prophet Feast

 

Many of us today in the world who are baptized and members of the Church or do at least accept the Christian principles deeply routed in most of the Civillized developed workd tend to excuse themselves for not being good and doing the righteous things, thinking it is hard to stand for the christian principles and norms in a general antichristian atmosphere pointing it as a reason to not follow the guidance recommendations of the Church.

However we should not excuse ourselvse with the circumstances or the Church clergy who seems to us to not follow properly the spiritual vows. We should not excuse with time we're living in as it is reflected in perfect examples in the spiritual life of the saints and the practice of monks, who always have the golden rule to not excuse themselves for anything in the world for not following Gods perfect will and predestination in the good.

Lets look at the first Christians who lived, did their life was easier or more favourable than today for confessing the faith ? Even materially if we think at the times back then most people were poor, they have attained everything they had with a hard labour and was busy 24/4 / 7 days a week, there was no medicine for almost nothing except few herbal treatments, there was no dentist, no electricity and no transport. The doctors who can help at times of sickness were few, in the beginning of Christianity, it was prohibited to be Christian and being a Christian was a sure sentence for death sooner or later, not to mention that emperors and the powerful of the day were requesting from people obedience in anything they say and slavery was popular and even many much more than today lived all their live in slavery both physical and spiritual (as most people did not have the chance to hear the Graceful words of the Holy Gospel). Priests were scarce, there was practiculally no education and there was no easy way to produce and keep information, paper was not there. Having a book was only possible for few of the richest people who were the top layer of society. The few knowledgable who can read or knew solution to the innumerable problems of man were considered nobles (Elders / wise men)  had been often wanted and scarce as well as kept near the "top management" people who governed society society – kings, emperors, governors or amy man. This is rawly how the world looked back then. Even though that people both Christians and non Christians had been more stronger in spirit and had been unshakable in their decisions for confession their life credo. 

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  • Those old nobles have been divided  generally speaking into two categories the fraudants:
    Wizards (whose wisdom was received by the demons)
  • Second truthful ones
    Servants of God the prophets the righteous, the Jewish priests who confessed truely the One True God, the saints and other gifted people by God.

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The most likely location of holy relics of Prophet Daniel Tomb of Daniel at Susa, Iran

Among the truthful ones perhaps most significant for elevating the humanity from the worst to perfect are the prophets, who has the revelation from God directly from God, to be leaders and examples for perfection of the religion, moral and political life for the Old Testamental choosen people the Jews and respectively after Christ's crucifix the Christians who has held their place as the true choosen children of God and through them for the gentile.

Today we celebrate the memory of one of the supreme prophets who has lived in world for all ages – Saint Prophet Daniel his name is delivered from Jewish and means "God (El) is my judge"

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Daniel and the Stone Slavonic Icon (Bulgarian ?)

Prophet Daniel is the biblical hero of the Book of Daniel who interprets dreams and receives apocalyptic visions. His book is one of the most notable prophetic book in which in a hidden way it is said what is expecting the world until the end of the times.
 

The Prophet Daniel appears in the Old Testament in the Book of Daniel as a captive carried away to Babylon by order of Nebuchadnezzar after the fall of the kingdom of Judah during the sixth century before Christ. His ministry as a prophet came late in his life. He is commemorated by the Church on the December 17.

While remaining loyal to his faith in the one God, Daniel attained a high position of the court of Nebuchadnezzar and was known for his skill in the interpretation of dreams (Daniel 1:17 and 2:14) and of mysterious handwritings on the wall. He is included in the Septuagint among the prophets and was referred to by Christ as a prophet in Mark 13:14 and in Matthew 24:15. The precise time and circumstances of Daniel's death are not recorded. By tradition his age at death was near 100 years. A number of places have claimed to be his place of burial, including Susa in present day Iran, Daniel's Tomb in Kirkuk in Iraq, as well as Babylon, Egypt, and Tarsus.

He is a descendant of Jude's knee, he was descending of noble rich family, presumably he might have descendent even from king's line an evidence for that is the Chaldean king Nebuchadnezzar II, after the conquest of Jerusalem in (year 607 B.C.) give an order to select the best and most educated and intelligent from the captured jews with the goal to learn the Chaldean language and receive education, and prepare for a government service.

These young man has been put into many temptations as the custom of the chaldean civillizations was pagan and contradicted the jewish.
Four of the chosen ones were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (who as an attempt to change the mindset and are identity of the ones and distant them from their original jewish mindset, were renamed with the Babylonian names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah even though the babylonization attempts of their identity, have shown severe firmness and continued to follow the Jewish Law of Moses.

As they were part of the kings palace courtiers, they lived surrounded by luxurity, they did not forget God's law diligently they prayed and eat as food only bread and fruits, refusing any food given by the Kings table as this food has been consecrated to the pagan idols the babylonians were worshipping.

The good God seeing the perseverance in goodness of the youngsters and their fortitude in confession of truth and strict follow the Mishrah (the law of the jews) gifted them with amazing abilities to understand visions and dreams.

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Catacomb of Priscilla, Rome, late 3rd century/early 4th century.

At the beginning the four were not among the famous ones in the babylonian kingsdom, however they became famous as the king has called them to interpret a troubling dream he had – a dream the king immediately forgot. Noone among the wise mand and wizards couldn't neither tell the kings dream nor tell what it meant thus, by God's providence the 4 ones whose fame continuously grow in kingdom were summoned and Daniel could interpret the kings dream and the meaning of it. The king out of amazement decided for future to always council the the 4 God people, as he saw their wisdom exceeded the wisdom of the other liege in the kingdom. Daniel and his 3 friends were tested by the fire, as they have been thrown in fiery furnace fire, as a punishment for their rejection to obey a Golden pagan idol statue as god, breaking the king's decree.

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Icon Source: Pinterest

In the burning enormous fire the king was amazed to see not 3 but 4 people (the fourth one was an Angel of God who was protecting them). The fire not only did not damaged them even though it was all throughout their body but did not even burn the clothes or the hairs on them. 

Prayer of the Three Holy Youths known in Church as "The Song of Daniel" 

The Prayer of the Three Holy Youths is a component of the biblical Book of Daniel. It is a segment of a larger component called The Prayer of Azariah and the Prayer of the Three Holy Youths which. although part of the Septuagint text, is considered by Protestants as part of the Apocrypha rather than a fully canonical part of Scripture, and so appears in most English-language bibles as a seperate section. If included within the larger text of Daniel, it would appear in the third chapter of between verses 23 and 24.

In Orthodox Christian worship, the prayer is the basis of the seventh and eighth biblical canticles sung at Orthros. Although the text of the canticles are generally not read in contemporary practice, the hymns sung as part of the canon reference the theme of the Three HolyYouths. At Vespers of Holy Saturday, the text of the prayer is heard as part of one of the fifteen Old Testament readings prescribed for that day. In Byzantine practice, the closing refrains to each verse "bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever" are chanted elaborately.

The song constitutes a hymn of thanksgiving to God for deliverence from the fiery furnace into which the three young men, Ananias, Azarias and Misael (also known as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) had been cast by the Persian king Nebuchadnezzar. They were cast into the furnace for refusing to worship a golden idol that Nebuchadnezzar had created. However, an Angel of the Lord entered the furnace and protected the three young men. In liturgical practice, the event is seen to presage the Resurrection of Christ, thus its inclusion in the canon.

The Abingdon Bible Handbook (ISBN 0687001692) suggests that the Prayer was based on an earlier composition and was added to the existing text of Daniel sometime in the second or first century B.C.

The Song of the Three Holy Youths​

Text

Blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers: thy name is worthy to be praised and glorified for evermore:
For thou art righteous in all the things that thou hast done to us: yea, true are all thy works, thy ways are right, and all thy judgments truth.
In all the things that thou hast brought upon us, and upon the holy city of our fathers, even Jerusalem, thou hast executed true judgment: for according to truth and judgment didst thou bring all these things upon us because of our sins.
For we have sinned and committed iniquity, departing from thee. In all things have we trespassed, and not obeyed thy commandments, nor kept them, neither done as thou hast commanded us, that it might go well with us.
Wherefore all that thou hast brought upon us, and every thing that thou hast done to us, thou hast done in true judgment.
And thou didst deliver us into the hands of lawless enemies, most hateful forsakers of God, and to an unjust king, and the most wicked in all the world.
And now we cannot open our mouths, we are become a shame and reproach to thy servants; and to them that worship thee.
Yet deliver us not up wholly, for thy name's sake, neither disannul thou thy covenant:
And cause not thy mercy to depart from us, for thy beloved Abraham's sake, for thy servant Issac's sake, and for thy holy Israel's sake;
To whom thou hast spoken and promised, that thou wouldest multiply their seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand that lieth upon the seashore.
For we, O Lord, are become less than any nation, and be kept under this day in all the world because of our sins.
Neither is there at this time prince, or prophet, or leader, or burnt offering, or sacrifice, or oblation, or incense, or place to sacrifice before thee, and to find mercy.
Nevertheless in a contrite heart and an humble spirit let us be accepted.
Like as in the burnt offerings of rams and bullocks, and like as in ten thousands of fat lambs: so let our sacrifice be in thy sight this day, and grant that we may wholly go after thee: for they shall not be confounded that put their trust in thee.
And now we follow thee with all our heart, we fear thee, and seek thy face.
Put us not to shame: but deal with us after thy lovingkindness, and according to the multitude of thy mercies.
Deliver us also according to thy marvellous works, and give glory to thy name, O Lord: and let all them that do thy servants hurt be ashamed;
And let them be confounded in all their power and might, and let their strength be broken;
And let them know that thou art God, the only God, and glorious over the whole world.
And the king's servants, that put them in, ceased not to make the oven hot with rosin, pitch, tow, and small wood;
So that the flame streamed forth above the furnace forty and nine cubits.
And it passed through, and burned those Chaldeans it found about the furnace.
But the angel of the Lord came down into the oven together with Azarias and his fellows, and smote the flame of the fire out of the oven;
And made the midst of the furnace as it had been a moist whistling wind, so that the fire touched them not at all, neither hurt nor troubled them.
Then the three, as out of one mouth, praised, glorified, and blessed, God in the furnace, saying,
Blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers: and to be praised and exalted above all for ever.
And blessed is thy glorious and holy name: and to be praised and exalted above all for ever.
Blessed art thou in the temple of thine holy glory: and to be praised and glorified above all for ever.
Blessed art thou that beholdest the depths, and sittest upon the cherubims: and to be praised and exalted above all for ever.
Blessed art thou on the glorious throne of thy kingdom: and to be praised and glorified above all for ever.
Blessed art thou in the firmament of heaven: and above ail to be praised and glorified for ever.
O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever,
O ye heavens, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye angels of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye waters that be above the heaven, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye powers of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye sun and moon, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye stars of heaven, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O every shower and dew, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye winds, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever,
O ye fire and heat, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye winter and summer, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye dews and storms of snow, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye nights and days, bless ye the Lord: bless and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye light and darkness, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye ice and cold, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye frost and snow, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye lightnings and clouds, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O let the earth bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye mountains and little hills, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye things that grow in the earth, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye mountains, bless ye the Lord: Praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye seas and rivers, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye whales, and all that move in the waters, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye fowls of the air, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye beasts and cattle, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye children of men, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O Israel, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye priests of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye servants of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye spirits and souls of the righteous, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye holy and humble men of heart, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever: far he hath delivered us from hell, and saved us from the hand of death, and delivered us out of the midst of the furnace and burning flame: even out of the midst of the fire hath he delivered us.
O give thanks unto the Lord, because he is gracious: for his mercy endureth for ever.
O all ye that worship the Lord, bless the God of gods, praise him, and give him thanks: for his mercy endureth for ever.

 

Daniel and the Lions Den

Daniel was also thrown at another time in a Den hole with Hungry Lions (a typical fun for Romans usually the victim was a very dangerous criminal), however in adverse to the well known natural laws instead of cutting him into pieces eating him the Lions started licking the legs of Saint Prophet Daniel.

Daniel-and-lions

The Grace of God in Holy Prophet Daniel restoring the original Lions nature of grass-feeding animals as they were.
The abundance of Grace of the Holy spirit of the Lions turned them to treat the prophet as Cats would their beloved master.

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Daniel and the Lions (Book of Daniel 6:16-24)fresco of catacomb of Saint Marcellinus and Peter in Rome

Daniel and his friends, even though the paganism has followe their faith and establishment of the fathers, even though the hardship. How sad it is that today many of us are excusing with the time and the situation or encirclement as a reason to not follow the prescription spiritual cures of the Church (The holy mysteries, Confession, Repentance, Fasting and Holy Communion).

No ! We should not excuse ourselves with the situation and time of living. Are the first Christians lived in more benevolent world and did this stopped them from following Christ's teachings strictly and go for a martyrdom to them following the bright examples of the prophets ?
 

Church Troparion sung on Church service (Tone 2)

Great are the accomplishments of faith,
for the Three Holy Youths rejoiced in the fountain of flames as though in the waters of rest;
and the prophet Daniel appeared,
a shepherd to the lions as though they were sheep.
So by their prayers, O Christ God, save our souls!

 

Kontakion sung on Church service (Tone 6)

You did not worship the graven image,
O thrice-blessed ones,
but armed with the immaterial Essence of God, you were glorified in a trial by fire.
From the midst of unbearable flames you called on God, crying:
Hasten, O compassionate One!
Speedily come to our aid,
for You are merciful and able to do as You will.

Troparion-of-saint-Daniel-17-December-Church-Slavonic

Troparion of Saint Daniel and the three Jewish Youths Feast sung in Church (Church Slavonic)

Today 17 of December, we celebrate prophet Daniel and the the three Jewish youths Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, were chosen to serve the worldly emperor, but they preferred ofthe One God and be God's choosen people than to choose the temporary world glory.

Let us also follow the example of saint Daniel and the three Youths, and follow the Gods revelations, the divine revelation moral law nevertheless of the environment and the circumstances, because God shows mercy to those who love him and his laws. 

Let by the Holy Prophets Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah God have mercy on us all the sinners ! Amen!

Text Translated from Bulgarian from Father's Karamihailev Preach (A Priest in Bankia's Church Saint Cyric and Julita) with inclusions

Historical and other references used:

 

1. The Holy Bible also briefly mentions three other individuals of this name: The Book of Ezekiel (14:14, 14:20 and 28:3) refers to a legendary Daniel famed for wisdom and righteousness. In verse 14:14, Ezekiel says of the sinful land of Israel that "even if these three, Noah, Daniel and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness."

2. In chapter 28, Ezekiel taunts the king of Tyre, asking rhetorically, "art thou wiser than Daniel?" The author of the Book of Daniel appears to have taken this legendary figure, renowned for his wisdom, to serve as his central human character.
3. The Book of Ezra (8:2) mentions a priest named Daniel who went from Babylon to Jerusalem with Ezra.
4. The First Book of Chronicles (3:1) mentions a son of David called Daniel.

5. https://orthodoxwiki.org/Prophet_Daniel
6. https://orthodoxwiki.org/Prayer_of_the_Three_Holy_Children
7. Orthodox Church Service Liturgical Books (Chasoslov)
8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel
9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_(biblical_figure)

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.

Medieval_Bulgarian_King_Asen_portrait

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.

Byzantine_themes-in-Bulgaria-on_the_Balkans-map-11th-12th-century
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 Markianos and Martyrios a church reader and sub-deacon holy martyrs for Christ – The feast of Sub-deacons

Sunday, October 25th, 2020

saint-Markian-and-Saint-Martirios-cleargymen-church-martyrs-3rd-century
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.

Marcian_and_Martyrius_the_notaries_of_Constantinople-circa-355AD. 

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 !

Saint Mary of Egypt – a hermit who spend 47 years in the Desert a prayer helper in Christians repentance during in Great Lent in The Holy Eastern Orthodox Church

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

https://www.pravoslavie.bg/wp-content/uploads/Sveta-Maria-Egipetska

Saint Mary of Egypt  ( Ϯⲁⲅⲓⲁ Ⲙⲁⲣⲓⲁ Ⲛⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ Света Мария Египетска ) lived either in the distant year 530 Anno Dommini (After Christ).
She was born in Egypt, notable for its great help and example model for penitence and everyone that is the painful but soul cleaning process of repentance. 

Saint Mary was an ordinary person, who ran away from her parents in the age of 12 fleeing from Egypt to Alexandria. Like every young person whose blood wants a lot of enjoyment and new things, spend her teenage years until the age of 29 becoming a harlot leading a life filled with all kind of worldly enjoyment with a noisy companies, with the usual Drinking nights, the sexual immorality sweetness deeds.
 
She was spinning flax to make her daily living and often begging on the streets but together with that she had an insatiable and an irrepressible passion for lust offering sexual favors to many strangers during her countless night adventures of voluptuousness.

In her Vita (Biography), it is described she often refused the offered money for her sexual favours, even though her night partners offered her money being very satistfies with this wild lady …

After 17 years spend in this "notorious" harlot lifestyle well reassembling the modern pop and holiday stars, at the age of 29, she decided to make a far travel (perhaps out of boredom) from Alexandria to Jerusalem for the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Her motive to travel in a ship filled with pilgrimage Christians was unclean, like her lifestyle, The Vita says she thought, "Perhaps there in Jerusalem she can have even more partners she can fornicate with to satisfy her uncontrolled lust.".
As she was a homeless and poor woman to pay her pilgrimage, to pay the very expensive for the time ship passage ticket by offering sexual favors to other pilgrims.
And  continued her habitual lifestyle for a short time after arrival in Jerusalem

In Jerusalem Mary tried to Enter the Church of Holy Sepulchre where Christ Resurrected from the Death, together with the crowds of people entering the temple for pilgrimage out worldly interest but an unseen power has kept her at the front gates of the Temple. At first she thougth this is due to the Many people who were also trying to enter the Church and she tried another time, but the same happened, she couldn't move the empty space of the entrance like there was an invisible barrier preventing her to move in. A sudden remorse, pain and understanding about her impurity and sinfullness filled her with unbearable remorse …

Mary looked up the front door and saw the common icon of the Mother of God Theotokos hanging on the top and she decided to pray this unearthly beautiful never seen lady to forgive her impurity and help her enter the Church. After her short fervent warm prayer in which she promised to leave the world and become an ascetic if she is permitted to enter the Church. After which she tried another time and could enter the Church and following the long queue venerated the relic of the True Cross where the Crucifix of Christ.

saint-Mother-Mary-of-Egypt-a-great-help-for-the-repentance-of-Christian-pomoshtnica-v-pokaianie
On her way out she looked at the same icon on the top of the Entrance Door and Give thanks to the Theotokos and heard voice, telling her, "If you cross Jordan River, you will find a grorious rest". Amazed by the miracle, she immediately went to the Sant John the Baptist monastery on the Bank of Jordan River for which she has heard earlier confessed her sins in front of monastic priest  and received the Holy Communion.
On next morning following the prescription of the Virgn Mary's voice heard earlier crossed Jordan and started her angel like life in desert solitude as a hermit to spend 47 years in deep penitence, from which she had spend 17 years of unceasing fight.


She took with her only 3 loaves of bread and once over she lived on what she can find in the desert.

Approximately one year before her death, a wandering monk priest father who was crossing the desert, hoping to find a holier person than himself …

To humble his high self esteem God has given him to meet by his great providence the hermit spirutual mother.
At first he thought he is meeting a beast or an Angel as the body of Great spiritual mother was completely naked and almost unrecognizable as human from the inter severe fasting and Mary was hiding from his clothes has dissolved by the sun and the high amplitude temperatures over the many years spend in desert.

Zosimas who was at the age of 53 himself being in monks schima and had a long years of spiritual endurance amazed by the seen "ghost"-like bowed in front of the Angel equal hermit and asked her prayers and desired to ask her about spiritual things.

She asked Zosimas to toss her his mantle to cover herself with, and then she narrated her life's story to him.
After the short conversation, he was amazed by the many details regarding spiritual knowledge and the knowledge of the holy scriptures the hermit mother had (she was freely quoting parts of the Holy Bible Scriptures by heart, even though she spend 47 years in desert and never had books, neither could read !

She asked him to meet her at the banks of the Jordan, on Holy Thursday of the following year, and bring her Holy Communion. When he fulfilled her wish, she crossed the river to get to him by Walking on the surface of the water – just like Jesus Christ is described to Walk on the Water in the Scriptures.  The great Hermit Mother received Holy Communion, telling him to meet her again in the desert the following Lent to bury her body.

Saint-Maria_of_Egypt-receiving-holy-communion-from-priest-Zosima-in-the-desert

The next year, Zosimas travelled to the same spot where he first met her, some twenty days' journey from his monastery, and found her lying body there dead incorruptable and intact just like prophecised by the saint.
According to the long Vitae of the saint a miracle happened in front of the eyes of the stoned to death Zosima as a lion come out of the desert and dig a grave for the saint.

lion-burying-the-body-of-saint-mother-Mary-of-Egypt

According to an inscription written in the sand next to her head, she had died on the very night he had given her The Blood and Flesh of Christ (Holy Communition) and had been somehow miraculously transported to the place he found her, and her body was preserved incorrupt for that long time till her death. He buried her body with the assistance of a passing lion. On returning to the monastery he related her life story to the brethren, and it was preserved among them as oral tradition until it was written down by St. Sophronius, the Patriarch of Jerusalem (634–638).

Saint Mary of Egypt feast day is kept by the Orthodox according to the Fixed Cycle on April 1. On the Moveable Cycle, the Orthodox Church also commemorates her on the fifth Sunday of Great Lent on which day it is customary for the priest to bless dried fruit after the Divine Liturgy.
The Life of St Mary, by Saint Sophronius, is appointed to be read during the Matins of the Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete on the preceding Thursday.

Here is the Church troparion and kontaktion verses:

Troparion — Tone 8
The image of God was truly preserved in you, mother, / for you took up the Cross and followed Christ. / By so doing, you taught us to disregard the flesh, for it passes away, / but to care instead for the soul, since it is immortal. / Therefore your spirit, holy mother Mary, Rejoices with the angels!

Kontakion — Tone 3
Having been a sinful woman, / you became through repentance a Bride of Christ. / Having attained angelic life, / you defeated demons with the weapon of the Cross. / Therefore, most glorious Mary, you are a Bride of the Kingdom!

Holy Mother Mary of Egypt pray the Lord to have mercy on us the sinners!

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

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Easters from year 2010 to 2020

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

Easter 2000 to 2009

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


A complete list of Eastern Orthodox Pascha feast days is here

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

 

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Testament of a great saint – Testament of Saint John of Rila – Spiritual guidance for people from last ages

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

one-of-greatest-saints-of-all-times-orthodox-holy-icon-st-John-of-Rila

[1.] I, John, the humble and sinful, who has never done anything good on earth, when I came into this wilderness of Rila, I found no man over here, but only wild animals and impenetrable thickets. I settled alone in it among the wild animals, without food nor shelter, but the sky was my shelter and the earth my bed and the herbs my food. But the good Lord, for the love of whom I disregarded everything and endured hunger and thirst, frost, the heat of the sun, and corporal nakedness, did not abandon me, but like a merciful and child-loving father he lavishly satisfied all my needs. What shall I contribute to the Lord for all he has given me? Many are his benefactions to me, for he looked from his holy height at my humbleness (cf. Luke 1:48) and lent his support to me to go through everything—not I, but the might of Christ, which is in me—because every good gift and every perfect gift is from him (James 1:17).

[2.] Seeing you today gathered together in the Lord here, where, as I told you, no man has dwelled until now, but only wild animals, and foreseeing that the end of my life here is soon coming on, because of this I made up my mind, before my departure (II Tim. 4:6) from life here, to leave you the present fatherly testament of mine, just as carnal fathers leave their children an earthly inheritance of silver and gold and other property, so that when you commemorate your father in the Holy Spirit, you do not forget his testament.

[3.] I know, my beloved children in God, I know you very well, that you, being beginners, are not confirmed yet in the monk’s life, but fear not, for the Lord’s "power is made perfect in weakness" (II Cor. 12:9). Just because of this I made up my mind to write for you this rough and ignorant testament of mine, so that you will keep it always in your minds to become stronger in body and soul, in the Lord, and go forward through the virtues in fear of God. Because I believe in my God, whom I have served since my youth and to whom I submitted zealously, after my departure, this wilderness, which until now was terrible and uninhabited, will be inhabited by a multitude of desert-citizens. What was written about it will be fulfilled: "The desolate hath many more children than she which hath a husband" (Is. 54:1; Gal. 4:27).

Св. Йоан Рилски. Стенопис от XIV в. в църквата на Земенския манастир.[4.] Because of this I beg you, my children, whom I have gathered in the Lord, I beg of you, my flesh and blood, do not neglect your father’s admonition and together with the apostle I say: “I am in travail again until Christ be formed in you” (Gal. 4:19). I beg you and make you swear on the dread name of God not to violate or abandon anything after my death, but everything I have written let be carried out, as it is written and as you have promised before God. Whosoever oversteps or violates something of it, let him be damned and separated from the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, to have no share with the saints, who were pleasing to God ages ago, but let his share be with those who had crucified the Lord of Glory (Acts 7:2) and with his betrayer Judas, to be erased from “the book of life” (Phil. 4:3) and not to be inscribed [in it] with the righteous.

[5.] First of all, I bequeath to you the obligation to preserve the holy faith immaculate and unaffected by any false teaching, just as we received it from the holy fathers, without "being led away with diverse and strange teachings" (Heb. 13:9). Hold fast and keep the traditions you have heard and seen from me. Do not deviate either to the right, or to the left, but walk along the royal road. Keep yourselves carefully away from worldly fascinations and always remember why you have come out of the world, and why you have despised it and worldly things.

[6.] Now again, keep yourselves away from the avaricious snake, “for the love of money is the root of all evil” (I Tim. 6:10), according to the apostle, who calls it a second idolatry. Because for the hermit wealth consists not in silver and gold,5 but in perfect poverty, in the denial of his personal will, and in lofty humbleness. I am not telling you this as my commandments, but [I am] recalling for you the commandments of Christ. For he told his holy disciples and through them everybody who had renounced the world: "Take no gold, nor silver, nor a bag, nor copper in your belts" (Matt. 10:9) and so on. For gold and silver are great enemies of the monk and bite those who have them like a snake.

holy relics of-one of greatest saints of all times Bulgarian saint John of Rila Rila mountain bulgaria

[7.] If we, however, have undoubted hope in God, he will not leave us deprived of anything, for he himself says: “A woman may forget her children, yet will I not forget thee” (Is. 49:15). Also in another place: “But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be yours as well” (Matt. 6:33). For in the beginning, when I came to this wilderness, the sly enemy attempted to allure me, for the pious king sent to me a lot of gold.6 For the sake of God I refused to see him, for I understood that it was a perfidy of the devil. I did not accept it, but returned it to those who sent it, for I thought to myself: “If I wished to have gold and silver, and suchlike things, why came I into this terrible and impenetrable wilderness, where I found no man, but wild animals?” So I saved myself from the intrigues of the sly tempter, who endeavors to trip us up in those things, which we renounced willfully. That is why you are not to look for any of these things, “for your heavenly Father knows that you need them all” (Matt. 6:32) before your prayer [is offered].
 

[8.] Nor look to be recognized and beloved by earthly kings and princes, nor put your hope in them, leaving the heavenly King, with whom you enlisted to be soldiers and "wrestle not against flesh and blood," but "against the ruler of the darkness of this world" (Eph. 6:12). For the prophet Jeremiah also threatens us speaking so: "Cursed be the man that hopeth in man" and the rest. Enumerating the evils, he adds that "blessed is the man that hopeth in the Lord" (Jer. 17:5-8). Do not say: "What shall we eat, or drink, or in what shall we be dressed?" for the gentiles seek after these things. "Look at the birds of the air: for they neither sow nor reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" (Matt. 6:26). As soon as you have come out of the world, do not go back, neither with your body, nor with your mind, for, as it is said, "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of Heaven" (Luke 9:62).

[9.] The Apostle [Paul] too, however, teaches us to "forget what lies behind and strain froward to what lies ahead" (Phil. 3:13). What does "forgetting those things which are behind" mean, my children? Nothing else except to deliver to oblivion all those things which, coming out of the world for God’s sake, we have left and despised, and to strive towards the feat which lies before us, to which we were called by our taskmaster, our most gracious God and Lord Jesus Christ, who has enabled us to endure his gentle yoke, "For his yoke is easy, and his burden is light" (Matt. 11:30).

[10.] As the grace of the Holy Spirit brought you together, so must you endeavor to live with one heart and one mind and one spirit, directing your eyes only towards the eternal reward, which God has prepared for those who have loved him. The communal life is in every way more useful for monks than the solitary one, for solitude is not suitable for the many, but only for a few who are perfect in all monastic virtues. The common life, on the other hand, is useful in general for everybody, about which the patristic books tell us and teach us sufficiently. The spirit-speaking prophet David glorified it saying: "See now what is so good and so pleasant as for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Ps. 133:1). In addition to this, one spirit-moved ecclesiastical hymn writes in this way: "Because in this the Lord promised eternal life." But also our good Master Lord God Jesus Christ, does he not say to us himself, by his immaculate lips: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them"? (Matt. 18:20). Our God-bearing fathers say for the solitary life: "Woe to him that is alone when he falls; and there is not a second to lift him up" (Eccl. 4:10).

[11.] That is why, children, as the Holy Spirit through the mouth of the prophet glorifies the communal life, do you not neglect it either, but on the contrary, confirm it and be like "one body in the Lord" (Rom. 12:5), which has different members. Some of them form, however, the head which governs, others the feet which toil and bear, so that there is formed from all a single spiritual body in the Lord, created with a single mind and logical spirit, and directed by spiritual reasoning, in no wise having divisions. When such a dwelling and life in God is arranged, then he himself will be in the midst of you, governing you invisibly.

[12.] Do not seek the first place and authority, but remember those who have said: "If one would be first, he must be last of all, and servant of all" (Mark 9:35). Elect for yourselves preceptors and appoint superiors, whom God will show you, that is, men "of good report" (Acts 10:22) among everybody in spiritual matters and surpassing everybody in intelligence and spiritual discernment, and able to pasture well and comfortably the flock entrusted to them down the meadows of piety and of the life-giving commands of Christ. For these men it is proper to seek confirmation more from God than from our opinion.

      7. According to Goshev, "Zavetât," pp. 449–61, this author’s Parainesis had been available in a Slavonic translation since the reign of Symeon (893–927).
 

[13.] If, as our great father and monastic preceptor, the reverend Ephraem Syrus says,7 all of you begin to desire authority and presidencies, and all of you to be abbots, and all of you preceptors, and interpreters, and teachers, and among you spring up rivalries, quarrels, disputes, zealousness, calumnies, haughtinesses, envy and other passions indecorous for monks, then certainly be aware that Christ is not among you, for Christ is not the teacher of discord and dissent, but of peace and unity. For he prays to God the father for his holy disciples to be united, that is, of one mind—they themselves and everybody who believes in him through them, and says as follows: "Holy Father, keep them in thy name that they may be one, as we are" (John 17:11). In another place: "I do not pray for them only but also for those who believe in me through their word that all may be one" (John 17:20–21). If you will be one, be at peace one with another. For he said to his disciples, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you." (John 14: 27) For such is this peace of Christ, children, that again he speaks, saying, "Not as the world gives, do I give to you" (John 14:27). But this peace of Christ surpasses every mind. This is the peace, about which the prophet talks: "And his peace has no bounds." But also the apostle teaches us saying: "Strive for peace with all men and for the holiness, without which no man shall see God" (Heb. 12:14). May you have such a peace, now, among you, and let you arrange everything for God with great unity of mind and heart, so as not to enrage your own God and master.

[14.] If somebody is found among you who sows weeds, discords and other temptations, you have to eliminate at once such a man from your assembly, so that this will not be transfigured into a devouring canker, according to the apostle, and not to spread the evil among the good ones, and “lest any root of bitterness spring up and cause trouble by it, and the many be defiled” (Heb. 12:5); and the wicked wolf not trouble the peaceful flock of Christ, because this sort [of men] will appear. For of them Christ prophesies saying: "For it is necessary that temptations come; but woe to the world for temptations to sin!" (Matt. 16:7). For this and you, children, keep away from these things and do not allow them to live among you, but divert them away from yourselves as the shepherd chases away the scabby sheep from the pure flock.

[15.] Living together for the Lord’s sake and bearing the burdens of one another, do not neglect those who live in solitude and "wandering over deserts and in mountains, and in dens, and in caves of the earth, of whom the world was not worthy" (Heb. 11:38), but supply them as much as you can, in order to hold them as your petitioners before God, for the prayer of the pious may achieve much.

      8. For the translation of some of the late antique classics of ascetic literature into Slavonic, see Dujcev, "Réforme," p. 262.
 

[16.] Instruct yourselves in the Lord’s law day and night (Ps. 1:2). Read often the patristic books and try to be imitators of our holy fathers Antony, Theodosios and the others, who shone like lamps in the world with their good deeds.8 Hold firmly to the church rule, leaving or neglecting nothing of this, which is established by the holy fathers.

[17.] Manual labor must not be neglected by you, however, but work must be in your hands, and the prayer “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner” must be permanently on your lips, as well as the memory of death in your mind. This was the practice of the ancient desert fathers. They did not eat their bread in vain, and they not only lived themselves by labor of their own hands, but they gave to the needy too, and so they were not disappointed in their hope. “For,” says the apostle [Paul], "it is well that the heart be strengthened by grace; not with foods which have not benefited their adherents" (Heb. 13:9). He says too: "Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares" (Heb. 13:1–2).

[18.] Establish the newly enlightened from your own race in the faith and instruct them to abandon the indecent pagan rites and the evil customs which they keep even after the acceptance of the holy faith. But they do this because of ignorance, and thus they need to be brought to their senses.

[19.] I had much more to say to you, my beloved children in the Lord, but it is impossible to write everything. I deliver you to him who is the source of all wisdom and reason, and the true Comforter— to the Holy and life-giving Spirit, in order that he himself gives you wisdom, to bring you to your senses, to enlighten you, to teach and instruct you in every good deed.

[20.] Now I leave you our beloved brother Gregory for instructor and superior in place of me, about whom all of you testify that he is able to govern you well and according to God, and you elect him by consensus as superior, even though he does not want it, but because of obedience and humility he acquiesces to your request. After him, [choose] whomever God will show you. As for myself, I wish henceforth to live in quiet and silence, to repent my sins and to beg mercy of God. Have mercy on me, your sinful father, always in your prayers that I may receive mercy on judgment day, for I have done nothing good on earth and fear that judgment and torment prepared for sinners like me. So may the blessing of God be with you all, guarding and protecting you from all evils. Amen.

I have written this in the year from the creation of the world 6449 ( = A.D. 941) on the twenty-fifth day of the month of March.

I, the humble and most sinful John, first inhabitant of the wilderness of Rila, sign with my own hand and confirm the above-written [testament].

© 2000 Dumbarton Oaks
Trustees for Harvard University
Washington, D.C.
Printed in the United States of America

Rila: Testament of John of Rila

Date: 941 Translator: Ilija Iliev

Here is also some more information of Rila Monastery for those who want to learn more what is consequence of a living of a great saint.

The monk John laid the foundations for what was to become the greatest monastery of medieval Bulgaria circa 930–31 in the mountains to the east of the Struma river valley in western Bulgaria.2 Born around 876–880, not much more than a dozen years after Boris-Michael (852–889), ruler of the Bulgars, had accepted Christianity in 865, John began his monastic career at the monastery of St. Dimiter near his birthplace, then lived for many years as a hermit. His final settlement was a site north of the Rila river, to the east of the present Rila monastery. Remains of the foundations of the first buildings are to be seen in the meadows south of the hermitage dedicated to St. Luke.3 Jealous of his independence, John refused to welcome the Bulgarian ruler Peter (927–969), who came to pay him homage. John’s Testament, translated below, was issued March 25, 941 to regulate the cenobitic community and is his only literary work. John then retired to his accustomed solitary life, and died on August 18, 946. He was a popular subject among hagiographers; seven lives in Bulgarian and two in Greek were composed between the twelfth and the nineteenth centuries.

 

B. Subsequent History of the Monastery in Medieval Times

Little is known about the Rila monastery during the Byzantine dominion over Bulgaria (1018– 1185). The earliest Slavonic life of John of Rila, the so-called "Popular Life," was composed in Bulgarian towards the end of this period, as was the first life in Greek, authored by George Skylitzes, an official on the staff of the Byzantine governor at Srédetz (modern Sofia) during the reign of Emperor Manuel I Komnenos (1143–1180), that now survives only in a Slavonic translation.5 The monastery’s fortunes revived considerably later during the Second Bulgarian Empire (1186–1396). Rila and several other monasteries, richly endowed by the Bulgarian rulers with new lands and villages, seem to have enjoyed considerable prosperity in the fourteenth century.6 There is also a charter of 1378 preserved in the monastery of the last Bulgarian king, Ivan Shishman (1371– 1393), that confirms the tax exemptions of the monastery’s existing properties and awards new lands as well; it refers to similar charters now lost that earlier Bulgarian monarchs had awarded to the monastery dating back to the middle of the thirteenth century.

Earlier in the fourteenth century, Rila had benefited also from a local patron, the protosebast Hreljo, a local lord and sometime vassal of the Serbian tsar Stephen Dusan (1331–1355), who erected a new monastery on the site of the existing Rila monastery, to the west of John’s original foundation, which continued in operation as the "Old Hermitage." Hreljo built a 75-foot protective tower, still preserved, in 1335. It included living quarters for Hreljo and his family as well as a chapel on the top floor dedicated to the Transfiguration.7 A brick inscription records Hreljo’s erection of this structure. In 1343 he also built a stone church, which survived until 1834. There were similar towers built at this time for the monasteries on Mount Athos (see (51) Koutloumousi [A4]), and there is one still existing at the Hilandar monastery. Forced to become a monk at the order of Dusan, who distrusted his loyalty, Hreljo was strangled to death by hired assassins in his tower in 1343, probably also at Dusan’s instigation. Hreljo’s gravestone, broken into many pieces, is preserved in the monastery’s museum and speaks of his entry into the monastery and unnatural death.8

In 1385, Dometian, the monastery’s superior, had John’s Testament recopied while hiding away the original along with the foundation’s other valuables for fear of the Turks, who had taken Srédetz in 1382. At about this time too Evtimij, the last Bulgarian patriarch of Turnovo, wrote his widely popular version of the Life of John of Rila.

 

C. Rila under Ottoman Rule

The Turkish sultans Beyazid I (1389–1402) and Mehmet I (1413–1421) issued firmans confirming the privileges Rila had received earlier from Bulgarian monarchs, but this did not save the monastery from later depredations, with the result that it was abandoned by the middle of the fifteenth century.9 There was a revival, however, in the second half of the century. Around 1460, the three brothers David, Joasaf and Teofan, sons of a certain Jakov, bishop of Krupnik, worked to strengthen and repair the damaged buildings. Shortly thereafter, a pact was reached in 1466 with the Russian monastery of St. Panteleemon on Mount Athos obliging Rila and the former institution to assist one another as needed in the future. Permission was obtained from the Turkish authorities in 1469 to transport the relics of John of Rila from Turnovo, the old capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire, where they had been since 1195. The translation considerably increased the Rila monastery’s prestige. A dependency (metoh) dedicated to Sts. Peter and Paul was built to the southwest of the main monastery in 1478.

Firmans issued by sultans Beyazid II (1481–1512) in 1498, Selim I (1512–1520) in 1519, and Murad III (1574–1595) confirmed the monastery in the possession of its properties, but like the earlier series of firmans, these did not succeed in protecting the foundation from the depredations of various brigands.10 Beginning in 1558–59, the monks succeeded in establishing direct relations with Russia, whose rulers they hoped would be sympathetic to their complaints of oppression at the hands of their Ottoman masters.

Despite extremely difficult conditions, which continued well into the second half of the eighteenth century, including attacks by robbers in 1766 and 1779, the monastery not only managed to survive but served as a kind of center of Bulgarian culture. Additional churches were built as dependencies towards the end of the eighteenth century and in the early years of the nineteenth century, then a complete reconstruction of the main monastery was begun in 1816.11 A fire in 1833, however, destroyed all the buildings there except for Hreljo’s tower and his fourteenthcentury stone church. The monastery was rebuilt once again in 1834 while the church was torn down to make room for a larger structure; both the monastery and the nineteenth-century church still stand today, along with Hreljo’s tower, the only medieval structure preserved on the site. Analysis Experts have endorsed the essential authenticity of the document.12 It is an example of the testamentary genre of monastic foundation documents, whose author seems to have made some use of (3) Theodore Studites and even (4) Stoudios.13 There are indeed some resemblances to the former document, such as the statement of purpose [3], the prohibition of changes [4], and the admonition to preserve the faith [5]. The use of the wilderness topos in the brief foundation history [1] also has a close parallel in (29) Kosmosoteira [1], a twelfth-century document. On the whole, however, this is a distinct document with its own concerns for the ordering of monastic life at Rila.

 

A. Lives of the Monks

Like his Stoudite predecessors, John of Rila endorses [10] the cenobitic lifestyle, but also urges his monks to establish [15] relations with and support neighboring solitaries. This coexistence of cenobitic and eremitic lifestyles, prefigured in John’s own career, would be one of the notable characteristics of Byzantine monasticism. The author demonstrates an acquaintance with the ascetic tradition of late antiquity, quoting [13] Ephraem Syrus and recommending [16] the study of patristic literature, in particular the Lives of St. Antony, founder of anchoritic monasticism, Theodosios the Koinobiarch, “and others” as well as respecting canon law. John also invokes [17] patristic authority for the practice of manual labor.

 

B. Constitutional Matters

While there is genuine disciplinary content in this document, its chief purpose, as in most testaments, was to designate [20] a successor, here the monk Gregory. John then announces his intent to retire into seclusion as part of an arrangement for assuring an orderly succession to the superiorship that is similar to that proposed in the eleventh century in (22) Evergetis [13]. C. Financial Matters

Aside from the commitment to self-sufficiency that seems implicit in his endorsement of manual labor, there are no indications of how John expected the foundation to support itself financially. He proudly asserts [7] that he refused a royal donation, perhaps an annuity like the solemnia attested in Byzantium in the tenth century, and he advises [8] his community not to seek favors from “earthly kings and princes” [8]. This deliberate shunning of material support is unusual. Many later founders did not fear for the independence of their foundations when accepting imperial largess or tax exemptions (e.g., (13) Ath. Typikon [36] or (19) Attaleiates [22]), nor did Rila itself long after John’s death. As Dujcev ("Réforme," p. 263) surmised, John probably was concerned about Bulgarian monasticism being too submissive to secular authority, understandably given the prior history of Bulgarian monasticism under royal patronage.

 

Understanding the Christian Orthodox Faith / What does Orthodox Christian faith stands for and it differs from Roman Catholicism and Protestanism

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

I’ve stumbled upon a very educative videos, which might be interesting for both Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholics and Protestants.
The video contains an Orthodox Christian fathers who explain with simple words the difference between the Orthodox Christian Faith and the rest of the most popular Christian faiths present today. Watch learn and enjoy! 🙂


Understanding the Christian Orthodox Faith – Part 1


Understanding the Christian Orthodox Faith – Part 2


Understanding the Christian Orthodox Faith – Part 3

The videos also questions very important questions about Orthodox Christianity which I believe non-orthodox christians could truly benefit and hopefully some might even turn to orthdoxy.

The Celebration of the day of All Bulgarian Church Saints in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

All Bulgarian Saints Icon

Today it’s the Sunday in which we the Bulgarian Orthodox Christians celebrate The Day of All the Bulgarian Saints
We have plenty of saints in our Bulgarian Christian history, many known and even more unknown ones. That feast is actually one of the greatest local church commemoration of the Christian saints who gave their life for the building, growing and preventing of the orthodox bulgarian church and the orthodox christian faith througout Bulgaria’s lands.
An almost complete list of the orthodox bulgarian saints can be seen here
However many are not mentioned since there are no historical documents about the countless victims (martyrs) of Ottoman muslics who were beheaded or violently killed because of his refusal to accept the Islam.
Here I will just mention few of the saints that are mostly venerated in the realm of the bulgarian orthodox christian faith:

1. st. Enravota (Prince Boyan)
is considered the first Bulgarian Saint martyr who gave his life to show hthe truthfulness of the Christian Orthodox faith.
His most notable speak is also a prophecy concerning the bulgarian orthodox church which was made before his martyrdom for Christ.
The prophecy saint Enravota has made about the Christianity establishment in Bulgaria is as follows:

This faith, which I now die for, will spread and increase across the whole Bulgarian land, although you may wish to oppress it with my death. In any case, the Sign of Christ will establish itself and churches of God will be built everywhere and pure priests will serve the pure God and will deliver “sacrifice of praise and confession” to the invigorating Trinity. Idols, and priests as well, and their ungodly temples, will crumble and will turn into nothing, as if they had not existed. Besides, you alone (to Malamir), after many years, will cast away your ungodly soul without receiving anything in reward for your cruelty.

2. St. Jonh of Rila (wonderworker) was a hermit in the Rila mountain who is a patron saint of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. He is notable for his great spiritual purity achievement in his anchoretic life. Many miracles and healing has been received by people who has prayed and asked the saint to intercede in their behalf to God. He is known as the first bulgarian monk, and as an initiator of the first bulgarian orthodox christian monastery.
His uncorruptable body is found for pilgrimage until this very day in the monastery he became a founder of Rila Monastery .

2. St. Brothers Cyril and Methodius Who were the saint brothers who venerated for enlightening the slavonic nations with writting letters. They’re actually the inventors of the old Bulgarian also known as Old Church Slavonic. They and their followers were the first to translate the holy bible into the newly created language – the Old Bulgarian.

3. st. Knyaz (King) Boris-Mihail (Boris-Michael) . He is known for his baptism of the Bulgarian Nation and the initiator of the creation of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church as well as a brilliant statesman.
After baptising most of the bulgarian intelligentia and rooting up the Orthodox Christian faith in Bulgaria, he abdicted voluntery from his throne, leaving his son (Vladimir) to rule Bulgaria and started a voluntery monastic life in poverty.
When his governing son tried to reinforce back the old pagan bulgarian Tengriism belief (e.g. the belief in Tangra (Tengri) he left the monastery took back the power (defeating his son) and blinded Vladimir.
Then he returned back to the monastery and spend his remaining life as a monk.

4. st. Clement of Ohrid was one of the Seven Bulgarian Apostles
Born in 840, a Slav from southern Macedonia, he established a monastery at Okhrida and a bishopric at Velica not far away. He is regarded as the founder of this primatial see and the first Slav to become a bishop.
His extensive apostolate took the form of education of the clergy and of the laity, to whom he preached a series of sermons in Slavonic, suitable for neophytes and explaining the principal feasts of the liturgical year. Clement died at Okhrida on 27 July 916.
5. St. Nahum ucceeded St. Clement of Ohrid as bishop. Converted in Moravia by Cyril and Methodius, he journeyed with them to Rome and helped them with their translations into the vernacular: he is venerated in Russia as well as Bulgaria. Other companions of Clement called Sava and Angelar are also venerated with him. In different times and different places they all contributed to the fulfilment of the missionary plans of Cyril and Methodius.
6. Saint Zlata of Meglen has endured a martyrdom for Christ. She refused to accept muslim faith and has firmly confessed her Orhtodox Christian faith.
She was given many chances to accept muslim faith by some Turks and therefore save her life but she refused and was cast into a prison for 3 months flogging until her blood soacked the ground.
Finally, they suspended her upside down and lit a fire, to suffocate her with the smoke; but God was with Zlata, and gave her strength in suffering.
At last they hanged her from a tree and cut her into small pieces. Thus, this brave virgin gave her soul up to God, and went to dwell in Paradise on October 13, 1796. Pieces of her relics were taken by Christians to their homes for a blessing.

7. 26 Martyrs of the Zographou Monastery on Mt. Athos at the hands of the Crusaders they have endured martyrdom for Christ, from the Roman Catholic Crusaders. Though the were warned that the enemies of Christ are coming to the Zograph Monastery they refused to leave the place and was burned alive by the unpious Crusaders.
There is many others to be mentioned but I neither have the knowledge nor I’m worthy to speak about them.
All Bulgarian Saints new icon representation

Let by their Holy Prayers God have mercy on us the sinners.