Father Atanas Arolski A Notable Priest and Spiritual Father Elder of Bulgarian Lands and Bulgarian Orthodox Church passed away to Christ aged 95. fr. Atanas was born in a small Bulgarian mountain village Hvoyna located in Middle Rodopis Mountain. The priest is famous because he was among the few priests of our faithless times that walked by Rodopi Muntain villages all their life to preach the Gospel of Christ. 70 years of his earthly life was dedicated to God's word and priesty service.
Fr. Atanas Arolski is born (by God's providence) on 1st of November on the day of Bulgarian Christian enlightener saints St. St. Kiril and Methodius who preached the Holy Gospel Good news of Salvation on Bulgarian lands in the 9th century. And just like the two Thesaloniki brother saints Cyril and Methodius fr. Atanas was enlightener of the Bulgarian nation during all his life. fr. Atanas completed his church studies succesfully in the Seminary of Cherepish "St. John of Rila"in year 1939. Though a lot of the Seminary students choose to become deacons in the Church to escape the mobilization and army service in Second Wolrd War the fr. decided not to cheat and went for a military service. He was ordained priest in 1943. During the last years of his life even when 90+ years old he walked to Malevo village (3km away) from his village and Orehovo village (7km! away from Hvoyna).
Its interesting that the father walks to the 3 village Churches where he was assigned to be serving Holy Liturgy and do his many Church duties daiy even though he has a driving license since 1961, however he alone says until this very date he failed to find money to buy a car (because of his humbleness) in order to hide the spiritual reason behind that. The most notable father saying is "Man alone Opens or Closes the Door to Heaven" and his life is an example on how one can open the door to heaven and open when the Lord Jesus Christ knocks on the door of our heart.
This priest was torutred severely by the Atheist authorities during the Communist rule in Bulgaria in their attempt to convert him to atheism but fr. Atanas stand firm being a true confessor of Christ as he explains in the short video below, on many times they bring him in police and he was beaten badly with the purpose to show them there is no God and convince them to decline his faith in Christ and the Church but he refused. Many times to make him stop going to Church and serving Holy Liturgy the authorities threatened him that he will be sent as a political Prisoner to Belene and he was imprison for a time and beaten to death but with God's help he survived.
fr. Atanas alone used to say that God left him to survive until the fall of Communism in Bulgaria in order to show those who mocked him and tortured him that their regime prooved false demising (nowdays even hated by most of Bulgarian) but God's Church triumpths victoriously even though the severe trials and persecutions standing according to Christ's word that promised us that the Gates of Hell will not get over his Church.
Below is a nice 15 minutes video made earlier by one of our Bulgarian Televisions (BTV) about this unique confessor priest. The Holy Scriptures says "Great are the miracles of God in his holies" and movie prooves the Bible verse another time.
One True Story of Rodopi Mountains – A movie about fr. Atanas Arolsky
Ft. Atanas Arolsky the Christian Englightener 91 continues to serve to God God forgive and remember fr. Atanas in his Eternal Kingdom and let the father pray the Lord Jesus Christ to have mercy on us the sinners. Amen.
If you happen to be in Belarus's capital Minsk and you're a Christian you would definitely will be interested to see the spiritual side of Belarus. I was in Minsk with my wife for a month and had the chance to go for a pilgrimage in st. Elisaberth's Orthodox Christian Convent.
In Belarus about 80% of population of population are Orthodox Christians with about 7% Catholics, some 4% protestants and 9% atheists. I'm Orthodox Christian myself so mostly I kept interest in exoeriencing Orthodox religion life there. The religious life in Belarus so deeply impressed me so I decided to even document it here.
I was in a couple of Orthodox Churches during the Great Lent first week attending afternoon (Great) Repentence services canon of St. Andrew of Crete. And was amazed how many people are religious in this God fearful country. All Churches where I was during the Great Canon or Holy Liturgy was so full of people that you cannot even enter the Church if you're late for the service. People attending were also very concentrated on the service and most of the people came to services bringing most of which holding a book with the Great Repentance Canon following the service and concentrated in praying and doing ground prostrations. One thing to note is Belarusian Orthodox Church is a sub-division of Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), Belarusian doesn't have their own patriarch but are under the patriarchy of Russian and all Moscow patriarch – Kiril I.
Few weeks ago for Sunday of All Orthodoxy (Triumph of All orthodoxy) for Holy Liturgy service me and Svetlana with a close friend of her Tatyiana went to St. Elisabeth's Monastery. Monastery is named in honour of St. Elizabeth Feodorovna Romanova – which is the last Russian Grand Princess of the Romanov family later executed with her husband and kids by Communists Bolsheviks, canonized by ROC in the 1990s.
The monastery as almost all Churches in Belarus is so full of people you cannot move (it seems in Russian Orthodox Church – there is an amazing spiritual awakening at the moment). I wanted to confess and even though I was in the Church building before beginning of the holy liturgy and there were two priests to confess the queue of people to confess was so long that confession lasted until the end of the Holy Liturgy. In order to able to confess I've waited on the "confession queue" for about 2 hours and a half. Even though Holy Liturgy completed confession continued and those who confessed after the Church service end was also offered the Holy Sacraments. Another stunning thing for me was the amount of young and obviously intelligent people who was in the Church – just to compare here in Bulgaria, seeing young people in most Churches and monasteries is a rare thing ..
Saint Elisabeth's Monastery is the only monastery situated in (very near 19 km away) fromMINSK on Vigotskogo 6 str. We reached the monastery by taking bus from regular Minsktrans (state's bus company) city bus nr. 26, other bus and trolley riding there are – bus 18 and trolley 33, 38, 55. Monastery was established in 1990 after dissolvement of USSR and is situatuated on a place where previously there was no church or a monastery. The SisterHood in monastery is enormous by size and consists nowadays of 7 Churches!!!
The main Church of the Monastery has saint relics from all around the known Orthodox Walls, to venerate all the saint relics you will need at least 20 minutes!! The Holy Relics of the monastery are so much that they remind me very much of Monasteries I've seen on Holy Mounth Athos. The spiritual father of the monastery is father Andreya Lemoshonka.
From ruromrs the sisterhood in monastery consists of about 120 sisters (and even maybe more), some of them are Nuns and others are the so called "Sisters of Mercy" (something like the "White Sisters" moveing in the Roman Catholic Church) – woman who deliberately decided to help the monastery often walking the streets shops and metro stations collecting charity for poor, sick and people in need. Sisters of mercy are something exception and seeing a lady dressed in white robes on the street or metro with a prayer book at hand is something rare to see in today's crazy materialistic world. Some of this kind sisters of mercy are novice nuns in the monastery and others are just worldly woman with family whom the monastery employes on a small renumeration.
The cloister is a unique place next to the majestic Church buildings, the monastery has a coffeteria where you can have a coffee / snacks or even a dinner after service, there is a Church shops full of icon and all kind of orthodox spiritual literature,a Christian games for kids (Orthodox Lotto, kids collapsible Churches from cardboards) as well as a food store with fasting and non-fasting food and even a shop for Christian clothing "Православная Одежда".
Orthodox Clothes Shop near St. Elizabeth's monastery Minsk
A Honey Store – St. Elizabeth Monastery Belarus
Orthodox Foodstore near St. Elizabeth Monastery Misnk
In one of the Churches there is a 3 floor tiny shop first floor sell icons, books and faith related things, monastic souvenirs and on the second floor there is a herbal pharmacy with healing herbs for almost all kind of physical and nervological disorders etc. Part of monastic life is the evening and morning service which occur everyday in the monastery. The spiritual father of a monastery Andreya Lemoshonka who is a married priest is also leading frequent lectures on faith and is often helping people coming to him for a spiritual advice, a problem or question related to faith. The Nuns are fasting each Monday, Wednesday and Friday – fasting also in Mondays even though this fasting day was only observed in ancient Church and in many Orthodox monasteries, Monday fastings (In veneration of Angels) is no longer observed – i.e. sisterhood life is very strict. Near the monastery is situated a Mental Hospital and one of the duties of nuns is to often visit the mentally sick there. The sisterhood helps orphanage homes and is bringing for Holy sacraments often a lot of sick children.
Part of monastery service is sheltering the homeless, alcoholics and drug addicts offering them encouragement and work in the small monastic farm. The monastery has also workshops where people with disability work in making gloves, icons, decorations, souvenirs embroided by hand. Near the monastery there is a wooden shop where one can order all kind of custom crafted wooden wardrobes, chairs or anything wooden you like for your home.
What I saw there make my heart joyful. It seems Minsk Monastery achieved something which is rarely seen in Orthodox world a symbiosis between Faith, charity and a monetary funding model that works. The monastery very much reminded me to an Orthodox movie Forpost and to the Godly initiate inBulgaria by father Ioan of Novi Khan who by his efforts, Gods help and the charity of hundreds of bulgarian takes care for about 150 homeless orphans in a monastery.
'Forpost' (Outpost) – What the Church Can Accomplish.
As a closure word I want say Thanks and Glory be to the Holy Trinity The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit! for blessing me to the pilgrimage journet to St. Elizabeth's monastery!
I spend the Christmas eve for a first time in Monastery with the brotherhood in Pomorie monastery. The night on 24-th against 25-th when Christmas is celebrated in Bulgaria was marked by the usual morning service and a Holy Liturgy. Silent Night Holy Night song was sung in the Church near the end of the Holy Liturgy.
All went well except small fire incident, out of a suddenr right after the end of the Church service a fire ignited in one of the monastery store rooms. Actually it was a huge miracle that the fire didn't spread in whole monastic cell buildings as the fire used to be active without anyone noticing it for about 6 hours or so. The restult of fire was that just one room full of sheets and sanitary equipment burn out completely. The fire happened in a room nearby my room on second stage one stage lower (on first floor). The fire brigade come quickly and stashed the fireplace without serious troubles.
The fire would have quickly spread if in the burning room if only one of the water tubes didn't break up pouring water inside on the burning stuff. The fire emerged around 12:40 and was already Ðµxtinguished for less than hour. Thanks God there was no one in the burning room and no victims Another sure miracle is that today weather is very calm no wind blowing so fire didn't ignited in a quick pace and was easily extinguished.
Below are the immersly beautiful Christmas Church Troparion, Kontaktion and Feast singings as translated to English
Thy nativity, O Christ our God, has shown to the world the light of wisdom; for by it, those who worshipped the stars were taught by a star to adore Thee the Sun of Righteousness, and to know Thee, the Orient from on high. O Lord, glory to Thee."
Today the virgin, gives birth to the incomprehensible One; and the earth offers a cave to the unapproachable One; Angels and shepherds glorify Him; the Wisemen journey with a star; since for our sakes is born the ETERNAL GOD, as a little Child.
Christ is born, glorify him. Christ is from heaven, go to meet him. Christ is an earth, be ye lifted up. Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing out with gladness, all ye people. For he is glorified.
To the Son begotten of the Father without change before the ages, and in these last times without seed made flesh from a Virgin, to Christ God let us cry aloud: Thou hast exalted our horn. Holy are Thou, O Lord!'
Rod of the root of Jesse, and flower that blossomed from his stem, O Christ, Thou hast sprung from the Virgin. From the Mountain overshadowed by the forest Thou hast come, made flesh from her that knew not wedlock, O God who art not formed from matter. Glory to Thy power, O Lord.
As Thou art God of peace and Father of mercies, Thou hast sent us Thy Angel of great counsel, Who grants us peace; so we are guided by the knowledge of God, watching before dawn we glorify Thee, only Lover of mankind'.
The monster from the deep spat Jonas from its bowels like a new born babe, just as it had received him; while the Word having dwelt in the Virgin and taken flesh, came forth, yet kept her incorrupt, for being himself not subject to decay, he preserved his mother free from harm'.
The Youths brought up together in godliness, scorning the impious decree, feared not the threat of fire, but standing in the midst of the flame they sang: God of our Fathers, blessed are Thou!
The furnace moist with dew was the image and the figure of a wonder past nature; for it did not burn those it had received; even as the fire of the Godhead did not consume the Virgin's womb into which it has descended. Therefore in praise let us sing: Let all creation bless the Lord, and highly exalt Him to all the ages.
Magnify, O my soul, the most glorious Theotokos, more honourable and more glorious than the hosts on high. 'I behold a strange and wonderful mystery, heaven is the Cave, the Cherubim thrown — Virgin, the Manger the Place in which Christ lay, the God whom nothing can contain. Whom we praise and magnify.
I wish to my dear readers have a great and blessed Christmas Holiday time, let Christ's love, peace and mercies are abundant in your hearts!
On 28 of December, just a day after the Nativity of Christ in Bulgarian Orthodox Church, we mark up the feast of 20000 Holy Martyrs for Christ from Nicomedia.
Here is the story shortly re-told.
When Emperor Maximian (284-305) returned victorious from a battle wtih the Ethiopians and desired to offer thanks sacrifice to the idols, he ordered all around the Roman Empire people from Nicomedia to gather, to bow down the pagan gods. Christians of Nicomedia refused to Sacrifice to the idols knowing the idols are not God but demons who pretend to be different gods making fake miracles to cloud the spiritual eye sight of their worshippers. Antim bishop of Nicomedia at these time, hearing for the order, gathered all Christians in Nicomedia and the whole night before the Nativity of Christ, he served a night vigil and Holy Liturgy teaching the people in trutful Christ faith. Finding out about this Maximian ordered Roman soldiers to surround the whole Cathedral Church with dry twigs and bushes and fire them up.in order to burn all the Christians inside. Knowing about the bonfire prepared for him and Christ's flock, he hurried up to baptize the newly believed Christians still unbaptized believing Christians (the so called ÑƒÐ³Ð»Ð°ÑˆÐµÐ½Ð¸), and present them with the Holy Eucharist (mysteries). This happened in year 302. This fearful event completed the most fierce persecution against Christians that continued for 10 years. The early Church persecution ended with the enthronement of the new emperor Saint Constantine.
20000 Thousand of Martyrs for Christ in a day is one of the greatest victory for Christ's Church. It is a clear indication of the truthfulness of our faith. As never in whole human history has been 20000 of innocent people were killed for sharing one and the same believe.
12 разбойников / Жило 12 разбойников – Руская православно-народная песен On the Church service in Nijmegen in the Serbian Orthodox Church today, there were Rusian priest guests invited by on e Dutch orthodox person who sings in Russian Orthodox Church choire in Nijmegen. The priest came from saint Peterburg Russia. The serving priest was father Sergii, he came with a deacon. The usual Saint John of Crysostom holy liturgy was served by the Russian priest Father Sergii, who was also with a deacon (I think also from st. Peterburg). The church service as every Church service was a great experience for all orthodox. After the end of service in the traditional way as they do it here, all brothers from the Church had a sort of Agape small meal together. I traveled to Nijmegen with Father Dushan who was kind enough to take me with his car Wolkswagen to the Byzantine Capel Church in Nijmegen. As the serving priest and the deacon was guest priests, father sergii asked them to sing a traditional Russian-Church folklore song called 12 Robbars (Burglars) I hear the song for a first time, and I found it quite beautiful and decided to reshare for people. It seems 12 Разбойников is a song well known by Russians, but maybe less known among non-Russians. Enjoy 🙂
Иван Ребров – Жило двенадцать разбойников Jilo 12 Razboinikov is a song telling a story about 12 Burglars, who killed a lot of Christian and stole a lot of treasures while stalking in the woods. But a big change happened in them as they repented and become monks and prayed to God asking for forgiveness of their sins and asking for mercy of them and the whole world. Really nice piece of Spiritual Song.
I heard from Father (Hieromonk) Dushan who is serving in the 3 Serbian Orthodox Churches here in Holland (in Breda, Nijmegen and Amsterdam), that next month (December 2012) here in Serbian Orthodox Church Nijmegen a guest priest will come from Syriac orthodox Church (belonging to Antiochian Patriarchy) to serve a Holy Liturgy in Arabic! Will be interesting to see.
Father Sergii from St. Peterburg Holding Holy Chastice
All people from Eparchy Orthodox Serbian Church Nijmegen picture in front of Alter wall
Serbian Chetec (Holy Bible reader) and ipodiakonus with Father Sergii blessing the in Holy Liturgy
Русская народная песня "Жило 12 разбойников" Ali Askerov
Now it is my 4th day being in Pomorie Monastery with Kimba. The monastic life is not so boring as I thought back in the days 🙂 Yesterday I was drived to the Kamenar pub, by one of the workers here in the monastery (with the monastic car an old Ford); We went to the restaurant in Kamenar village with the blessing of the abbot has blessed that we go and enjoy ourselves for few hours there with a group of tourists staying for (1 or 2) weeks in the monastery.
The pub was quite a news for me as it was a nice looking place with a lounge and swimming pool, this seemed quite unusual for especially since it was located in a village with 200 or 300 hundred of people living 🙂 The village pub had even a billiard table, the coin price there was on the shocking 25 stotinki (0.13) euro cents! 🙂 In the pub came an orthodox priest dressed like a casual person and started singing some traditional old Bulgarian songs (typical for singing in the different regions in BG). The guy was really talented and his memory seem to be very strong, since he was able to sing by heart about 10 songs in a row !
Besides that the priest voice was very beautiful. When I later had a talk with the guy it appeared, he learned professional singing before he became an Orthodox priest some years ago. What really shocked me when the priest started singing in Italian Luciano Pavaroti, he sang it so well so you can hardly find out if it is not really the real authentic Luciano voice 🙂
This priest and the overall people in the pub had a great fun, as the place and people in were quite spirited; Actually I felt in a while like being in Emil Kosturica's movie 🙂 🙂 🙂
Being over with yesterday I will say few words on my monastic experience today …. The Church bell rang early in the morning to summit the monks for the early morning prayer followed by a Holy Liturgy served. The Holy Liturgy today served was a co-memoration of the feast of Saint Sergii of Radonezh.
Cause it is weekly day here there were not too many people in the monastic Church. The monastery monks were there,few other people and some Russian pilgrim woman. By the way I'm more and more being convinced that many of the Russian people are very pious oriented and have strong faith in God than us bulgarians. Sadly it appears (from my observations so far) Russians generally are richer in faith. It is sad that Russian Orthodox Christianity is stronger than ours in Bulgarian, especially when we take the fact historically Russians have received the Orthodox Chrisitian faith and language from us Bulgarians …
One of the key figure (brothers) monks Father Sergii is having a name day here, so due to that and because it is not a fasting day today (Thursday), the traditional monastic dinner was bigger and more rich than usual. Some youghurt mixed with cucumbers (Tarator) as we call it in Bulgaria was served with a little salad a few pieces of Banica and even little meat balls (for people eating meat). The Abbot of the monastery was not served meat as I heard from the cook lady he is completely abstaying from meat since about 10 years already; some of the monk brother didn't eat meat as well. The dinner started about 12:20 in the usual dinner room. For another day the food in the monastery was tasting super-delicious. It is rather interesting that the food here is more delicious than the food we usually eat at home; Probably the food is so delicious because large portion of the food on the table is monastic-grown and besides that a food blessing prayer is said everytime before eat time. Earlier times I've heard many others who visited and eat food in monasteries that the monastic food is tastier and more delicious than we ordinary people have on our tables, however I was sceptical until I experienced it myself, these days. Cause the food is so tasteful, I consume here usually twice more food than I usually eat at home 🙂
I recommend anyone who didn't eat a meal in a monastery (yet) to try this at least once in a lifetime ;;;
Christ has born! Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday to all my readers!
The meaning of Merry Christmas comes from Christ Mass , the word has changed to (Christmas) through the years. The origins of the word comes from the western world and especially has a tight relatin with Latin language and the Roman Catholic Church.
In Eastern Orthodox Churches, we say Chestit Rojdestvo Hristovo , which translated to English is Happy Christ's Birth by this tring to put more accent on the real significance of the feast, which is Christ's birth. It's a pity nowdays many people forgot the real meaning of Merry Christmas but just celebrate without really realizing the deep spiritual meaning this two beautiful words contain. Our Bulgarian Orthodox Church will mark the Christ's birth with a Holy Liturgy early in Sunday's morning tomorrow 25th of December.
With these bright feast I wish to all my blog readers; A lot of Best of Health, Good Fortune, Loving Kindness, Hope, Faith, Love and Personal and Professional Success! May God bring in our hearts the Angels joy which saluted our Saviour Jesus Christ's birth 2011 years ago.
Today, a day before the suffering of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for our sins remission we do commemorate the day of the Last Supper or (The Supper of Mysteries) in the Orthdox Church.
According to our Church tradition today is the day on which the saviour has established the Church mystery of the Sacrements! (Eucharist)
Here are the exact passages from (Matthew 26:26-28), where by the word of the Lord the Eucharist was established:
“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.'” (Mt. 26:26-28)
The feast is celebrated with a morning Holy Liturgy among all Eastern Orthodox Churches around the world. It’s common that many layman do confess and take the sacraments on this date.
Before sacraments are received we the layman confess our unworthiness for Christ and beg for him to make us worthy to receive the communion with the prayer:
I believe, O Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, who camest into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first (see 1 Tim 1:15).
I believe also that this is truly Thine own most pure Body, and that this is truly Thine own most precious Blood. Therefore I pray Thee: Have mercy upon me and forgive me my transgressions, committed in word and deed, whether consciously or unconsciously.
And make me worthy to partake without condemnation of Thy most pure Mysteries, for the remission of sins and unto life everlasting.
Of Thy Mystical Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant. For I will not speak of Thy Mystery to Thine enemies, neither like Judas will I give Thee a kiss; but like the thief will I confess Thee: “Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom.”
May the communion of Thy Holy Mysteries be neither to my judgment, nor to my condemnation, 0 Lord, but to the healing of soul and body.
This prayer is actually said everytime before we do take the sacraments through the year, so it’s one of the most-important prayers in our Orthodox Church life.
The Holy Communion establishment is also an act of remembrance a of the Lord’s suffering for the remission of our sins according to his commandment.
One major difference between Orthodoxy and Protestanism concerning Eucharist is that we orthodox believe that by taking the sacraments, we do receive the Most-holy flesh and blood of Christ and through his blood and flesh, the damage sin has created in our hearts, minds and souls (which is forgiven by God in the the mystery of the confessment) is being recovered completjely.
A friend of mine who is a devoted Orthodox Christian (and ipodqkon Georgi), regularly visits Holy Mount Athos as a pilgrim. On a few times he has been there serving to the workman who are currently restoring a number of monastery building which has been abandoned for quite some time.
Every Sunday morning he also goes to the Monastery Church St. George Zograph for the monks Holy Liturgy service. He send me few recordings he made with his phone during the Holy Liturgy monks chanting. The recording’s quality is quite raw as however still it’s very invaluable piece of spiritual music, which I think every spiritual person will highly regard and enjoy.
Here are the 12 songs which he send me over skype I hope the songs, will be enjoyable and a spiritual blessing to some Christian brothers and sisters out there:
Today the 3rd of April in the Patrierchal Cathedral Saint Alexander Nevski in Sofia, the Bulgarian Church has officially canonized the martyrs from Batak and Novo Selo.
The Holy Liturgy in Saint Alexander Nevski that’s been held in the st. Alexander Nevski (Largest Cathedral Church in Bulgaria) has been led by the his All Holiness the Patriarch of Bulgaria Maxim.
The holy liturgy canonization has been also transmitted live in the Bulgarian National Television. The canonization itself took place right in the end of the Holy Liturgy. Where the bulgarian leading clergy (bishops, metropolitans archimandrites, the Patriarch himself) has officially announced the decision of The Bulgarian Church Holy Synod to Canonize the Martyrs, who had endured martyrship for Christ in Batak and Novo Selo villages during the April’s Bulgarian liberation revolt in May 1876.
The martyrdom and the all the surrounding events that occured has also been widely known in the Bulgarian history under the name The Batak’s Slaughtering / (Batashko Klane as we call it in Bulgarian)
The mini liberation revolt has been extinguished by Ahmed Aga Barutanliqta in the brutal blood-bath according to different historical estimations the murders done by The Turkish mayor Ahmed Aga had been in the range of in between 1750 and 5000 people most of which were an innocent peasants who had voluntary agreed to left behind all their weapons and surrender to the Turkish bashi-bozluk.
Most of the martyrdom of the newly canonized martyrs has happened in the Church “Holy Sunday”
Therein in this Church the terrible blood bath occured. The about 200 peasent, martyrs had stood in the Church for a three days, the turkish has digged small holes in the Church walls and shooted through them to kill them, a fire and gas has been used to kill as many as possible, many of the killed martyrs has been little children with their mothers. The Turkish soldiers (beasts) couldn’t enter the Church because the Church was so filled with layman that the people were pressing the Church doors.
The peasent martyrs had no water in the Church, so they used the float light (icon-lamps) as a drinking liquid and blood of their dead brothers and sisters as a water substitute. The Bashi-bozouk Ahmed Aga ordered that beehives are let in the Church to sting the Martyrs as well as burning straw soaked with gas was throw in stifle the poor peasents.
On the third day all that left alive, went out of the Church, when they found out they’re doomed if they stay in.
All the Batak peasents that rejected to accept the Islam have been beheaded, this are the same saints which has publicly been announced by God’s providence to be venerated as a Church martyr saints Many of the young bulgarian mothers and girls, who have left the Church had been brutally raped and then slaughtered for their faith in Christ.
The Batak blood bath and martyrdom has been so severe and shocking that it horrifyed all Western Europe, Russia and America.
Here is another picture taken in Batak after the brutal butcheries, it depicts the widow wife of the initiator of the revolutionary rebellion , stading near a writting in cyrilic made of bones reading Remains of 1876 .
A while after the Martyrdom of the saints in Batak, the turkish army tried to withold the information about the brutal killings, which were absolutely inacceptable for the 19th century.
They tried to burn the Stone Church where they did their bestiality but without any success by God’s providence, next the turkish bashi-bozluks tried to hide about the butchery by burying many of the dead bodies and re-painted the Church laws, however as a miracle of God very soon the martyrs blood which sprinked up the Church laws has appeared on the laws. A Pilgrim of the newly canonized martyrs could see still the blood of the martyrs preserved there on the Church laws and see the big numbers of relics of the slaughtered martyrs.
Here is the stub used to behead the Batak’s martyrs which is now kept in the Bulgarian National Museum:
The other martyrs which were canonized on the great feast for our Bulgarian Church were brutally killed 8 nuns in a Novo Selo’s nunnery, they endured martyrdom again in 1876, the Novo Selo (a nearby village).
The newly canonized saints is the last canonization that occured in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church since the canonization in the distant year 1964 when the Church decided to canonize (venerate as a saint) saint Sofronii Vrachanski (st. Sophronius from Vratsa)
During the Holy Liturgy, an icons presenting the Batak martyrs and the Novo Selo martyrs had been consecrated by his all Holiness Maxim Patriach and head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
The Batak and Novo Selo saints day feast in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church will be celebrated each year on the same day as they endured martyrdom 3rd of April. His Holiness Patriach Maxim is currently aged 96 and is one of the oldest if not the oldest Orthodox Christian patriarch in the worl today!
A Small chunk of the Batak and Novo Selo’s saints Canonization is available for watching on the address http://www.vbox7.com/play:004f8828
The complete number of canonized saints as martyrs in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church is about 700.
On the canonization festive holy liturgy there were Orthodox Christian representatives of the Romanian and the Russian Orthodox Church.
Batak saint Martyrs Icon
I pray that the merciful God (The Holy Trinity), be merciful to all us the Bulgarian Orthodox Christians and all the Orthodox Christians around the world and grant us forgiveness of our sins and our Lord Christ grant us be with him and the Father and The Holy Spirit in paradise, Now and Forever and Ever! Amen
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