Posts Tagged ‘church’

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

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

Sveti Dimitar Solunski_kopie-ikona

Bulgarian icon of Saint Demetrius

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Saint Demetrius Russian Icon

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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Bulgarian Medieval Icon of Saint Demetrius the Myrrh-Bringer

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

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

 

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

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

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

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The Byzantine themes (or districts) of Bulgaria and Paristrion 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Saint Demetrius Bulgarian icon year 1824

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The names of the Twelve apostles of Christ – Feast of the Twelve Glorious and Primal Apostles in Eastern Orthodox Church (30th of June)

Wednesday, June 30th, 2021

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Jesus and his Twelve Apostles, fresco with the Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome

One day after the June 29 the Feast of The Glorious and First among Apostles Peter and Paul  on 30th of June according to so called new calendar in the Eastern Orthodox Church comes, the remembrace of Feast of the gathering of 12 Glorious apostles (Σύναξη των Αγίων Δώδεκα Αποστόλων).

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The Secret Supper (Christ and the 12 Apostles iconographer Simon Ushakov y. 1685 (Jude the Iscariot the traitor without a halo)

"The names of the 12 Holy Apostles are: Simon (called Peter), Andrew his brother, Jacob the Zabedee and John his brother, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Mathew (tax collectors), James, son of Alphaeus and Levi called (Thadeus), Simon The Canonite and Jude the Iscariot who has betrayed Christ"

(Gospel of Mathew 10:2-4)

 

13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

(Luke 6:13-16)

15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)

16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.

17 For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.

18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

19 And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.

20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.

21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, (Acts 1:15-26)

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The Synaxis of the Twelve Apostles. Russian, 14th century, Moscow Museum.

"Jesus had other desciples as well that were seventeen and other circles of desciples around each of the pupils, however they have alwasys been considered less venerable as they did not been so close to Christ and did not understand so well the mysterios of Christ's teaching and did not persevere as mcuh as the twelve and the seventeen of desciples. Those had been been distinguished among the King, those who have been the closest people to the Teacher" (Saint John Chrysostomos)

In Constantinople Saint King Constantine ( y. 274 – 337 ), has built a famous Church dedicated to the 12 Apostles. In historian documents there is data for a first time the feast is celebrated in the V-th century.

While the memory of each apostle has a separate day in the Church calendar yearly circle, they 12 apostles are sharing the same honor, because the Holy Scriptures and the Tradition glorifious their high efforts for building the Church on top of the corner stone that is Jesus Christ himsef and for their perseverance to accept martyrdom for Christ, thus to accent this they're is this special feast the Gathering of the 12 Glorious Apostles on 30th of June. As the Holy Scriptures says they're a friends of God (John 15:14), and when the Son of Man (Jesus) sits on the glory of his power, they all are to sit on 12 thrones, to judge the 12 Hebrew tribes (Mathew 19:28). 

In first centuries the Church has been feasting all the apostles together, Later she has included saint Apostle Paul, again the full list of names of the apostles are as follows:

1. Saint Apostle Peter the First Called (commemorated 29 June and 16 of January)

2. Saint apostle Andrew the First Called – as has been called by Christ together with Peter (30 November)

3.  Saint Jacob the Zebedee (30 April)

4. Saint Apostle John the Zebedee – the evangelist (26 September and 8 May)

5. Saint Apostle Philip (14 November)

6. Saint apostle Bartholomew or Nathanael (11 June and 25 August)

7. Saint apostle Thomas (6 October)

8. Saint apostle Mathew – evangelist (16 November)

9. Saint Apostle Jacob – son of Alpheus 9 October)

10. Saint Apostle Jude – fleshly brother of Christ (son of Joseph), called also Thadeus and Levi (19 June)

11. Saint Apostle Mathew (Mathias) (9 August)

12. Saint Apostle Paul  (Paul of Tarsus) (29 June)

The Church books define the feast day as the "Gathering of the Twelve", because this number of 12 apostles is initial and depics Christ essence of Completeness (as he is All in everything) Mathew (10:1-5)

 

Pentecost the Birthday of the Church and the receival of the Gifts of Holy Spirit of Faith, Hope, Love for the Mankind

Saturday, June 19th, 2021

For one more year it is Pentecost 50 days after the celebrated Easter (Resurrection of Christ), we celebrate the feast that marked the birth of the Church as a Body of Christ that is binding all its members us the ordinary people who are baptized in the Name of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.

Pentecost is a day of mystery that turned human history, as the same Spirit who was in Christ and has been in the Father in the Holy Trinity has descended from Heaven sent as a helper to each and every believer in Christ to strenghten and guide him in his narrow path to the Kingdom of Heaven and the Eternal salvation promised by the Savior Christ.

There is many books written about Pentecost but no book or intellectual thought is capable to transpond one's experience of receiving the Holy Spirit in the Soul and Heat of man. This glorious event is experienced by every Christian during baptism and the following Mystery of Chrismation when the Priest baptizes a new member in the name of God and is experienced, by us in the mystery of repentence when crying for our bad deeds and transgressions of the law of God, we cry in sorrow to God asking for forgiveness and renewal. The descent of the Holy Spirit over us is supernatural event that put the beginning of the contemporary understanding in our contemporary civillization of supernaturality and the realm of spirits as we understand them today where the Spirit of God is over all things.

On Pentecost it is the Holy Spirit who descended towards the Holy Apostles giving them the Super natural powers to Heal The Sick, Prophecise, speak in all human tongues, chase away evil spirits and do multitude of unseen wonderworks in human history that are continuing even to this day in the Church. The Holy Spirit has gifted all Church members with the gifts of the Spirit of Faith, Hope and Love, Endurance, Manhood, and all the virtues of man that were in Christ not because of a human effort but for the Love of God for man.
The abiding of the Holy Spirit in man is a never ending Heaven and a bliss granted for man for free. Saint Seraphim of Sarov has well described in his Conversation with Motovilov what is the experience to have the God the Holy Spirit in One's self.

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A bit more on the facts around the Descent of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles is in my prior article here , though this is just a very basic attempt to transfer the meaning of the feast as definitely all the books on the earth and all the human knowledge put together is like a drop in the universe compared to Holy Spirit itself.

The Spirit of Truth which the world could not comprehend was sent by Jesus Christ first to the apostles and the desciples and then to each and every Christian member of the One Holy Eastern Orthodox Church throughout human history until the end of ages.

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One of the most ancient icons of the Pentecost Syriac Rabbula Gospels 6th century

Happy Feast to All Christians ! Happy Birthday Church !

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

Sunday, October 25th, 2020

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

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

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 !

8 October year 927 the feast of Bulgarian Orthodox Church become autocephalous independent from Constantinople

Monday, October 12th, 2020

On 8 of October 927 the Bulgarian Orthodox Church has become autocephalous, this historical event is quite memorable for me as it happens to be almo  my birthday.
Thus I found it worthy to write few raw lines on the feast. This post will probably will not be of interest to any serious historian but still might be interesting for people keen on history.

The requirement of Church organization on the Bulgarian lands that is indepedent from the center of Christianity as of then Constantinople has existed with the Glorious and World changing event of receiving Holy Baptism of the Ruler of Bulgaria Saint King Boris-Mikhail in year 864 from Constaniple's Emperor Mikhail III who ruled Byzantine Empire from year (842 – 867).
 

saint-Apostle-equal-King-Boris-Mihail-The-Baptizer-of-Bulgaria
The event for the history of the Civilillized world and the Christian history wordwide is only comparable to the act of saint emperor Constantine's Milano Edict  The Edict of Milan (LatinEdictum Mediolanense, Greek: Διάταγμα των ΜεδιολάνωνDiatagma tōn Mediolanōn) was the February AD 313 agreement to treat Christians benevolently within the Roman Empire. Which opened the doors for Christianity to not only be equal religion within the empire but even to become official religion for the Eastern Roman (Byzantine empire).

Milanos-Edict-year-313-313ad-milanedicta

Assembly of Synod of Holy Fathers

The Milano's edict is today little known both in Eastern and Western world as people have more interest for money and business than to truth, virtues and history, so I find it useful to share with readers this forgotten history …

saint-emperor-Constantine

Saint Emperor Constantine

Western Roman Emperor (and later canonized for Saint) Constantine I and Emperor Licinius, who controlled the Balkans, met in Mediolanum (modern-day Milan) and, among other things, agreed to change policies towards Christians following the Edict of Toleration issued by Emperor Galerius two years earlier in Serdica (today the city of Sofia Bulgaria).
The document is found in Lactantius' De Mortibus Persecutorum and in Eusebius of Caesarea's History of the Church.

It was already a set path for Europe to become Christian and the majority of people and missionaries all through europe has spread the Good words of the Lord Jesus Christ throgh the European lands. Many missionaries both in Greece and the Balkans as well as the far lands of Kiev and North has been preaching for the coming centuries. Christianity has become already official religion for big part of the civillized (non-barbarian) world such as the Hellenes, France, Germany, Hungary,Romania, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia etc.. Monastic life has been also well established all through europe and many missionaries has come from the far deserts of Egypt to baptize and teach Christianity in the West in Ireland, England and even the Netherlands in the 7th century. Rome as a Christian center of the Western Empire even though the hardships has established and in the rule of Charlemagne has seriously expanded Christianity in the west.

The largest unbaptized lands with a paganism at that time seems to be few tribes such as the Vikings, the Gotts, The Traks and perhaps the Slavs. The biggest part of which seems to be the Slavs who has been settled in a large parts of Balkans Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia as well as Croatia, Chech, Poland and even in far Moscow.

This people has been following a peaceful paganism and has been still unenlightened. Thanks to Saint Cyril and Methodius and 7 pupils Saint Gorazd, saint Naum, saint Sava, saint Angelarius and Saint Clement of Ohrid (known as Ohridski) tireless work for Christ to translate the Holy Bible in the so called Church-Slavonic which in practice is a form of Ancient Bulgarian (in Glagolitic Script – Glagolica) which was mainly used before saint Clement Ohridski and other pupils of Saint Methodius such as the medieval famous author of many early Christian books Constantine of Preslav who worked in the Preslav Scriptorium and Christian school.
Constantine-of-Preslav-a-Holy-Church-books-and-bible-translator-and-copier-Konstantin_Preslavski

Constantine of Preslav

Saint King Boris-Mikhail  in that time took the right decision to baptize his large for that time lands populated by Bulgarians and Slavs under his rule and enlighten them with the Gospel and faith in the Jesus Christ and the true God the Holy Trinity (the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit).

It took him quite a long to decide whether to baptize his country citizens with the faith from the Western Empire (The Latins) or the Eastern Empire (the Byzantines) who at that time has been in process of creating and establishing the Great Church Schism from year 1054, and due to that he led a corresponce to both Byzantine empire as well as pope Nicolas I. 

One of the questions asked to both the The Pope and the Byzantine emperor has been about his desire of the Bulgarian Church to be an independent Church with independent head and ruleship that is able to take an independent decisions for its destiny. He wanted that as he was understanding the importance for the Cultarial freedom of Bulgaria from Helinism or the Latins. As he found that the Pope can't offer him too much and considering the closeness of the Byzantine empire to his lands as well seeing the Eastern Christianity to be more indepth and filled with beauty he has baptized from Byzantia and has received a Byzantian archibishop.
In the beginning the church services and the preach in Bulgaria has been in Greek and due to the common Bulgarian and Slavs couldn't understand Christianity. Thanks to the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius and the acceptance of their pupils by saint King Boris slowly in Preslav and Pliska in 9th 10th century and Ohrid in middle of 10th – 11th century a Spiritual Schools and Scriptoriums has been established which allowed a few years later gradually to have for Bulgaria the Holy Gospel and Church services to be served in the Bulgarian language (in the better understood by both Bulgariand and Slavs cyrllic).

saint-Boris-I-Michael-Baptism-of-Bulgarians-Ioan-Skilica

The baptism of Bulgarians Ioan Skilica (John Skilica)

Saint King Boris-Mikhail completed his earthly life as a humble Monk in the last years of his life, he has put on the throne Vladimir Rasate who tried to bring back paganism and faith in Tangra after his death. When heard about the evilness of his first born son and the hostility to Christianity and his plans to overrule the work of his father Saint King Boris is famous for getting out of the Monastery fighting again his son and with a Miracle about which is written even to the Pope to have win with his weaker supporter army against Vladimir-Rasate. He has blinded his son and put on the throne his second Son, King Simeon who has been officially later recognized by Romans and Byzantines the title usually only given to Byzantine Emperors  – Basileus of Bulgarians (Emperor of Bulgarians).

On the summoned in year 893 Council of Preslav together with the enthronization of King Simeon as a Bulgarian Ruler it was taken as a decision to change the Greek language in the Church with the Old Bulgarian (liked to be called in Russian sources as Church Slavonic). During his governship King Simeon (893 – 927) has gradually changed the Greek higher clergy with a Bulgarian and Created the Bulgarian Exarchate.

Veliki-Preslav_fortress_main-ancient-Christian-center-in-the-10th-century-on-the-Balkans

Veliki Preslav Fortress 

The-medieval-world-famous-Golden_Church_in_Veliki_Preslav-the-round-Church-ruins.

The Golden Church Saint John also known as the Round Church built by Simeon I the Great in Preslav built in 907, aiming to show the
high importance of the new established Bulgarian Church – Known to have been one of most beautiful Churches in Europe

During the rulership of Simeon's (second son) successor saint King Peter I (927 – 970 ) rise on throne, thanks to his wise politics and a lot of efforts to increase the prestige and spirituality in the Church following the path of his father. The Bulgarian Church has been recognized officially by the byzantine Emperor as an independent Church with a Mother Church the Church of Constantinople (today governed by the Ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew).

During the diplomatic negotiations between the King and the ruler of Byzantines Roman Lakapin  in year 927, the emperor has re-ratified the earlier disputed
as well the Church canonical uplifting ordination  of the head of Bulgarian Church the exarch to be a Patriarch of Bulgaria.

8-october-927-the-bulgarian-church-becomes-autocephalous-independent-1

Byzantines has always questioned the title of "Basileus of Bulgarians" with which King Simeon I the Great used to sign his documents, as Basileus was believed to be only supremacy title of the Byzantine emperor. The proud Byzantines did not wanted to accept another new-born Nation with less than 3 centuries of history could be their rivalry neither political nor spiritual and morever to be on the same importance in the known World with authority of the Eastern Emperor.

The archives of Vatican keeps a copies of the decision of the emperor's synclitis (meeting) for the recognition of the Bulgarian Patriarchy officially on 8th of October.
For a First Bulgarian Patriach was selected Patriach Damian (Drystyr) nowadays the city of Silistra with a patriachal seat in medieval city of Veliki Preslav (Great Preslav). Soon after the Patrairchal seat was moved to Silistra.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d7/Sv.Ahil_church.jpg/1280px-Sv.Ahil_church

Saint Ahil Church (Bulgarian Patriarchy) main seat in Prespa

The Eparchy of Dorostol has been existing even to this day, even though the exarchs and patriachal seat and patriachs through the centuries has been concentrated in the mother patriarchal city for our Church Preslav and in Ohrid as well as later for II centuries in city of Turnovo until 1393 when in city of Tarnovo (Trnovo) Fall raided by the Ottoman Turkish invaders. 
During the Ottoman's slavery of Bulgaria it has ceased to exist and has been reduced by the Turkish mostly under the influence of Patriarch of Constantinople to Archibishopship center in Ohrid.

History-of-Bulgarian-Patriarchy-Patriarshia-of-Tarnovo

The Patriarchal Church Ascension of Christ in Carevetz (The city of Kings) Hill Turnovo

After the Liberation of Bulgarian in the Russian-Turkish Bulgarian liberation war (1877 – 1878) in which Bulgaria has been liberated. The Bulgarian Church has been an Exarchy for a while in a dark period when the Bulgarian Church was recognized by the Phanariots (The Greeks). The Schism put over the Bulgarian Church was removed in 22 February 1945 y., few weeks after the enthronement of Patriarch Stephan I of Bulgaria. Unfortunately the next years coincided with the dark years of the imposed totalitarian regime of the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP), which led to active persecution of the Church, the humilation and torture of priest and Church leaders and martyrdom of many clergymen and people who were against the unhuman kind of the new power that take over.

Boris_Nevrokopski-Metropolitan-a-saint-killed-by-the-Communistic-atheist-regime-in-Bulgaria

One of those many martyrs for Christ is a supposedly a saint Boris Razumov of Nevrokop who was killed by a order of communists by an orthodox priest to his own eparchy who has joined the party by the order of the BCP.

 

Happy New Church Year ! – The Eastern Orthodox Church Year celebrated every 1st of September and some history on the Indiction

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

Eastern_Orthodox-Church-new-year-indiction

Happy New Year, Happy New Church Year !  🙂

On first of September every year the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church to which I belong is celebrating the beginning of a new Church Calendar feast year.

It is a common practice here in Bulgaria (as we are one of the 14 Eastern Orthodox Churches worldwide) it is a tradition to serve holy liturgies across the country and prayers are lifted to heaven for the well being of the Bulgarian nation and the world.

In the past the beginning of the new year was called also the beginning of the indiction.
In the VI-th century at the time of Emperor Justinian The Great in Byzantine Empire was introduce the Cyclical Calendar based calculation of days (based on indictions ) – this is delivered from latin word indictio (meaning announcement).
Indictions
were celebrated originally on a cyclical periods of 15 years when the а financial review of the properties (possessions) of citizens  that were taxated.

In the Latin Empire the word indictio has been used to mark the exact amount of taxes owed each year and in this is how with the beginning of the new indiction was beginning the new financial year of the empire according to some historians the origin of indictions system has been originating from Egypt.

The official byzantine calculation of indictions begun at the time of Saint Emperor Constantine on 1st of September year 312 A.D.
Historically it is interesting fact both in the Western and in the Eastern Latin empire March was another time marking a New Year …

On 1st of September in the Church it is accepted to read the Bible chapter where Jesus Christ red in the synagogue the prophecy of Isaiah (Is. 61:1-2) for the occurance of the favorable year of God. The Byzantines see in that reading a reference of the Lord for a celebration of a New Year. 

In the Menologion of Basyl II from the 10th century it is said "From that time, he has granted to us the Christians this feast".

Primary_Chronicle_Povesti_Vremeninnih_let-baptizmal-of-Olga

It is interesting fact that in Byzantium this Bible reading was red in the Church by the Patriarch in Hagia Sophia Church Cathedral or another Church where it was common for him to serve Holy Liturgy on that date.

In Russia even though the Baptismal and Christianization of the nation until 15th century the Church New year begun on 1st of March. This is evident from all medieval manuscripts including The most famous and among most ancient Russian manuscript written by the eminent Nestor so called Primary Manuscript (Primary Chronicle) also called Tale of Begone Years.
 

With an Emperor decree of King Peter the I-st (The Great) the new year in Russia is transferred to 1st of January.

Saint_Simeon_Stylites-Stulpnik

Saint Simeon the Stylites

Our Bulgarian Orthodox Church by tradition according to the main Church service instructions book – the Typikon marks on the first day of the new year as a very important "tiny Lord feast" and has tradition to celebrate the memory of saint Simeon the Stylites who spend mostly all his life praying on a Stylite and was a notable ascet of the Orthodox Church.

 

Can you swim after communion? – What is better not to do after receiving the holy sacraments

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

is-it-allowed-to-swim-after-holy-communion
I took the sacraments this Sunday, and as we're on a holiday and we go to swimming daily. I never swim eucharist in my wife, so a logical came is it allowed to swim after receiving the holy sacraments?

I've googled around to see for an answer but it seems from what I find there is no official plain answer telling whether swimming is allowed or not after communion.

As there is no official church position on this question, this question is solved privately with your priest (spiritual father), if you have such, if not you can do it according to your own conscious.

I've red there are some priests who say, the best practice is not to swim after communion at least 9 hours after holy communion.

For monks the question to swim or not after receiving the holy sacraments is clearly answered as monks are not allowed to go to a beach / undress or wear a swimwear. The reason for that swimming could turn to pleasing the flesh and even a passion in some cases.

otec_Georgi_Jeglarci_communion_chalice_holy-potir

For layman swimming is allowed, but it is dangerous to swim for the only reason, one can hurt himself during swimming and there might be bleeding and it is well known rule to try to follow not to have bleeding or open wounds during communion. Of course in some cases for old people who believe and take the holy blood and flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ with permanent open wounds this rule cannot be observed and with such there might be exceptions. But the general rule for healthy people to follow is to preserve themselves from bleeding after receiving holy communion.
Also an interesting thing that is good to observe after communion is not to take haircut on the same day, cut nails and even it is recommended to not take shower the same day.
The reason to generally try to not wash the body is because the blessing and renewal of the body by the holy spirit which is received in form of Christ's blood and flesh is bathing us and we don't want to wash out this blessing.

Christ-giving-holy-sacraments-to-holy-apostle-Paul

Of course to shower or not after communion is a personal decision. Also the one of the reasons not to haircut on same day as holy communion is it is usual to get a shower after haircut and it is better not to do that. No bleeding on the same day as communion is because we physically receive holy Christ's body and flesh and his holy gifts run through all our body including in the blood and we don't want to have to waste and "spill" this grace through bleeding.
Also on day of receiving holy sacraments it is church rule not to kiss, not to spit and walking barefoot (for the danger that you can hurt yourself and have a blood spill).

lastsupper-holy-orthodox-icon-what-to-do-after-holy-communion

If for some reason you fall and bleed the proper way to deal with the situation is to burn the tissue with the blood.

The number 9 hours to wait is significant in that it reminds us of the hours our Lord Jesus Christ spent to pay our debts with his holy blood and thus grant us salvation. This is the way of the cross starting from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM, the trial, crucifixion, death, and laying in the tomb took a total of 9 hours.
Also trying consedering not to spit, not chew chewing gum, wash, take shower and kiss is important as it is a mean of watchfulness and as Christians we have to be watchful, at least some minor time after being allowed to re-join the Holy Body of Christ through the holy sacraments gifts in Church.

If you're bringing to communion your kids it is a different story and you can be less vigilent to obseve all this, as it is impossible to know what a kid could do.
It should be known except spitting, right after receiving the holy communion all is not a must observe rules but it is good ones to follow.

Most of the information of this post is based on Coptic Oriental Orthodox forum with questions and answers on wha it is better not to do after communion, anyways as we Eastern Orthodox Chrsitians are so close in faith to Copts, the answers there are true for us too.

Saint Anthony’s Cave and the Coptic Orthodox Church / Extreme Pilgrim – Ascetic Christianity movie

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

saint Anthony icon and desert Christian hermit fathers saint Anthony Cave and monastery

 

I held interest in Coptic Orthodox Church. As I had meet a Coptic Orthodox Christian and his faith has significantly impressed me. Before some time I've found on youtube a video talking about one Australian person who from Atheist become Coptic Christian and later choose a living as Desert Monk Father in  one of the most ancient Christian monasteries monastery  Saint Anthony The Great. Father's Lazarus until this very day lives in Saint Anthony's Monastery. You can see an interesting documentary about fr. Lazarus "different life"  in the Last Anchorite a Movie about Coptic Oriental Orthodox hermit life.

Every Orthodox Christian as well as any Christianity historian should know very well the name of st. Anthony the Great. St. Anthony is probably the father of Monastic life and the monastic tradition started by his followers is living in various Christian monasteries (predominary Eastern Orthodox and Coptic Orthodox) all around the world. The monastery was established in year 356 by direct followers of the Great saint. Saint Anthony himself was illiterate but same time achieved holiness and God knowledge which only few in whole human history did. Recently my personal thoughts on Human Progress, ProgRes = (Programmed Resources), were leading in the same path testifying myself that the the path of "Higher Education" and big knowledge we all took, though leading us to big inventions and "fleshly developments" is more and more depriving us of the path of Truth and Love for God, which in its essence is a life of simplicity and humility.
 Saint Anthony's desert Monastery is one of the oldest Christian monasteries  in  history of mankind. It is  one of the innumerous God miracles that the monastery built by saint Anthony's pupils is existing until today for already ABOUT 17 centuries (1700 YEARS!!!!)! It is located deep in the Red Sea Mountains (334 km from egypt Capital Cairo) very near to the Saint Catherine's Eastern Orthodox Monastery.

Saint Anthony the Great, is among the most venerated Christian saints also for  the reason he fearlessly defended true Christianity from the heresy of Arius during  first Ecumenical Council in Nicea A.D. 325. Arianism used to be one of the most deadly spiritual  heresies since the Birth of Christ's Church. Arians rejected the Godly nature of Christ. Many protestant Christian sects nowadays are matching teachings taught by Arians. 

Below movie BBC Extreme Pilgrim – Ascetic Christianity was produced by a Protestant (Anglican) Priest Father Peter Owes. From an Eastern Orthodox Christian perspective it is interesting  to see his easy digestive "pinky" view on Christian faith and general life as it is typical for most western people.

Saint Athonoy's Cave and Saint Anthony Monastery – Extreme Pilgrim – Ascetic Christianity

During watching the movie some of his sayings are quite inappropriate and very much displaying the protestant bloated view of Christianity that is ruling over England, however near the end of the movie one can see Peter's change for good (the monastery and monks prayers changed him); he talks more spiritually wise and he started changing his understanding of Christianity and life. As the Extreme Pilgrim Ascetic is a few parts documentary the other 2 parts are exploring the Wondering Mystics of the Himalayas Mountains and a Confu-Monks of Central China (Buddhism) etc.

As most of the people in the Western World, though Peter being a devoted Christian and priest in the Church of England (Anglican Church), "pater" Owes does not have obviously clear understanding on True Christian belief system. In his complete sequelmovie he is putting on the same plane Buddhism, Mysticism and Christianity lowering truthfulness of our Christian faith to the other religions! This is no strange as this tendency is quite evident in Western European Countries (mixed Roman Catholic / Protestant countries). The previous Roman Catholic Pope himself John Paul II was for unification of all world religions not in the name of Jesus Christ but in the name of  a fake (anti-Christian) World Peace.

For Christians not aware of the existence of Ecumenical World Religious Unification movement check Ecumenism – A terrible treat to Orthodox Christianity see here.
It is great Father Peter made this video so we Christians can have a look on how a hermit christian life is like. Though the movie is so nice the general message it spreads sadly is  very much in the spirit of World Religions Ecumenism that is so popular in these days, so Christians has to be careful with that.

Hopefully after he experienced some authentic hermitage Christianity, Peter Owes spiritual eyes will re-open for the true Christian Church and faith tradition kept  in , the One Holy Apostolic Church – the Orthodox Church. I should also mention, that though Coptic Spirituality is on such a high level, Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is sadly officially not  in eucharist communion with  Easter Orthodox Church due to their rejection of the Ecumenical Councils after the III-rd Ecumenical Church Council (gathering). Along with preserving a very ancient Church tradition practices in the Coptic Church, from what I've saw in further researching about Coptic Orthodox Church has a bit of inclanation in iconography towards Roman Catholicism iconography. Of course some of this Roman Catholic iconography  fragments are also evident in some of 19th century iconography in Russia, but in general in rest of Eastern Orthodox world this is much less than what I see in Coptic Church.

Most of the belief system and feast days of Coptic Orthodox Christians is almost identical to the rest of the Eastern Orthodox Church, making our Churches core teaching identical, however we're not officially one Church in holy communion unionl.

From what I've saw also it is evident that Coptic Church adopted a lot of arts along with the Greek language for their liturgy, as they sing the Kyrie Eleison prayer in Greek = (Lord Have Mercy). Also something to be noted is some of early Christian traditions in Copts were unchanged, they make the sign of the cross (from left to right) – little similar to Roman Catholics, whether we the Eastern Orthodox Christians, make the sign of the cross from right to left – you might want to see at my previous article why Orthodox Christians make the sign of the Cross different from Roman Catholics.

In any means, I'm mostly thankful to God will blessing me to have a look at the Cave of Saint Anthony  – where he spend most of his life and the Great monastic life they still thankfully lead in this spiritual cloister  ! I also hope my little post will be of help of people searching for Authentic Christianity and interested to strengthen their faith.

Here is the Church prayers saint Anthony the Great Glorification Hymns (Troparion and Kontaktion) as we sing them in the Eastern Orthodox Church:

Troparion (Tone 8)

You are most glorious, O Christ our God!
You have established the Holy Fathers as lights on the earth!
Through them you have guided us to the true faith!
O greatly Compassionate One, glory to You!

Kontaktion (Tone 8)

 

The Apostles' preaching and the Fathers' doctrines have established one faith for the Church.
Adorned with the robe of truth, woven from heavenly theology,
It defines and glorifies the great mystery of Orthodoxy

Let by the Holy Prayers of Saint Anthony the Great, God have mercy on all of us Orthodox Christians.

8 November: Bulgarian orthodox Church Patriarch Maxim Farewell service in st. Nedelia Cathedral, Sofia

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Holy Liturgy for the passing of Patriarch Maxim of Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Thousands of people came to venerate and ask for a last blessing The Bulgarian Orthodox patriarch his All Holiness Maxim. The  (Holy Liturgy Service) took place in Cathedral Church Saint Nedelia

Cathedral Church of Saint Nedelia Sofia Bulgaria picture from wikipedia

Cathedral of Sveta Nedelia (Saint Nedelia) is one of the most famous landmarks in Bulgaria's capital Sofia. It is a medieval Church many times rebuild, and its primal building was done in the 10th century many times rebuild, current Church building is made in XIX century. st. Nedelia's Cathedral  keeps the Holy Relics of King Stephan Milutin

Holy Relics of Saint Serbian King Milutin, Bulgaria, Sofia st. Nedelia Cathedral

The Holy King Milutin's Holy Relics are transferred in Bulgaria in the 1460s, whether the holy relics was for years kept across several monasteries in Churches throughout Bulgaria. St. Nedelia's Church building is blessed to store the Holy Saint Relics since the 18th century when the Church become Bishop's residence. It was common the Church to be called St. King Milutin because in the late 19th and 20th century because of significance of holding the Holy remains of Saint Serbian king Milutin

Saint King Milutin Holy Relics Sofia saint Nedelia Church photo from wikipedia

It is no strange that the Holy Liturgy where people can venerate the patriarch will be served exactly in this Church and again it is due to God's human incomprehensible providence.

Saint Serbian King Milutin Holy relics as kept in Saint Nedelia Church Sofia Bulgaria

In the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, we have celebrated saint Serbian King Stephan Milutin's veneration just 9 days ago (on 30th of October). It is obviously a providence of God and God inspired BOC Holy Synod decision to do the ( Farewell)  Holy Liturgy in the Church holding the Great Saint of Serbia and All Orthodoxy Stephan Milutin Holy Relics.

The Holy Liturgy  was headed by Plovdiv region Metropolitan Nikolay.

Which as of now is temporary chosen to serve as Metropolitan for Eparchy of Sofia.

Patriarch Maxim Opelo (Funeral Service) in sant Nedelia Church Sofia Bulgaria

Crowds of people from all around Bulgaria, came to venerate for a last time the Holy Hierarch. The police was forced to prohibit temporary entrance of people in the temple due to the high amount of people trying to enter and venerate patriarch Maxim.

His all Holiness Patriarch Maxim, Patriarch of Bulgarian Orthodox Church's Farewell Church Service

Many priests from across Bulgaria come to venerate the Holy Patriarch and take participation in Patriarch's Farewell's Holy Liturgy

Patriarch Maxim Funeral and Orthodox priests on Patriarch Farewell Service ( Liturgy )

To venerate our wise patriarch for the Farewell Holy Liturgy came the ecomenical Constantinople Patriarch Bartholomeus

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeus giving his condolescence and veneeration to Patriarch Maxim's body
 

The funeral of his all holiness will be tomorrow in Troyanski Manastir Through my lifetime I did not have the opportunity to venerate the patriarch. In my mind however I'm deeply bowing in front of him and asking for his blessing.
By God's providence, today in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church it is a big Church feast, Arhangelov den (Assembly of the Holy Archangels). The patriarch Zaupokoina Slujba ( Patriarch Opelo ) as we call it in Bulgaria will be served in Sofia's Cathedral Church of Saint Alexander Nevski tomorrow morning.

Tiny Bulgarian kid venerating patriarch Maxim's body in st. Nedelia Church - Patriarch Maxim's Opelo

Lets hope by his all holiness Patriarch Maxim prayers who "introduced himself in the Lord" as we say in the Church, the state of our Bulgarian Orthodox Church will improve and more and more Bulgarian young people will find Christ and truthfulness of the One Holy Apostolic – Orthodox Christian faith.