Posts Tagged ‘during’

Saint Sergius of Radonezh The WonderWorker (Sergij Radonezhki) a quick helper saint in life problems, pupils, students in educational hardships, exams and Orphans. A short living of father of Russian monasticism

Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

Saint-Sergius-of-Radonezh-icon-Russian-saint-hermit

Saint Sergius of Radonezh the Wonderworker (born in 1314, passed to Christ in 1392) is an ancient saint with enormous importance for the whole Christiandome and the Eastern Orthodox World.
He is perhaps the greatest ascet of the Russian land and a spiritual star who shone over the whole world sharing the and increasing the faith of Christ to shine upon many by his holy prayers. Saint Sergij Radonezhki is sometimes called in Russia the Abbot of the Russian land, for the reason he become the initiator (creator) and first abbot of the most notable and biggest monastery of Russia the Monastery of Saint Sergij of Radonezh in the XIV century.

In the Church service sung books, he is for that reason glorified calling him "a bright beacon of the Russian land, shining through its miracles like a second sun".  Saint Sergius Radonezhki's monastery was established in Glory of the Most Holy Trinity and the great ascet following the earlier example and spiritual tradition bequeted of the Great ascet Saint John of Rila (Ioan Rilski)  who lived in IX century in (876 – c. 946)  who established in the Rila mountain, the most famous Rila Monastey in Bulgaria, saint Sergius started his spiritual endurance in Russia as an ascet and did not initially planned to create a monastery, but God who sees everything seing his great ascetism sent him monks, willing to learn true spiritual life and that is how the Radonezh Monastery was born. Monastery quickly become aprototype of a new, amazingly pure and strict monastic life in Holy Russia, centered near in Moscow and the monastery which become a Laurel (the slavonic word translated as Lavra), (meaning the inhibitants of the monastery were exceeding 1000 monks) since y. 1744, become known in worldwide as Holy Trinity-Sergius Lavra.

Saint-Sergius-of-Radonezh-Lavra-Sveti-Sergieva-Lara-Holy-Trinity-monastery

Just as the spiritual heart of Bulgaria is located in the Rila Holy Monastery (Rilski Manastir), where are the the holy incorruptable relics of most glorified saint Reverend John of Rila the Wonderworker, the Sergius Trinity lavra has emerged as most important spiritual center of Russia Kingdom and later Russian Empire. What was the spiritual significance for preventing the Orthodox Christian faith and shedding hope via the dark ages of Ottoman Turks slavery of Bulgaria,  Reverend  Sergiy Radonezhki was for Russia especially in the hard times when Russia was a small country and fought for their freedom and independence from the Tatars and other surrounding nations, who were constantly destroying parts of the then small kingdom of Rus. Thousands of pilgrims with reverence and gratitude have come and continue to come to the Trinity-Sergius Lavra for worship, near the monastery now is established the city of Sergiyev Posad (inhabited today with about 103 000 people).

Saint_Sergius-of-Radonezh-the-Wonderworker-Sveti-Sergij_Radonezhki-Chudotvoretz-aliased-abbot-of-Russia-land

The shroud of the holy relics of Saint Sergius of Radonezh XV century

Prayers to St. Sergius of Radonezh are famous to protect you from any life problems.  People pray to the saint to protect children from bad influences and from failures at school. The prayer to the saint who was a model of humility helps in achieving humility and subduing the pride of ourselves and others.

Icons-and-frescoes-of-the-Holy-Trinity-Church-Radonezh-monastery-author-famous-iconograph-st-Andrey-Rublev

The very famous Holy Trinity unique icon held in main Church of Radonezh monastery painted by most famous Russian iconographer Saint Andrey Rublev

The icons and frescoes in the Trinity Cathedral in St Radonezh Lavra are unique piece of medieval art and were the work of Reverend Andrei Rublev and Daniil Chernyov in 1425. The main church icon that was painted in "praise of Rev. Sergius" is the old testamental visit the Holy Trinity to Abraham and Sarra icon – which is among the most famous and unique work of Russian icon painting. 

The Church feast of the Saint Sergij

The memory of St. Sergius of Radonezh is honored 4 times a year:

1. October 8 – on the day of his presentation to God
2. June 5 – together with the feast of the Rostov-Yaroslavl saints
3. October 18 – on the day of the discovery of the relics of St. Sergius of Radonezh
(interestingly just 1 day after in the Church calendar is 19 of October is the main feast of Saint John of Rila)
4. and on July 19 – together with the Radonezh Saints Church.

Saint_Sergius-of-Radonezh-holy-relics-raque

Reliquary with the incorruptable Holy Relics of Saint Sergij of Radonezh, kept in the Saint-Sergieva-Lavra monastery

Saint-Sergij-Radonezhki-holy-relics-opened-relics-raque

Opened reliquarium coffin with the incorruptable relics of saint Serigius of Radonezh (the feasts are opened for veneration by pilgrims 4 times a year during the saint feast veneration)

saint-Sergij-Sergius-Radonezhki-ikona-the-appearance-of-the-mother-of-God-to-saint-Sergius

The Apparition of the Mother of God to St. Sergius 16th century icon

 

Short Living (Biography) of Saint Sergius Radonezhki

Sergius of Radonezh was one of the most famous political and historical figures of the 14th century.
He is the founder of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra, teacher and mentor of many Russian saints canonized by the Church.
According to ancient tradition, mainly from his student Epiphanes, Rev. Sergius was born in 1314 in the village of Varnitsa, Rostov in the family of the famous Rostov boyars Kiril and Maria (who are also canonized as saints) and in whose memory there are Churches consecrated in Russia and Belarus.

His parents named him Bartholomew at birth.
Although the family was noble, they lived very modestly and were very religious.
At the age of 7, Sergius and his brothers started going to school, and while his two brothers' education came relatiely easily, it did not for Bartholomew as for bartholomew learning was hard.
Suffering for his hardships to study even though he put great efforts to do so, as he did not have any other means to become proficient pupil like his brothers, wishing to change this, the boy fervently prayed to God to give him reason and strength to advance in learning.

According to the chronicles, the boy once he was looking for the lost horses of his father met an old schimonk elder who was praying to God. The boy asked the old man to pray for his success in school. The the unusual bright monk prayed and blessed him. Since then, the boy began to progress in his studies quickly.

In 1330, Bartholomew's parents moved to the village of Radonezh, near Moscow. Soon his parents died, and he, together with his older brother Stefan, left the inheritance to the youngest brother and took up a hermit life in the nearby forest, where they built a cell, and then built a small church, which was consecrated with the name of the Holy Trinity.

Soon Stefan decided to abandon the hermit life and went to the Moscow Epiphany Monastery, where he became abbot.
Bartholomew stayed and in 1337, at the age of 23, he was ordained a monk with the name Sergius.

The young ascetic spent more than a year in complete solitude. His life consisted of prayers, fasting and hard work.
Sergius became famous in the surrounding area and soon other monks began to come to him for advice and soon the brotherhood numbered 12 people. Each monk lived in a separate cell, and together they gathered for worship.
This is how the famous Sergius-Troitskaya Lavra was founded. In 1354, Sergius was ordained abbot.

As the biography testifies, Reverend Sergius of Radonezh performed miracles even in his earthly life:

"…
Pilgrims came, they saw the poverty of the desert, but they also saw the peace and grace among the brothers, and they brought this leaven into their native families like light, like salt. And the name of the God-pleaser became glorious throughout Russia and many came to him with faith. Once, by praying, the old man healed a seriously ill person, and another time he healed a mad nobleman who was not in his right mind, ranting and fighting, so that ten they couldn't hold the man back."

St. Sergius of Radonezh was honored with a vision of the Most Holy Mother of God, who appeared to him during a night service and said:
"Do not be afraid, My chosen one. I have come to visit you. Do not grieve, because your prayer for the students and the monastery has been heard; and your abode shall abound in all things; not only in your life, but also in your presentation before God. I will not leave this place, and will irrevocably supply all that is necessary, preserve and protect it with my covering."


Saint Sergius of Radonezh knew how to act with "quiet and meek words" even on the most hardened and cruel hearts and in this way reconciled even ruling country region principles and kings at war.
Thanks to him, all the princes united before the Kulikovo battle, thanks to whom Russia managed to establish itself as a leading world country in the mid-centuries recognizing the main role of the Moscow prince Dimitriy.
The Russian army received a blessing from the venerable Sergius of Radonezh before the upcoming battle with the Tatars.

He predicted (prophecised) the victory over the Tatars, and on September 8, 1380, on the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin, the Russian troops defeated the Tatars at Kulikovo field, marking the beginning of liberation from the Tatar yoke. In other words at the time when Bulgarian Empire had crashed and has been enslaved, the Trnov kingdom fall down in 1393 and Vidin's kingdom of Bulgaria in 1396, just few years before the opposite hapened in Russia. Already baptized by many Bulgarian clergymen and given the Old Bulgarian Church language so called in newer times the Church Slavonic Books, Russia together with its spiritual flourishment managed to liberate from the Tatars and increasing gruadally in influence, countryland and power.
Prince Dimitrii deeply respected his spiritual father – the Reverend Sergius of Radonezh, who was also the godfather of his children.

Sergius of Radonezh died on September 25, 1392, reaching a very old age.
He predicted his death 2 years before and appointed his successor – his student Reverend Nikon.
St. Sergius of Radonezh was buried in a monastery founded by him, and 30 years later his body and clothes were found incorruptible and odoring with heavenly odor.

This happened in 1422 during the construction of the new and enlargened "Life-giving Trinity" church.

Shortly before the construction began, Sergius of Radonezh appeared in a dream to a pious man, telling him to convey the following words to the brothers:
"Why do you leave me so long in the grave, buried in the ground with all this water, it is narrow here for my body. "

When they dug for the foundations, the imperishable relics and clothes of St. Sergius of Radonezh were found unharmed, and the grave was full of water.

During the consecration of the Trinity Church, the relics of the saint were transferred to it, where they lay even to this day.

Let by the Holy Prayers of Saint Sergius of Radonezh the world, find more peace, love, faith and brotherhood, which we desperately need in these day of the absurd brother shedful war in Ukraine. 

Holy Reverend Father Sergij of Radonezh, pray the Lord Jesus Christ to save our souls and grant repentance to us sinners and peace to rule again in our hearts !

 

Zabbix: Monitor Linux rsyslog configured central log server is rechable with check_log_server_status.sh userparameter script

Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

zabbix-monitor-central-log-server-is-reachable-from-host-with-a-userparamater-script-zabbix-logo

On modern Linux OS servers on Redhat / CentOS / Fedora and Debian based distros log server service is usually running on the system  such as rsyslog (rsyslogd) to make sure the logging from services is properly logged in separate logs under /var/log.

A very common practice on critical server machines in terms of data security, where logs produced by rsyslog daermon needs to be copied over network via TCP or UDP protocol immediately is to copy over the /var/log produced logs to another configured central logging server. Then later every piece of bit generated by rsyslogd could be  overseen by a third party auditor person and useful for any investigation in case of logs integrity is required or at worse case if there is a suspicion that system in question is hacked by a malicious hax0r and logs have been "cleaned" up from any traces leading to the intruder (things usually done locally by hackers) or by any automated script exploit tools since yesr.

This doubled logging of system events to external log server  ipmentioned is very common practice by companies to protect their log data and quite useful for logs to be recovered easily later on from the central logging server machine that could be also setup for example to use rsyslogd to receive logs from other Linux machines in circumstances where some log disappears just like that (things i've seen happen) for any strange reason or gets destroyed by the admins mistake locally on machine / or by any other mean such as filesystem gets damaged. a very common practice by companies to protect their log data.  

Monitor remote logging server is reachable with userparameter script

Assuming that you already have setup a logging from the server hostname A towards the Central logging server log storepool and everything works as expected the next logical step is to have at least some basic way to monitor remote logging server configured is still reachable all the time and respectively rsyslog /var/log/*.* logs gets properly produced on remote side for example with something like a simple TCP remote server port check and reported in case of troubles in zabbix.

To solve that simple task for company where I'm employed, I've developed below check_log_server_status.sh:
 

#!/bin/bash
# @@ for TCP @ for UDP
# check_log_server_status.sh Script to check if configured TCP / UDP logging server in /etc/rsyslog.conf is rechable
# report to zabbix
DELIMITER='@@';
GREP_PORT='5145';
CONNECT_TIMEOUT=5;

PORT=$(grep -Ei "*.* $DELIMITER.*:$GREP_PORT" /etc/rsyslog.conf|awk -F : '{ print $2 }'|sort -rn |uniq);

#for i in $(grep -Ei "*.* $DELIMITER.*:$GREP_PORT" /etc/rsyslog.conf |grep -v '\#'|awk -F"$DELIMITER" '{ print $2 }' | awk -F ':' '{ print $1 }'|sort -rn); do
HOST=$(grep -Ei "*.* $DELIMITER.*:$GREP_PORT" /etc/rsyslog.conf |grep -v '\#'|awk -F"$DELIMITER" '{ print $2 }' | awk -F ':' '{ print $1 }'|sort -rn)

# echo $PORT

if [[ ! -z $PORT ]] && [[ ! -z $HOST ]]; then
SSH_RETURN=$(/bin/ssh $HOST -p $PORT -o ConnectTimeout=$CONNECT_TIMEOUT 2>&1);
else
echo "PROBLEM Port $GREP_PORT not defined in /etc/rsyslog.conf";
fi

##echo SSH_RETURN $SSH_RETURN;
#exit 1;
if [[ $(echo $SSH_RETURN |grep -i ‘Connection timed out during banner exchange’ | wc -l) -eq ‘1’ ]]; then
echo "rsyslogd $HOST:$PORT OK";
fi

if [[ $(echo $SSH_RETURN |grep -i ‘Connection refused’ | wc -l) -eq ‘1’ ]]; then
echo "rsyslogd $HOST:$PORT PROBLEM";
fi

#sleep 2;
#done


You can download a copy of the script check_log_server_status.sh here

Depending on the port the remote rsyslogd central logging server is using configure it in the script with respective port through the DELIMITER='@@', GREP_PORT='5145', CONNECT_TIMEOUT=5 values.

The delimiter is setup as usually in /etc/rsyslog.conf this the remote logging server for TCP IP is configured with @@ prefix to indicated TCP mode should be used.

Below is example from /etc/rsyslog.conf of how the rsyslogd server is configured:

[root@Server-hostA /root]# grep -i @@ /etc/rsyslogd.conf
# central remote Log server IP / port
*.* @@10.10.10.1:5145

To use the script on a machine, where you have a properly configured zabbix-agentd service host connected and reporting data to a zabbix-server monitoring server.

1. Set up the script under /usr/local/bin/check_log_server_status.sh

[root@Server-hostA /root ]# vim /usr/local/bin/check_log_server_status.sh

[root@Server-hostA /root ]# chmod +x /usr/local/bin/check_log_server_status.sh

2. Prepare userparameter_check_log_server.conf with log_server.check Item key

[root@Server-hostA zabbix_agentd.d]# cat userparameter_check_log_server.conf 
UserParameter=log_server.check, /usr/local/bin/check_log_server_status.sh

3. Set in Zabbix some Item such as on below screenshot

 

check-log-server-status-screenshot-linux-item-zabbix.png4. Create a Zabbix trigger 

check-log-server-status-trigger-logserver-is-unreachable-zabbix


The redded hided field in Expression field should be substituted with your actual hostname on which the monitor script will run.

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

Tuesday, April 19th, 2022

Christ-the-bridegroom-orthodox-passion-of-Christ-week

The Holy Great Week of Christ Passions

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

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

Worship during Holy Week

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

Bulgariand-Church-Kings-doors-Carski_dveri_-_Sv._Spas_(Rashtak)_in_North_Macedonia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday and Holy Wednesday

se-jenih-griadet-v-polunoshti-molitva-here-is-the-bridgeroom-comes-church-slavonic-prayer

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

Text translates as:

Behold, the Bridegroom comes at midnight,

And blessed is that servant whom He shall find watching,

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

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

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

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

Through the Theotokos have mercy on us.

Troparion of Bridegroom Matins

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

Great and Holy Monday

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

Great-and-holy-Monday-the-parable-of-the-fig-tree-icon

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

Saint_Joseph-the-Patriarch-sold-in-Egypt-by-his-brothers-a-prototype-for-Christ
Joseph The Magnificient

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

Joseph-the-brilliant-as-Second-after-Pharaoh-in-Egypt-the-all-comely-icon

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

Great-and-Holy-Monday-Christ-extreme-humility-icon

The Icon of Christ the Bridegroom (Ο Νυμφίος)

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

Great-and-holy-Monday-the-parable-of-the-fig-tree-icon
 

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

Great and Holy Tuesday

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

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

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

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

Great-Holy-Tuesday-the-10-virgins-parable-orthodox-christian-icon

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

That is why on Holy Tuesday the Church sings:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Great Holy Wednesday

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

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

Great-wednesday-the-sinful-harlot-woman-with-oilments-cleaning-up-feets-of-Christ-with-her-hair

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

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

Jude-Betrays-Christ-selling-him-for-30-silver-coins

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

We should well think:

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

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

Great Wednesday

Great and Holy Thursday – Remembrance of the Last Supper

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

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

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

The-Secret-Supper-Tajna-vecherya-Aton-Manuil-Panselinos-Protata

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

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

Next  great accent is Lord's Prayer.

The-Prayer-of-Christ-in-Gethsemane-garden-Great-Tarnovo-Museum-MOLENIE-Muzej_V-Turnovo

Christ Prayer in Gethsemane Garden – Bulgarian Icon museum Great Tarnovo

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

Mockery-of-Christ-icon

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


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

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

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Jesus in Golgotha – Theophanes the Cretan

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

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

Great and Holy Friday

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

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

The-Crucifix-of-Christ-Razpiatie-Hristovo

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

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

Great and Holy Saturday

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

The_Burial_Lamentations_by_Theophanes_the_Cretan-Stavronikita-monastery-mount-athos-wall-painting

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

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

The church sings regarding this great events:

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

The Jews sealed the tomb and set up a guard.

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

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

Holy Week in the statutes of the ancient churches

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the reason for Holy Week Fasting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saint Holy Rightous Joachim and Anne the partents of The Virgin Mary Mother of God feast in the Eastern Orthodox Church

Thursday, December 9th, 2021

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Feast day is cebelrated today in our Mother Church the Holy Eastern Bulgarian Orthodox Church 9th on December 9th December.
The name Joachim as derived from (/ˈdʒoʊəkɪm/; Hebrew: יְהוֹיָקִיםYəhōyāqīm, means "he whom Yahweh has set up"; Greek Ἰωακείμ Iōākeím)..
Anne, alternatively spelled Ann, is a form of the Latin female given name Anna. This in turn is a representation of the Hebrew Hannah, which means 'favour' or 'grace'. Saint Joachim has been a descendent of the bloodline of Saint King David (the one to whom the Psalms section of the Bible are ascribed) and Anna descends out of the Aaron the brother of Moses (who is the father of priests family line in Judaism).

Saint Joachim and Saint Anne are two less known saints in nowatimes even though in the Middle Ages this feast has been enormously popuplar in Both the Orthodox Christian East and the Roman Catholic West.  

St. Joachim and St. Anne (Anna) has been called Holy Righteous by the Church for a good reason. For they have possessed immerce sanctity that only of the born on earth ever have. They were called Saint Holy and Righteous, for a reason, and perhaps little might know but their is a sanctity hierarchy in the Church and the reason this accent of 3 words of the Church fathers is to emphasize the couple of St. Joachim and St. Anne had exceeding grace.
Saint Joachim and Saint Anne just like the Holy Family of Holy Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph are the Christian model for perfect famly in virtues, which all Christian families should try to follow to their maximum. The celebration of St. Joachim and St. Anne feasts seems to have been on purpose put to be done during the Christmas Fasting period for a reason, as for another preparation for the Great feast of Christ-mass known in the Church as Nativity (which improperly is unknowingly profanized by many with the abbreviation XMAS).

Lets shortly see few details of the Earthly Living of the two saints and why the Holy Fathers who prepared their Living we read today, call them with this grandiose epithets – Saint, Holy and Righteous.


Holy

  • They have lived all their live in servitude for the sick poor the hungry and the weak and dedicated all their God given lifetime in service for all whose begged in need.
  • They have been praying regularly and longly for the goodness of Mankind and families all around
  • They have been strictly following God's Old Testamental Jewish laws


Righteous


The english word Righteous stems from the Word 'Right' for a good reason as in the light of the Holy scriptures the Right side has been always associated with Good and the Salvation for the reason we know from Revelations that when time comes for God to judge the nations and everyone's individual deeds and rights as Christ has told in the Gospel those who have been done right (e.g. they have done good) and persevered to do good things throughout their short lifetime, will be put on the Right side of God – those are the so called Sheeps of Christ, the Unrighteous one will be put at the Left hand on the Judgement and will be cast out of the face of God because of their own undesire to receive and reflect the light of Christ (just like the Moon reflects the Light of the Sun) and transfers it to the earth and gives Light at night, each mans eternal God's predestination is to be like this receivers and reflectors of the Grace of The Holy Spirit.
Saint Joachim and Saint Anne has been such reflectors in such a enormous size that most of the Light they have emitted from God was transferred to rest of their relatives and people to whom they were continuously at help and as we believe in the Orthodox Church this process of re-emission of light is continuing even today. As we believe those who have departed from this life and have been favorable for God are staying in front of the face of God and praying fervently incessantly to God for the good of mankind. 

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Saint Anne fresco from Faras Gallery in Warsaw


True Saints

The saintship is a quality one receives as a Gift from God as we read in the patristic literature and cannot be attended by deeds, however the greatest gifts of God due to the practice were given to those who have persevered to suffer, greatest trials, persecution, shaming, hatred and lack of reception in society for their confession of the faith – this as we know in the New Testamental Church of Christ is mostly seen in the Holy Martyrs who confessed Christ to the degree they preferred to give out their life and bodies to martyrdom than to reject Christ.
Saint Joachim and Saint Anne even not a physical martyrs has the same perseverance even before the age of the Martyrs (that had been at highest degree in the first  centuries 1-st, 2nd, and Third century until Christianity has been legalized in the Roman Empire by Saint Constantine).

They longed for a child but remained childless into their old age (which can be equalled to martyrdom – many couples even today know how uneasy it is to live together for a very long time and not to be able to have inheritance).

Because of their continuous fasting periods they have followed, St. Joachim and St. Anne did not have much of physical intimacy (or sexual life) as we use to call it today, we know today that the lack of intimacy doesn't bring babies, plus the fact that it was obviously Gods desire for them be childless  until their very old age.
However  not realizing this once they have bring their Thanks Giving offerings according to Jewish law they have been ashamed by the Jewish Priest in the Solomon Temple in Jerusalen, even in their old age – (the jewish priests, just like our Christian priests are absolutely forbidden to insult anyone, and insulting an old person was a taboo back then just like it is considered bad today) being blamed for not being able to carry out a Child. 
Being shamed by a Priest at the community of jews was a terrible thing and some would even commit suicide.

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Others who had children jostled Joachim, thrusting him back as unworthy. In despair, he consulted the geneological records of the tribes of Israel and discovered every righteous man in the nation had been blessed with children, except him. 
This caused the aged saints great grief, and he and his wife left with heavy hearts.

However as the couple was saintly their reaction was to seclude from people and pray secretly to God. 
Saint Joachim went to the desert and fasted and prayed grieving with inhumally for 40 days, and saint Anne stayed and grieved in her garden thrice as first she has never had the chance to become a mother and she was publicly ashamed at their community and did not know where her Husband has been, perhaps thinking he might passed out somewhere because of his exceeding grief.

Sts. Joachim and Anna had been married for fifty years, and were barren. They lived devoutly and quietly, using only a third of their income for themselves and giving a third to the poor and a third to the Temple. Joachim had done this since he was 15-years-old, and God multiplied his flocks, so the couple was well provided for. 


The Miracle of Faith, Hope and Love – The Birth of the God-Mother the Queen of Heaven Virgin Mariam
 

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God has seen the great grief of the two and as he is merciful worked a great miracle just like with  Abraham and Sarah, and give them a blessed child to comfort their old age, which will become later the Holy Virgin Mary (Theotokos / Богородица), to become the Mother and Hope and all Humanity from which the Light of the World and Saviour Christ was born. 

Holy-Righteous-Joachim-and-Saint-Anne-Birth-of-Virgin-Mary

God sent the Archangel Gabriel to each of them, who gave them tidings of the birth of "a daughter most blessed, by whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed, and through whom will come the salvation of the world." Each promised to have their child raised in the Temple as a holy vessel of God. The archangel told St. Joachim to return home, where he would find his wife waiting for him in the city gate. St. Anna he told to wait at the gate. When they saw one another, they embraced, and this image is the traditional icon of their feast.

Saint-Joachim-and-Anne-with-Holy-Virgin-Mary

St. Anna conceived shortly thereafter, and in the ninth month gave birth to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This Conception of the Most Holy Mother of God is celebrated by the Church on December 9 and the Nativity of the Theotokos is celebrated on September 8.

God sent the Archangel Gabriel to each of them, who gave them tidings of the birth of "a daughter most blessed, by whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed, and through whom will come the salvation of the world." Each promised to have their child raised in the Temple as a holy vessel of God. The archangel told St. Joachim to return home, where he would find his wife waiting for him in the city gate. St. Anna he told to wait at the gate. When they saw one another, they embraced, and this image is the traditional icon of their feast.

Ikona_Kopiya_Sveta_Pravednaya_Anna

St. Anna conceived shortly thereafter, and in the ninth month gave birth to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This Conception of the Most Holy Mother of God is celebrated by the Church on December 9 and the Nativity of the Theotokos is celebrated on September 8.

Sts. Joachim and Anna took Mary, at the age of three, to the temple to be dedicated to the service of the Lord, and presented her to the priest Zechariahs. The parents then, after offering up her sacrifice (according to the custom of the time), left the Virgin with other maidens in the apartments of the temple to be brought up therein. The Church commemorates the Presentation of the Theotokos on November 21.

 Although Anne receives little attention in the Latin Church prior to the late 12th century, dedications to Anne in Eastern Christianity occur as early as the 6th century.

Bistritsa Monastery of Saint Jaochim and Saint Anne (near Sofia, Bulgaria)

The Bistritsa monastery "St. Yoakim and Anna" is located in the Mali dol part of the Vitosha mountain, about 2 km to the south-east of the village of Bistritsa.

Bistrishki-monastery-st-Joachim-and-st-Anna

Short History

According to priest Dragomir Kotev, author of regional studies of Bistritsa, during the time of Tsar Boris I or later during the rule of Simeon, a great temple was built there and was expanded during the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. It was part of the monastery complex called "The Little Mount Athos."

Bistritsa-monastery-st_Ioakim-Anna-Church

During the siege of the Ottomans and after strong resistance, the fortress and monastery were destroyed, and during the Ottoman domination the ruins of the old monastery were buried deep in the ground. The site was marked by a stone cross and people continued to gather at the sacred place. During excavations in the 20 century, the cross was discovered erect placed in what is today's holy throne in the temple. Now the cross can be seen outside the church.

Saint-Joachim-and-Anne-Bistritsa-near-Sofia-monastery-Cross

During the period of the Bulgarian Revival the memory for the monastery continued to exist.
The monastery "St. Peter" which had existed on its present place in the IX—X century, was destroyed by the turks in the XIV century. Its foundations were discovered in 1925 and the present church was sancrified in 1950. After the Liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule in 1878 the church was rebuilt as a chapel. The construction of the present monastery is connected with the visions of the prophet Bona Velinova. On Orthodox Sunday (the first Sunday of Lent) in 1925 she spent the night in fasting and prayer, and in the morning gave a detailed explanation of how the church destroyed by the Ottomans looked like. Bona ordered people to dig and foundations of the old temple were discovered. She said that it should be rebuilt, and called after the holy family pf Sts. Joachim and Anna. Since then, every year on Orthodox Sunday a solemn service takes place here. The new church was built with funds and volunteer work from local people in the period from 1936 to 1950 and was consecrated on August 6, 1950. Legend has it that the treasures of the last Bulgarian kings are buried somewhere around. Not far from the monastery there is a a spring. Here on Christian holidays, after services in the monastery, pilgrims come to drink water from the holy spring. They believe that this water cures eye diseases. 
During the period 1965-77 residential buildings were built. The complex consists of a parish church, the St. Ivan Rilski chapel and a massive building to its right, a kitchen and rooms. 

At present the monastery functions regularly. It is a complex including a church, one-nef, one-apse, with a cupola and inner and outer narthex, residential and farm buildings. The church was built over a mound necropolis, and under the church nef there is a preserved ancient vault from the end of the IV – the beginning of the V century (3,35 x 2,99 x 2,28 m), to which a stone staircase from the narthex.

Bistritsa-Monastery-saint-Joachim-and_Anne-near-Sofia-Church-view-to-altar

The iconostasis of on the picture is from the palace (chapel) of last Bulgarian King Boris III. It was brought to the monastery after 1944.

Let by the Holy Prayers of Saint Joachim and Saint Anne God grants mercy and Grace to All families everywhere and to everyone that is grieving
God provides his abundant consolation of the Holy Spirit so we can endure the temptations and hardships of life !

Amen

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.

Saint-Demetrius-and-Saint-George-icon-St-George-killing-Dragon-saint-Dimitar-killing-a-man

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 .

saint_Demetrios_of_Thessaloniki_icon_on-graved-stone

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 !!!

7th of July The Feast of Saint Nedelya Kyriakia one of the most honored woman saints in Bulgarian Orthodox Church and few words of the history of Sofia Second biggest Cathedral Church St. Nedelya

Thursday, July 8th, 2021

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Saint Nedelya is a major Cathedral in Sofia Bulgaria dedicated to an early Christian saint Kyriaki (martyred year 289 AD). It is is a second biggest Cathedral Church in Bulgaria and a place where they serve the Holy Liturgy daily. The Patriarch and most notable spiritual leaders of the Bulgarian orthodox church do hold services there regularly.

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Coffin with Holy Relics of Saint Stephan Urosh II Milutin in the St Nedelya Sofia Church right corner near alter wall

Saint Nedelya Church  is a beautiful peace of Christian art the Church is also known in XX-th century as Holy King (because the incorruptable Holy Relics of Sebian King Saint Stephan Urosh II ( Milutin ) are found in the Church).

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Saint Nedelya Icon Arapovski Monastery Bulgaria

The fact that Saint Nedelya is the second Church by spiritual importance for Bulgaria is not a coincidence and this is related to the high veneration of saint martyr Nedelya (Kyriakia) Bulgarians had for the saint through the years especially in the Second Bulgarian kingdom during the reigh of King Asen's Dynasty (12-th 13-th century). The incorruptable Holy relics of the saint Kyriakia has been transferred to Trnovo (Tarnovo) the capital of Bulgaria at that time by saint Patriarch Euthymius (Evtimij) of Tarnovo (who was the last patriarch head of Bulgarian Orthodox Church during the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, right  before the fall of Bulgaria under the Turkish slavery (Yoke).
 

Saint Martyr Nedelya ( Kyriakia) died in July 7th 289 A.D.

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Saint Nedelya Debrene Church iconographer Dicho Zograph from year 1844

Inspired by the great deed and the great grace received by receiving the incorruptable relics of the saint, saint Euthymius wrote a glorofication called "Praise to the Holy Great Martyr (Nedelya)". The Nedelya word meaning in Bulgarian Language is Sunday and is a literal translation from Greek's Kyriaky.

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Saint Kyriaky dedicated Church, Istanbul Turkey

The veneration for saint Kyriaky has been quite common in medieval times one of the major Churches in Constantinople (today Istanbul) is dedicated also to saint Kyriaki.

According to Church tradition described by patriarch Evtimij, we know saint Nedelya has been born in Asia Minor and has been a child who has been long awaited kid that was gifted by God. Saint Kyriaki's was born in responce to her parents Dorotheus and Eusebia many fervent beseach prayers begging for a kid that will help Christ's salvation plan for the mankind.

 She was brought up in the truths of Christ from an early age.

At a very young age, she decided to dedicate her life to God. She happened to live at the time before Saint Constantine The Great when still the ligth of Christianity did not yet overcome the false believes of paganism in the time of the peresuction by emperor Diocletian. This was the time of persecution against Christian confessors and brutal violence against Christians – they were persecuted, imprisoned, exiled or forced to renounce their faith. Nedelya was thrown into prison and tortured, and her parents were exiled to the town of Miletin. The miraculous healing of her wounds, as well as her refusal to worship pagan idols, led the authorities to sentence her to death as they believed she is doing her wonderful healing by some strange whichcraft.

Kyriaki was tortured again by Apollonius, the successor of Hilarion. She was thrown into a fire, but the flames were extinguished, and then to wild beasts, but they became tame and gentle. Apollonius then sentenced her to death by the sword. As she was given a little time to pray, she asked God to receive her soul and to remember those who honoured her martyrdom. Upon completing her prayer, she rendered her soul to God before the sword was lowered on her head. Pious Christians took her relics and buried them. At the time of her death, she was 21 years old.[

At her place of death, after prayer, Sunday surrendered her spirit to God before the sentence is carried out exactly on her feast date (July 7, 289). For early Christians the day of death or martyrdom was considered the date of the real birthday for eternal life in heve. Nedelya died at the age of 22, as saint Patriarch Euthymius of Trnovo writes, "Dying in a short time, she fulfilled long years, because her Lord's soul was satisfied, purity – great enough, feats enough …"

The Second Biggest Bulgarian Cathedral is dedicated to saint Nedelya

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Saint Nedelya Church, Sofia – Capital of Bulgaria

As many of the Churches in Bulgaria the history of Saint Nedelya's Church in Capital of Bulgaria, Sofia  goes back to distant X-th century and as many of the Churches of the time was most lilely laying on a stones and built of wood as Churches used to be built of that time. Today's architecture of the Church is of the XIX century.

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The church became famous during the assassination attempt by Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP / BKP) on April 16, 1925 during the funeral of General Konstantin Georgiev, when it was destroyed. Then on this sad date for the Bulgarian history, 193 people mainly from the country's political and military elite were killed and about 500  bystander believers, who attended the liturgy were injured. The assault was perhaps the worst terrorist act in the history of Bulgaria, and at that time in the world. The aim of the temple blowing assault was to kill King Boris III, who was not in the Church at the time because he was slightly late for the service by the providence.

After this bloody terrorist act of the Bulgarian Communist Party, the church board of trustees assigned the architectural bureau "Vasilyov – Tsolov" (architect Ivan Vasilyov and architect Dimitar Tsolov) the restoration of the church. Renovation began in June 1927. By the spring of 1933, an almost new, huge central-domed temple was built with a length of 30 meters, a width of 15.50 meters and a height of the dome of 31 meters. The surviving two-row gilded iconostasis has been returned to the temple.

The church was solemnly consecrated again on April 7, 1933. The fresco decoration was made from 1971 to 1973 by an artistic team led by Nikolai Rostovtsev. Around 2015, the Church iconography has been fully restored and is amazingly beautiful worthy to see, if you happen to visit Bulgaria.

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

Tuesday, June 1st, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Little known facts about the dedication to Saint Martyr George The Glory-Bringer and his veneration across contries and religions

Saturday, May 8th, 2021

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  • Largest part of body holy relics of the saints are kept in the town of Lod city 15 km (9.3 mi) southeast of Tel Aviv in the Central District of Israel. Back in the history due to the emerging veneration for saint George by both Christians and Muslims the town was temporary holding the name Georgioupolis, while his head relics is kept in Rome. There is a coptic monastery in Cairo pretending to hold personal belongings of saint George. In Saint Catherine Monastery (Mount of Sinai) are kept the three fingers of the arm of st. George. Churches dedicated to the saint started being built across the Roman empire even in the fourth century quite soon after his martyrdom, highest concentration of monasteries in his honor were born in Palestine. Biographics (Living) of saint George are written by the Byzantine authors saint Andreas of Cretes (written in 8-th century), Arcadius of Cyprus, Teodoris Quaestor, saint Gregory of Cyprus, saint Saint Symeon the Metaphrast (written 10th century).


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Saint Simeon Metaphrast (μεταφράξειν – translator and a historian of Byzantine empire passed on to Christ, 960 year famous for collecting and systemizing biographies of many saints, his works are important source of history on Byzantine empire)

  • Hundreds of Apocrypths are dedicated to the glorious living of the saint and his amazing miracles, written mainly in Latin, Greek, Syrac, Arabian, Coptic, Ethiopian and other multitude of other languages. The most famous apocrypha on saint is so called "Greek Vienna's Palimpsest" (5th century). as well as the "The Deeds of Saint George" (from 6-th century., as well as "The Martyrdom of George" etc. The Apocrypha's text are evidently full of hyperbolas and many unhistorical facts different from the true living facts of the saint. The fallacies and apocryphas have been condemned by the Decretum Gelasianum ( thought to be Decretal of the prolific Pope Gelasius I, bishop of Rome 492–496 ) as heretical and blemish for the memory of the saint.


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The miracle of Saving the Princess from the Dragon (one of the many apocryphas tradition about st. George) – Depiction Decani Monastery Serbia

  • Saint great martyr George together with The Holy Theotokos Mother Mary is a protector of Georgia (the country near Russia and not the State of the US :)).


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Georgian Metal carved ancient icon of saint George

In Georgia the local verbal tradition assigns a family relation with the first missionary and Baptizer of Georgia saint Nino. The first Church dedicated to saint George in Georgia is built in year 335 ! by King Mirian on the burial place of Saint Nino. In 1098 year saint George has been proclaimed protector of England, after appearing in a vision to the participants to Crusades of that time. One hundred years later during reign of Richard the Lion Heart the status of protector of the Army becomes an official in the West. In year 1222 The Synod of Oxford decides, that saint George is to be venerated throughout the whole kingdom of England on 23 of April (old style calendar) – 6th of May in the current Gregorian public calendar we use – still venerated on the same date in Bulgaria even to this day, while the remembrance day of the saint has been publicly proclaimed as labor free.

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  • In 14th century he is proclaimed a protector of England. In the beginning of 20th century the creator of the Scout Movement Lord Baden-Powell choose saint George for a protector of the Scouts. Saint George is considered protector of Moscow and Catalonia, until 18th century he was officially venerated as a protector of Portugal. In Greece he is venerated as agios Georgios, in Russia he is venerated under alternative names Jurij / Yurij (Юрий) and Egorij (Егорий). In year 1030 Grand prince of Kiev Yaroslav established in Kiev and Novgorod monasteries in honour of saint George (Yuriev Monastery) and gives an order the remembrance of saint George to be considered throughout Russian on 26th of November. The saint has been commonly depicted in Kings coins and seals. In Islam Saint George is famous under the name Djordjis (Djordjic).


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  • His Living is translated in Arabian in the beginning of 8th century and through Arabian-Christians becomes popular among Arabian-muslims. In Arabian apocrypha text his biography is included in "The History of Prophets and Kings" from the 10-th century, where he is presented as a pupil of one of the apostles of Isa Īsā ibn Maryam (Jesus son of Mary). In the Islamic apocrypha st. George is said to have been put to tortures, but even though killed multiple times he always have been resurrected by Allah as a faithful servent. In some Arabian icons on the horse of saint George there is a small human figure with a muslim clothes and a water vessel at hand.


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  • The iconography depicts also the miracle in Ramela that happened during a Church being built in dedication of Saint George, where one of the bought from far a stone pillar for the Church by a poor widow has been transferred by saint George miraculously via the sea by his all powerful prayer and placed to be the second Church holder right sight holder as well as the miracle when a Saracen Muslim soldier shoot towards the icon depiction of st George as an attempt to show that the saint icon is nothing more than a painted tree and immediately onwards his hand started unbearable hurting.


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Saint George's (Aravijska)'s Miracle Making icon of Holy Mount Athos Zographous Monastery St. Mrtr. George the GloryBringer

  • The healing of the unberable came only after a Christian priest give the adive to the soldier to light up a sanctuary lamp in front of the same icon of saint George and to annoint himself with the oil from the burning chancel-lamp. After the miraculous healing the soldier confessed to be Christian and has been immediately punished with a maryrdom death. The name of the martyr is not preserved but the miraculous event is depicted on the arabian ancient icons.


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Saint George the glorybringer in Church of saint George village Zlatolist (Bulgaria)

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The Famous Miracle making icon of saint George from Hadji-Dimovo Monastery Bulgaria

  • Another interpretation of why there is depiction of a figure on the backside of the horse of saint George is the so called "Miracle of saint George with the Paphlagonian" that is connected with my homeland Bulgaria. The history says a young-man of Paphlagonia, who has been taken as acaptive by the bulgarians and given as a slave to a wealthy bulgarian nobleman from Preslav. Once when the slave was carrying vessel with a hot water to his master towards the second floor of the house, out of nowhere appeared saint George, he put him backwards on his horse and bring him back to Paphlagonia. In Paphlagonia at this time his parents were already serving a Memorial service for the forgiveness of the sins of their boy thinking he has been already killed in captivity. Being reunited with his parents the youngster thought he has been dreaming to see his parents again out of a sudden and what show him that the miracle translation of the boy from one location back to his parents was a reality was the vessel with water which was still held in his hand, thus as a remembrance of the miracle the boy is depicted on the back of saint George's horse.

 

There is much more to be said about this glorious saint, as there is plenty of miracles and stories monasteries and Churches events and venerations facts over the last 21 centuries in which the East and The World become Christian,  but as the Gospel says it looks all the books on the world written won't be able to contain it.

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

Sunday, April 11th, 2021

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Saint Antepas of Pergamum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Antipas replied:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

How to Avoid the 7 Most Frequent Mistakes in Python Programming

Monday, September 9th, 2019

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Python is very appealing for Rapid Application Development for many reasons, including high-level built in data structures, dynamic typing and binding, or to use as glue to connect different components. It’s simple and easy to learn but new Python developers can fall in the trap of missing certain subtleties.

Here are 7 common mistakes that are harder to catch but that even more experienced Python developers have fallen for.

 

1. The misuse of expressions as function argument defaults

Python allows developers to indicate optional function arguments by giving them default values. In most cases, this is a great feature of Python, but it can create some confusion when the default value is mutable. In fact, the common mistake is thinking that the optional argument is set to whatever default value you’ve set every time the function argument is presented without a value. It can seem a bit complicated, but the answer is that the default value for this function argument is only evaluated at the time you’ve defined the function, one time only.  

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2. Incorrect use of class variables

Python handles class variables internally as dictionaries and they will follow the Method Resolution Order (MRO). If an attribute is not found in one class it will be looked up in base classes so references to one part of the code are actually references to another part, and that can be quite difficult to handle well in Python. For class attributes, I recommend reading up on this aspect of Python independently to be able to handle them.

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3. Incorrect specifications of parameters for exception blocks

There is a common problem in Python when except statements are provided but they don’t take a list of the exceptions specified. The syntax except Exception is used to bind these exception blocks to optional parameters so that there can be further inspections. What happens, however, is that certain exceptions are then not being caught by the except statement, but the exception becomes bound to parameters. The way to get block exceptions in one except statement has to be done by specifying the first parameter as a tuple to contain all the exceptions that you want to catch.

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4. Failure to understand the scope rules

The scope resolution on Python is built on the LEGB rule as it’s commonly known, which means Local, Enclosing, Global, Built-in. Although at first glance this seems simple, there are some subtleties about the way it actually works in Python, which creates a more complex Python problem. If you make an assignment to a variable in a scope, Python will assume that variable is local to the scope and will shadow a variable that’s similarly named in other scopes. This is a particular problem especially when using lists.

 

5. Modifying lists during iterations over it

 

When a developer deletes an item from a list or array while iterating, they stumble upon a well known Python problem that’s easy to fall into. To address this, Python has incorporated many programming paradigms which can really simplify and streamline code when they’re used properly. Simple code is less likely to fall into the trap of deleting a list item while iterating over it. You can also use list comprehensions to avoid this problem.

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6. Name clash with Python standard library

 

Python has so many library modules which is a bonus of the language, but the problem is that you can inadvertently have a name clash between your module and a module in the standard library. The problem here is that you can accidentally import another library which will import the wrong version. To avoid this, it’s important to be aware of the names in the standard library modules and stay away from using them.

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7. Problems with binding variables in closures


Python has a late binding behavior which looks up the values of variables in closure only when the inner function is called. To address this, you may have to take advantage of default arguments to create anonymous functions that will give you the desired behavior – it’s either elegant or a hack depending on how you look at it, but it’s important to know.

 

 

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Python is very powerful and flexible and it’s a great language for developers, but it’s important to be familiar with the nuances of it to optimize it and avoid these errors.

Ellie Coverdale, a technical writer at Essay roo and UK Writings, is involved in tech research and projects to find new advances and share her insights. She shares what she has learned with her readers on the Boom Essays blog.