Posts Tagged ‘martyrdom’

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.

saint-Dymitr_z_Salonik-sankt-Peterburg-icon

Saint Demetrius Russian Icon

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Medieval_Bulgarian_King_Asen_portrait

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

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

Bulgarian-icon-of-saint-Dimitar-the-Myrrh-Bringer-Ikona-na-sv.Dimitar-Mirotochivi

Bulgarian Medieval Icon of Saint Demetrius the Myrrh-Bringer

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

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

 

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

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

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

Byzantine_themes-in-Bulgaria-on_the_Balkans-map-11th-12th-century
The Byzantine themes (or districts) of Bulgaria and Paristrion 

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

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

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

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

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

Saint_Demetrius_Tarnovo_Church-Klearchos

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.


Saint_Demetrius_Bulgarian_icon-1824_Sveti_Dimitar

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.

Saint_Demetrius-Holy-relics-relics

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

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

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

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

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

Saint 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

Saint-Martyr-George-of-Sofia-Georgi-Sofijski-in-traditional-wear-kalpak

Troparion, voice 4
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.

saint-Georgi-Sofijski-saint-great-martyr-George-and-The-Mother-of-God-iconostasis

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.

saint-Georgi-Sofijski-noveishij-icon

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.

Sveti_Georgi_Novi-Sofijski-wall-painting-icon-st-George-Sofia
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.

Ancient-Church-ROtonda-St-George-Sofia-Bulgaria

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

The-Grave-of-Saint-Georgi-Sofiyski-Grobat-na-sv-Georgi-nai-novi

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.

saint-Georgi-Sofijski-newest-icon-painting

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.

Church-of-saint-Georgi-Sofijski-in-Alexandrovska-hospital-Sofia-Bulgaria-the-place-of-martyrdom-of-saint-Georgi-Sofijski
source: Lives of the Saints. Synodal Publishing House, Sofia, 1991, edited by Parthenius, Bishop of Lefkada and Archimandrite Dr. Athanasius (Bonchev).

Saint_Georgi-naj-novi_Sofijski

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

saint-George-Fanuilska-icon-Zographous-Monastery-Mount-Athos

  • 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).


saint-Simeon-Metaphrastes-icon

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.


Saint-George-The_Miracle-saving-of-princess-from-the-Dragon-Decani_monastery_Serbia_Circa-14-century
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 :)).


Georgian_icon_of_Saint_George_521

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.

Byzantine-orthodox-icon-of-saint-George-XIV-century

  • 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).


saint-George-icon-what-infidel-saw-that-believer-did-not

  • 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.


saint-George-Islam-manuscript-depiction

  • 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.


saint-George-Araviiska-Miracle-making-icon-Zograph-Monastery-Holy-Mount-Athos-Sv_Georgi_Aravijska_icona

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.


saint-George-the-glorybringer-in-Church-of-saint-George-village-Zlatolist

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

saint-George-icon-Hadji-Dimovo-monastery-Bulgaria-ikona-sv-Georgi

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.

Living and Martyrdom of Saint Zlata of Meglen (Muglenska) one of the greatest Bulgarian Martyrs during the Ottoman Bulgarian Slavery

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

saint_Zlata-of-Myglen-one-of-the-greatest-Bulgarian-martyr-saints-protector-of-bulgarians-abroad

Saint Zlata of Meglen (Muglen) or also as we call it in Bulgaria saint Zlata Muglenska (Αγία Χρυσή) is a Great Holy Martyr Christian saint venerated mainly in Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia and Serbia (nowadays), however historically even though being from the nowadays Macedonian lands, she was Macedonian Bulgarian by blood heritage she lived in the times of deep physical and spiritual darkness that has been sheeding on the ex-Bulgarian empire lands in the XVIII century in a very poor family originating from the village of Slatino ( the Orthodox Christian eparchy of Slatino ), the Ex-Ochrid Bulgarian epipscopy.

For the time she had a extensively distinguished from other young maids with her beauty and her soul has been gifted with excessive humility, Godliness, pure heart and a truthful burning unshakeful faith in / for God.

Because of her unearthly unusual beauty, a young Turk fall in love with her and decided to kidnap her and to rape her.
One day she went to the deep woods to gather trees for the coming winter uknowing the young turk with other turk friends has prepared an ambush for her.
The turk descended over the pure virgin with the help of his other friends and they captured the God servent lady and brought her to his home offering
and promising her marriage under the turms that she convert to his faith Islam.
The turk told her she either has to merry him and convert to Islam or stay Christian and suffer Christian martyrdom because of her stiffness.

Saint Zlata of Meglen stood firm in her Christian faith and rejected the offer, but the young turk being pushed by the devil has decided that this young beauty has to become
his wife, so to help his goal to convert her to his Muslim faith he brough ladies to sing her enticing songs (as an ancient manipulation technique) to brainwash the lady to
reject her Christian faith.

The young turkish ladies which by the way belonged to someone's local person harem (seraglio), were singing and dancing, smiling at her and giving their
best to show her the beaties of Islam, they told her how nice the muslim treat their lifes and how superior is according to them Muslim faith, trying their best to convince her to reject
her faith and join their false godliness.

Saint Zlata looked at the songs and lures as a temptations from the devil recognizinig the unclean spirits works inside the young ladies and turks surrounding her and strongly stood
and was watching at them with deep disgust
, praying inside her self to the Lord Jesus Christ to help her and strenghten her to stand firm in the temptations, asking him better
for a martyrdom than false enjoyment of this temporary lieful and earthly goods which leads to the eternal hell.

The young turkish ladies seeing her firmness for Christianity and unwillingness to reject the Lord and Saviour of mankind The Lord Jesus Christ had an assembly together on how to behave and came to conclusion that the only ones that can turn her from Christ might be her own family (mother, father, sister, brothers) and adviced the young turk man that the only help here might be if the family of the young virgin Zlata influence her to change her mind to reject Christ and merry the turkish man.

The family of the woman knowing the craftliness of Turks and there unrespect for the life of the Christian saw that the only option for her daugher and sister in Christ to stay physically alive is to accept Islam, so they started convincing her to accept islam, perhaps secretly hoping she can become Mohammeddan on the surface but become Christian in her heart (something that many Bulgarian, Serbian and Greek, Albanian and (others from the so called Rum-Milet Cast people or People of the Eastern Orthodox Faith within the Ottoman Empire)  were forced to do to occasionally to save their lives).

But Zlata was unshakable in her decision and firm fireful faith for Christ and publicly reinforced her decision that she better die in suffering than to accept the ungodly eartly wicked religion of Islam.

saint_Agia-Zlata-greek-orthodox-icon

This unshakeful behavior of saint Zlata additionally scared off her family and they becomed crying in front of her continuing to convince her to convert to Turkish faith and reject Christ, they were scared about their own physical lives and this cry outs were not a cry outs by reason but a cry outs inspired by the devilish fears for the body, they were forgetting Christ words who says, "Don't fear those who kill / destroy the body, but better fear Whom who has power to throw out body and soul into the eternal Ghehenna (Hell)", the exact citation from Holy Bible is  like this "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." Mathew 10:28.

Of course seing the closest beings of her crying in the soul of Saint Zlata become a division, common for us mortals.
The love for her parents and her sisters was pushing her to listen to her family and the love for the world was pushing her to listen to the turks but the love for God Christ and her Christian Duty were pushing her to become unshakeful 'till the end and accept martyrdom for Christ.

But in the young virgin the love for the world was less than the love for Christ and she screamed boldly but humbly at her spiritual torturers.

st-Zlata-of-Meglen-holy-martyr-helper-of-foreigners-abroad-living
 

– Even if you my parents my sisters, are forcing me to reject the Lord Jesus Christ, do know that you're no longer my parents, no longer my sister!
– My father remains only my Lord Jesus Christ and my mother – the Most Holy Mother of God (Holy Theotokos) Mary, and my brother and sister are now – all the martyrs for Christ!


The turks underestood now the virgin is not willing to change her faith, and decided to force her with other means (by physical tortures) to change her faith.
Consequently three months they beat her with staffs. And then when the staffing did not help them change her mind, they started cutting skin out of her body back
and show that bloody skins to her eyes to scare her off.

A rivers of blood flow of the young pure martyr. Finally they took a glowing iron stick and pricked (holed) her head from the eye to the eye.
Christ's Grace were helping the saintly Virgin Zlata to endure all this and even after all this unbearable for a normal human body torturings
she become alive.

She was left temporary in a prison by her maryrs and by God's providence right in that time she heard the Priest (spiritual elder of her parents, and pro-Igumenos (main abbot) of Holy Mount Athos the hieromonk Timothey (Timothy) visited Meglen village.

Through one of the Christians who visited her regularly in prison she send a beseech to hieromonk Timothey to fervently pray for her, so that God gives her an honorable end of her Christian Martyrdom.

And God had honored her with a final martyrdom and an eternal honour in his One Holy Eastern Orthodox Church.

The torturer turks being embittered by their failures to break off the fervent faith in Christ of the Holy Martyr, invented another final bestiality.

The-pear-tortures-by-Ottoman-Turkish-of-Saint-Agia_Zlata-of-Meglen

They hanged Saint Zlata on a pear tree and come to her sticking her with knifes and finally they hunged her on the same tree, after which to prevent
other Christians to bury her in a Christian rite, they cut the body in parts.

In that manner of unhuman but spiritually glorious manner the Holy Great Martyr received her glorious Martyrdom for Christ
and she become an Eternal prayer for all the true Christians all around the world.

Like a clean gold, cleared by the sufferings, saint Holy Great Martyr Zlata give up her soul to God on 18 of October 1795 year filling up
the sonhms of Christian and Bulgarians saints for the Savior of the World Lord Jesus Christ.

Her martyrdom by God's providence has happened just one day before the celebration of the Greatest Bulgarian saint and Hermit saint John of Rila whose Dormition happened on 19th of October 946.

Pieces of her martyred body, were distributed among believing Christians for a blessing and many received healings from her Holy relics.

Saint Zlata is said to protect the emigrant and Bulgarians abroad and is doing miracles and helping people who stood firm in their Christian Believe 'till this very day.

Holy mother and Great Martyr Zlata Muglenska pray the merciful Lord Jesus Christ to save our sinful souls!

 

Sources used:
The Livings of the Saints – Synodal edition, Sofia 1991, under the edition of Bishop Parthenij Levkijski and Archimandrite dr. Athanasij (Bonchev), including some reasoning and additions to details by the Article Author Georgi Dimitrov Georgiev as inspired by God

 

Why saint George is depicted on icons killing a Dragon (an ancient story of saint George killing the last dragon) – A Collection of 7 icons of Saint Martyr George

Friday, July 6th, 2012

saint_Georgios-killing-the-dragon-in-cave
Saint George is one of the most venerated Orthodox Christian saints in the Eastern Orthodox Church. My interest in saint George is cause of the reason, I myself bear the name Georgi (the Bulgarian equivalent of George). Saint George is mostly venerated in the Slavonic Christian-dome.In almost all Church icons depicting st. George in Orthodox and Roman Catholic christiandome saint George is piercing killing a dragon.
One of the reasons, st. George is depicted piercing the dragon is a reference of st. George victory over satan, through his martyrdom.

The Beast (Dragon) on the iconi is a straight reference to the Holy Bible; Chapter Revelation also known under the name Apocalypse.

In revelation, we read humanity and our saviour Jesus Christ will finally once and for all will kill the "ancient beast" = (satan)

In same logic, as Saint Martyr George has been victorious over Satan by his unshakable confession of faith in Jesus Christ in early 5th century A.D. , we believe in the Orthodox Church he is given the crown of (eternal) life as a prize for bearing un-human tortures in the name of the of Christ.

To illustrate visually the victory of saint George over Satan through his immesurable faith confession with which he become, there is a an early tradition in iconography in the Church to depict st. George killing a dragon.

The other reason why saint George is depicted to kill a Dragon is due to a Lebanon / Palestinian ancient story saying; There was a huge Dragon living somewhere in nowdays Lebanon / Palestinian lands.
The beast created a huge havoc killing many people and systematically torturing people in the area.

As the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition continues …. the Dragon is said to have inhabited one of the caves near some village.
Interesting, the story tells these very same dragon was the last Dragon crawling the earth before the final disappearance of dragons.

Many brave local people tried to kill the beast but many died as the beast was unbeatable.
Being unable to beat-up the dragon with a physical (human) force the local population turnted to God for help – saying continously prayers to Saint George to help them defeat their dragon mischief.

Soon after, Saint George appeared on a white horse and pierced the "old dragon / snake". The dragon liberation miracle is said to be evidenced by local people and according to Orthodox monk books is one of the many great miracles occuring in past times.
The report of the miracle has quickly spread around all Lebanon / Palestinian lands and soon, being confirmed as real spread along all Russia as well as the rest of the Slavonic and Orthodox Christian world (Bulgaria, Serbia), Greece, Egypt (Alexandria) etc..
To illustrate saint George's appearance miracle, monastic iconographers started depicting saint George as we see him until this very day – Riding a horse and slaughtering a monstrous beast.

Below are seven 12-th century early icons of saint Saint Great-Martyr George killing the dragon;;
I've collected the icons from various website online. Hope this collection will be blessing for all Christ brother and sisters and generally anyone reading this post:

12-th century mosaic icon of st. George the Great Martyr Xenophontos Monastery

12-th century mosaic icon of st. George the Great Martyr Xenophontos Monastery

Orthodox Christian icon saint George dated to 1130 - 1150 A.D.

Orthodox Christian icon saint George dated to 1130 – 1150 A.D.

Saint Georgius the Dragon Slayer icon XII century orth icon

Saint Georgius the Dragon Slayer icon XII century orth icon

St. George Enamel icon Georgia 12th century

St. George Enamel icon Georgia 12th century

saint George Christian icon Yuriev Monastery Novgorod 12th century

saint George Christian icon Yuriev Monastery Novgorod 12th century

st. George Staraya Ladoga Orthodox Christian icon

st. George Staraya Ladoga Orthodox Christian icon

sv. Georgius 12th century Aios

sv. Georgius 12th century Aios

Nowdays saint George Holy Relics particles are kept for veneration in many Orthodox Christian countries monasteries. Here in Bulgaria saint George Holy Relics are kept in a Monastery nearby the seacoast in Pomorie. Any Christian visiting Bulgaria have the opportunity to venerate the Holy in (Pomorie's Monastery – St. Great Martyr Georgi.
 

Saint George’s day in Pomorie Monastery Bulgaria

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

St. George Bulgarian icon

I’m in pomorie monastery right now. Pityle pomorie’s monastery’s website can only be accessed in Russian and Bulgarian language.
Pomorie Monastery is named after the greatly honoured saint George, he is highy honoured here in Bulgaria as well as in many countries in the orthodox christian world, he is also venerated in some other non-orthodox countries one of which for instance is England.
Some of the monks here in the monastery used to say it’s St. George himself who invited me to the monastery for a blessing since I myself am named after the saint.
Many people from Pomorie and near Burgas’s region and even from afar are gathered to commemorate St. George’s Martyrdom and celebrate the Saint George’s day . It’s the second time I’m in Pomorie’s monastery which by the way is a Male monastery. I’m really happy that such a cloisters still exists in this troubles times in sense of spirituality.
The place is really peaceful and the fact that it’s georgraphically located near the sea makes it a must see destination if you’re visiting Bulgaria or travelling through the country.
The history of the monastery is also very interesting. Currently the brotherhood includes 6 monks. The monastery abbot is a really kind and gentle man and the brothers are united in comparison to the observed dividement between monks walking the way of salvation in spiritual abbeys nowadays.
The main reason people are coming on the feast of st. George is to beg for the prayer intercession of the Saint for us the sinners in front of God, that God has mercy and forgies our trespasses and have mercy on us.
Each eart Saint George takes place here in Bulgaria on Sixth of May (06.05) and is one of the greatest christian as well as secular celebrations in Bulgaria. The 6th of Many is also an official holidays within the country and the official feast of the bulgarian army.
St. George is considered one of the greatest Christian saints in the Orthodox, world and even more venerated in Bulgaria.
It’s a common practice in Bulgaria as well as in Greece that spiritual abbeys or Churches are named after St. George.
What makes St. George even more special for us the fact that the Bulgarian Orthodox Church possesses a whole monastery named after st. George located in Mounth Athos. You can read more about St. George (Zograf) Bulgarian Monastery located in Mount Athos here
St. George’s monastery in Mount Athos is named Zograf after a miraculous icon located in the Monastery which dates back to the 14th century.
St. George Fanuilska miraculous icon Zograf Monastery
Saint George Zograf Miraculous icon owned by Zograf’s Monastery – Holy Mount Athos

The Holy Lord has completed many miracles through the icon of st. George Zograf. Many people received physical or spiritual healing, whilst others has received according to their prayers when they approached the icon as great relic to honour God.An interesting fact is that Pomorie Monastery also possesses a great relic a miraculous icon of st. George

Saint George Pomorie Monastery miraculous icon, relic
a miraculous icon of St. George Pomorie

In the center of Pomorie Monastery is located a Holy Fountain St. George. The wholy history of the monastery is related to the Holy Fountain.
According to bulgarian orthodox church tradition the Monastery was established by a Turkish bey in the 13th or 14th century. In that time the bay got an incurable sickness. He tried everything a man could try to get a relief or a cure. He went to a physician, he tried herbs, he tried going and praying to Allah in the mosque an imam praied over him to beg for Allah’s blessing and healing etc …
But nothing helped. One night the bey had a dream that a holy fountain is springing out of his house yard.
When he awoke from his sleep he went and digged on the same place where the holy spring has emerged. And oh miracle ! A spring emerged. He drinked from the water and got healed from his illness.
In the pit where he digged he found an image of St. George which is currently embedded in one of the walls of the tower of the holy spring in Pomorie’s monastery.
Afterwards the bey according to God’s revelation to establish Pomorie’s Monastery while all his family members accepted monastic life.
The bey has give away all hid possesseions (land, money) etc. to the monastery just established.
In the years since then the monastery has been destroyed once and rebuilt, many people has received a relief or healing while drinking from the Holy Fountain.
This year God has blessed the monstery even more abundantly. The abbot and one of the monks has temporary taken some Saint remains and brough them for pilgrimage in the monastery.
The saint remains are of St. John Chrysostom , St. Gregory the Theologian , st. Gregory Palamas
Some of the other relics which are available for pilgrimage in Pomorie monastery until 10th of May are st. remains of Glinsk elder hermits as well as

Saint Martyr Dasius icon
St. martyr Dasius who was tortured and slained here in Bulgaria for his faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

All Bulgarian Saints Icon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The feast of 26 Zographou Bulgarian Holy Mount Athos Martyrs – burned alive by the Roman Catholic Crusaders

Friday, October 24th, 2014

holy-26-martyrs-of-holy-mount-athos-Zographos-zographou-monastery-martyrs-from-the-roman-catholic-crusaders

On 23 October (10 of October in Julian Calendar every year in Zograph Monastery in Holy Mount Athos is celebrated the martyrdom of the 26 Martyrs who were martyed by Latin crusaders in October 10, 1280. The 26 martyrs were burned alive after refusal to accept Union with the Roman Catholic Church as ordered by Byzantine emperor Michael VIII Paleologos. The then wanting to secure his throne emperor gave allowance for Crusaders together with his mercenaries Tatars and and Turks to go and “convert” the Orthodox Slavs to accept the union with the pope who wanted a primacy in the Church.

Mt. Athos stood in firm opposition to the Union. The Athonite monks sent a letter to Michael pointing out that the primacy of the Pope, his commemoration in the churches, celebrating the Eucharist with unleavened bread, the insertion of the “filioque” [“and from the Son”] into the Creed, could not be accepted by Orthodox, and they asked the emperor to change his mind. “We clearly see,” the letter said, “that you are becoming a heretic, but we implore you to forsake all this and abide in the teachings that were handed down to you…. Reject the unholy and novel teachings of a false knowledge, speculations, and additions to the Faith.”


Holy Theotokos – The Virgin Mary icon which spoke with a human voice to a Zographou monk

An icon spoke to an old monk warning that the “enemies of Christ” are coming. The monk went to forewarn the brothers (as he was living 30 minutes afar in a grave-yard), but for his surprise the Holy icon of the Theotokos which spoke to him was found on the monastic entrance.
The brother went and told the abbot (Igumen) Thomas who told to the brothers to either flew in the woods if they’re weak in spirit and to the strong he said to stay and cofess the Holy Orthodox faith. Abbot Thomas together with the 23 monks (24 monks including the abbot) toghet with 4 pilgrims decided to stay in the monastery and suffered martyrdom. The Crusaders who were returning from Jerusalem sent by the ungodly emperor tried to convince the 26 confessors to accept Roman Catholic doctrines such as “filioque” (The teaching that the Holy Spirit cames also from the Son) and to celebrate the eucharist with unleavened bread (like the Jewish) and wanted the confessors to accept the papal union accepted also by the emeror Michael. The 26 Martyrs rebuked these heresies and explained that the “filique” is against the decisions of the 7 Church Councils. Also they give the proof that the Holy Spirit doesn’t proceed from the Son by retelling how John The Baptist baptized Christ and how the Holy Spirit descent over the Lord Jesus Christ in form of a dove. This didn’t convince the papists and the truthful words of the Zographus monks rebuked their error the papists were angered and burned the tower with the holy Martyrs alive. One of the monks fall of the burning tower and the latin though he is dead left him behind however he survived more 30 days! – even though he was on a dying bed and later told what happened to the brothers which came from their hiding places to the monastery. The Holy Martyrs prayed from the fire their last prayer to God to save the Holy Mount Athos and every true Christian on earth from heresies. When they ended their prayer they heard a voice from heaven “Rejoice for great is your reward in heaven!”. The Roman Crusaders heard the voice and were scared howeveras their spiritual eyes were darkened by the lack of the Grace of the Holy Spirit, they kept in their heart tightening. The Martyrdom happened according to Greek chronicles on 10 of October 1280.

The names of the Martyrs for Christ were as follows:

Igumen Thomas, and the monks Barsanuphius, Cyril, Michael, Simon, Hilarion, James, Job, Cyprian, Sava, Jacob, Martinian, Cosmas, Sergius, Menas, Joasaph, Joannicius, Paul, Anthony, Euthymius, Dometian, Parthenius, and four laymen.

The tower building where the holy martyrs were burned was partially kept even though the fire until 1874 however the tower was already too old and it was about to ruin – that’s why it hadto be destroyed. To preserve the memory about the martyrdom of 26 martyrs all brothers of the Zographou monastry decided in one spirit to build on its place a monument.

monument-26-Zographou-martyrs-from-the_Latins-Bulgarian-Zograph-monastery-holy-mount-Athos

This happened the same year 1873. The monument had to be sanctified on the day when the memory of the martyrs is celebrated at the eve after sunrise began a night vigil. The night was moonless and on the heaven one could see only few stars. All around was silence. During the vigil exactly in midnight, after beginning the living and martyrdom of the the holy Zographos martyrs”, above the church all 600 hundred people saw a fire column. Column lighted up the whole monastery and the whole region with such a bright light, that even the small objects in the monastery could be seen. This divine column stayed over the Church for 3-4 minutes and moved and stayed above the monument for 3-4 minutes more and after that started ascending above and formed a ring like a crown, crowning the place where the holy martyrs suffered.

burning-of-26-bulgarian-martyrs-on-holy-mount-athos-zographou-monastery-by-the-crusaders roman catholiclatins

This unusual event continued for about 15 minutes. An eyesights of the miracle were all the brotherhood, guests and hermits who came from nearby Sketes for the feast.

That’s how the Almight God has shown by this miracle omen showing in front of everybody how Godly was the martyrdom of this great confessors of the true faith and loyalty to the Holy Orthodox Church.

Holy 26 Martyrs and Cofessors of the true faith pray the Lord Jesus Christ to save our souls!

Saint Abraham the Bulgarian co-memoration in Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

saint Abraham the Bulgarian, sv. Avramii Bolgarski

Saint Abraham the Bulgarian is an Orthodox Christian saint venerated across most Slavonic Christian dome. His co-memoration in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church (BPC) is on 1st of April.

What is unique about this saint is that he used to be born and grown in the tradition of the Muslim (Islam) faith and by the great providence of God he converted to the true faith of Christianity.

St. Abraham of (Bulgaria), was born in Volga Bulgaria in a community of Muslim Volga Bulgars (old Bulgarians). Nowdays Volga Bulgaria is located in Tararstan Russia. The saint used to be an islamic merchant and His martyrdom for Christ happened in March 6 (according to old Church Calendar) in year 1229.

He used to live in a very complex situation, when the islamic influence of Arabs in his motherland was quite severe. St. Abraham of Bulgaria used to be a rich man for his time, he was a merchant.
Because of the trade he travelled a lot to the Byzantine Empire and the Orthodox Christian principalities. This give him an opportunity to get to know Christian faith little by little.

He was accustomed to a wordly life but still always accepted strangers and similar to the Old Testamental father of nations st. Abraham he's been very hospitable to poor people.
By Gods grace he become convinced Muslim faith does not teach a true faith to the one God,  being pointed by God himself towards the right salvation way, he accepted Jesus Christ as a Lord and Saviour being baptized and hence converting to the truthful Christian faith.

His Christian baptizmal was accepted from Russian traders, who lived nearby the place of Great Bulgar.
Being baptized in the Christian faith Saint Abraham of Bulgaria not only confessed Christian faith across his fellow people, but he also led very harsh (ascetic like) life, wearing secretly below his clothes a heavy chains during his worldly travels. The profit he made from trade often he shared with the poor.Once he went for a trade to the city of Great (Bulgar) Bulgar. There he was arrested because there was a rumor, he cursed (islamic faith believed prophect) Mohammed and the muslim faith.


Saint Abraham Avramii Bylgarski Bulgarian Martyr saint old drawing

Muslims catched him and started convincing him to reject Christ, accusing him at a blasphemy. Abraham was not scared of muslim threats of expel and even putting to death. As Muslims failed to force him "by words" to convert back to Islam, they took him and put him in jail because of his denial of (their) Islamic faith.

In jail he was tortured but, they failed to convince him to deny Christ, seeing they have no way to convince him to accept Muslim faith once again, saint tormentors first cut his hands, then the legs and finally disgraced by his boldness and continues confession of Christ they beheaded him.

Soon afterwards the city of Bulgar was captured and burned down by the Mongols, many people in that time saw this is Gods punishment for the innocent shed blood of Abraham the Bulgar.
The local Christians took his body and buried him in the Christian cemetery of the ancient city of (Bolgar) / Bulgar.
On the place, where the saint was buried, a healing water spring emerged. The first man who received healing from this spring by Christ's grace was a muslim.

Miracle Making Spring Well Saint Abraham the Bulgarian

Great healing miracles happened on the saint grave. Local Christians took their relatives and bring them to the saints grave for a miracle healing and a prayer intercession of the saint. A rumour about the saints great graceous grave quickly spread and some people told about the miracle healing grave f st. Abraham to prince Georgi / (George) Vsevolodich.One year later again on 6th March 1230, the body of the saint was carried in the city of Vladimir, where the prince and his family, the Vladimirsk Bishop, the clergy and the local people received the holy relics of st. Abraham (of Bulgaria). The holy relics was kept in the local church "Dormition of Mother Mary" on 6th of March in the year of 1230.

The co-memoration of st. Abraham the Bulgarian is being observed in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, since very ancient times.
Nowdays both Christians and Muslim celebrate the saints feast.

Icon of Orthodox Christian Saint Abraham of Bulgaria and his Holy Relics

Interesgingly, nowdays St. Abraham the Bulgarian is venerated as a saint by both Orthodox Christians and by Muslims. Many Muslims from Turkey and other muslim countries come each year for the saints feast day to pray and ask for healing or prayer intercession to God.

Even to this very day people receive by Jesus's grace through saint Abraham the Bulgarian's prayers – a various incurable disease healings. The healings occur on the same holy spring where the saint was buried. Many people are also healed from incurrable diseases through the veneration of the incorruptable saint holy relics kept in the Church Dormition of Mother Mary.

Feast of Saint Stephen’s martyrdom in Bulgarian Orthodox Church / Saint Stephen the first Christian Saint

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Saint Stephen Martyrdom Orthodox Christian Icon

It is 27th of December, the 3rd day of Christmas and in those day in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church we co-memorate saint Stephen's Martyrdom.

Its a well known fact that by his martyrdom Saint Stephen become the first Christian martyr
Stephen's name etymology comes from Greek (Stephanos) and translated means "Crown".

What we know from Orthodox Church's tradition is that Stephen was a very young in his age of Martyrdom probably in his 20s.

Stephen's glorious martyrdom has inspired and strengthened significantly the early seveerly hunted Church and has give a lot of courage and faith to many of our early Saint Martyrs. These early Church saints now incesently pray to God to have mercy on our earthly Church.
Its not much known fact St. Stephen held a rank in the early Church clergy, he was a HieroDeacon.
Hierodeaconism in our church is considered the maximum rank of deaconship one can have just before he is ordained for a Priest.

St. Stephen Orthodox Christian icon

St. Stephen was burning for love in Christ and had a strong faith in God, turning many Jewish to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He has shown the truth way to many by teaching them, how to properly interpret the Old Testament (Ancient Jewish) writtings.
He explained to many jewish, how all the old scriptures testify about the coming of the Messiah (Christ), which will save all who believe in his name from sins hell damnation.
As Jewish looked for ways to shutter any kind of preaching of the Gospel and kill Christianity, they saw Stephen as a big enemy just like all Christians in those early days. Therefore they looked for ways to accuse him and execute them and end up the large numbers of jewish people converting from Jewism to Christianity
The whole story of stoning (execution) of st. Stephen is described in the Holy Scriptures in the book called Acts of the Apostles

As he was about to die, Stephen looked up to heaven and said;

"Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God."
Then, as he was being stoned, he cried out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.".Our Beloved saints last words were, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." manifesting his saintship and deep Christ love even during his last moments of earthly living.
St. Stephen is celebrated in almost all West Roman Catholic Church and in Anglicans.
Churches who co-mmemorate the great saint are located in all around the world.
St. Stephen is also considered a patron saint of Republika Sprska (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Stephen's name later probably become the origin name for western's so popular Steven name).
Saint Stephen Orthodox Christian Icon 11th century byzantine icon
 

Saint Stephen's Byzantine Icon from the 11th Century

Let by the Holy Prayers of St. Stephen God have mercy on the Church and increase our faith and mercies to us sinners.