Posts Tagged ‘Monastery’

Minsk Monastery trip to saint Elizabeth’s Nun Convent – Spiritual realms of Belarus

Monday, April 7th, 2014

st_Elizabeth_Romanova-monastery-Church
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.

Saint_Elizabeth_holy_orthodox_icon_monastery_Minskst_Elizabeth_Romanova-monastery-Church

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) from MINSK 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!!!

St_Elizabeth_Monastery_Monastery_Minsk-picture

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.

father-Andreya-Lemeshonka-spiritual-father-of-st-Elizabeth-monastery-Minsk


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.

Minsk-sister-of-mercy-sestri-miloserdie-Belarus

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

Orthodox Clothes Shop near St. Elizabeth's monastery Minsk

st_Elizabeth-monastery_minsk-medovaja_lavka

A Honey Store – St. Elizabeth Monastery Belarus

st_elizabeth_monastery-food-store

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.

st_elizabeth-monastery-minsk1

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 in Bulgaria 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!

Ancient Orthodox Christian Monastery Patleina and Great Preslav the First Bulgarian Kingdom Capital city near Shumen

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

Great-Preslav-the-capital-of-the-golden-age

Recently I had the great oportunity to Visit another two great History Landmarks of my homeland Bulgaria the monastery Patleina (Saint Pantaleon (known in Slavonic tradition as Panteleimon) – in memoriam of the great healer Christian Saint) where according to Orthodox Church tradition and archeologists is the historical monastery where Saint (Tzar) King Boris the Baptizer of Bulgaria has concluded his early life as humble monk praying for the heavenly blessing and prosperity of his young Christinized Country Bulgaria.

Saint Panteleimon is famous in west Roman-Catholic Christian tradition to be one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers a patron of doctors and herbalists especially famous during the middle ages 14-19 century summoned by people as a shield against various diseases and asked for help for untreatable sicknesses.

Besides the famous monastery Patleina region is a natural reserve 40,62 hectars in North-East Bulgaria, after 893 just few years after the Christianization of Bulgaria in 865 by King Boris the region is famous for being a host of a world famous ancient Presval Literary School near the region are found the oldest known cyriic datable inscriptionsJust to name a few of the famous Preslav Literary School authors that is Saint Naum of Preslav, Bishop Constantine of Preslav (Author of Alphabet Prayer), Historics and various other ancient Bulgarian spiritual literature, John the Exarch, Tchernorizets Hrabar etc.

Notable to see near Patleina monastery are Orthodox Christian icon craftman workshops.

Ceramic_icon-workshops-Patleina-region

Ceramic Icon Workshops near Patleina region (picture source Wikipedia)

Patleina-monastery-signature
 

Just 6 km away from Patleina is situated another Great Historical Landmark, the first Bulgarian capital Great Preslav (Veliki Preslav).
 

9th-century-monastery-Patleina-remains-Bulgaria

9th century Monastery Patleina Church wall remains – picture source Pravoslavieto.com

Patlejna-9th-century-King-Boris-Monastery

Patlejna (Also known as Saint King Boris Monastery) IX century entrance Church wall remains
 

Patleina-monastery-alter-view-near-Shumen-Bulgaria

Patleina IX century monastery Church alter view
 

St._Theodor-ceraminc-icon-Veliki-Preslav

Veliki Preslav the famous Ceramic Icon found during archeological excavations in Patleina Monastery (2 km away from Veliki Preslav)
The icon style reminds of Byzantine art of 10 century, the icon image looks very much alike saint Theodor Stratilates though it not 100% proven whose image does the icon depicts – It is interesting fact that Patleinas craftman workshops are believed to be the biggest ceramic workshops on Balkans in 10th century consisting of a separate ceramic plates – picture source Wikipedia

Besides its  ancient monastery and archeological excavations Patleina region is famous for being a reserve keeping one rare type of tree Carob Tree (or Ceratonia siliqua).

Just about 300 meters away from the ancient monastery Patleina there is functioning monastery that was recently restored bought back by Bulgarian Orthodox Church from the Government, the monastery building started in the 1930s (in which Bulgaria was in a serious spiritual and economical boom, however the building completed right before the completion of the Second World War before 9.09.1944 the date at which the Third Bulgarian Kingdom finished its existence and the communist came to power.

Monastery-Saint-Panteleimon-near-Patleina-region-Shumen

Saint Panteleimon Monastery Patleina region – (notice the unusual architecture, the whole monastery is one big rounded monastic wall

Saint_Panteleimon-Monastery-Patleina-region-monastic-walls

Saint Panteleimon Monastery near Veliki Preslav (picture source pravoslavieto.org)

The monastery saint Panteleimon was planned as in impressive building as in the 30's there was a hope for a restoration of Patleina as a spiritual center that will elevate itself to the importance it once had in the 9th century for the raise of Bulgarian Empire, the building is 4 floor and has the shocking number of 120 rooms. 
The fresh air and nature all surrounding it makes it a great place for rest for people who are overwhelmed by their daily stressful life and as far as I understood there is possibility for renting some of the rooms for a couple of days for pilgrims or even tourists.

Currently the whole enormous monastery is inhabited by only one monk Hieromonk Father Constantne who is also appointed as an Abbot of the Monastery and is in process of doing his best for restoration of the monastery and building a monastic brotherhood.

Hieromonk_Konstantin-Patleina-monastery-near-Shumen

Hieromonk Konstantin (the only abbot and monk of saint Panteleimon monastery near Shumen)

As it is visible from the picture (the boxes under the icon of the Virgin Mary) the monastery has holy relics of Saint Panteleimon and relics of few other saints. What is interesting about father Konstantin is he used to be working in the Bulgarian Atomic Central (AEC Kozlodoi) scientific work before he converted to become a fervent Christian. 

After father Konstantin understood God is a reality he decided to dedicate his life to Christ and he used to be a (novice – neophyte) in the Holy Mouth Athos monk republic in the Bulgarian Monastery saint George for 8 years!!!

It seems in this years father Konstantin realized he would be more helpful to become a monk in Bulgaria instead of Holy Mount Athos as here in Bulgaria, there is a lack of monks at the moment Bulgaria has according to what I heard a maximum of about 200 (monks and nuns) which is critically low.

Holy Liturgy Church service is being served regularly in the small monastic Church which is more looking like a Chapel and is on the first floor situated in the monastery building.

Father Constantine is famous for his hospitally just like most of the Holy Athos monks and right after the Sunday Service it is a tradition to feed all his guests, as a guests we were richly fed and we shared his lunch table just like Agape (the dinners of love of ancient Christian times).

To find out more about Saint Panteleimon Monastery check out the monastery official site here.

Very near to Patleina Monastery there are other great landmarks for those interested in archeology as Veliki Preslav (Great Preslav) the first Bulgarian Capital and Ancient Center of Orthodoxy who had a major influence on Russian Cyrillic and Orthodoxy and from where most likely many Christian icons and books were transferred later to Russia to help them raise their spirituality after Baptizmal of Russia is situated just few km away.

Fortress-Great-Preslav_entrance-walls

Entrance Walls fortress Great Preslav (picture source Izvora)

Fortress-Walls-Veliki_Preslav_walls_Enev

Fortress Walls Great Preslav – The First Bulgarian Capital (ruins from the IX-Xth century) – picture source Wikipedia

In the historical Veliki Preslav the most notable archeological remain is the so called Golden Church

Great-Preslav_Golden_Church_Klearchos_2

Great Preslav the famous Golden Church – the Church was partially restored to show the visitor how approximately it might have looked like in the X-XII century (The church was found during archeological excavations in 1927-1928 by Krystio Miatev and Jordan Gospodinov – according to  written sources from 907 by Tudor Doksov, the Church coincides with the Church built by Simeon I the Great who proclaimed himself an Emperor of Bulgaria 

Veliki-Preslav-The-Golden-Church-the-Round-Church

Preslav the Golden Church (also famous as the Round Church) – picture source fonstola.ru

The-Round-Church-Cross-on-a-stone

Cross on a Stone The Round Church – photograped by Angel Pavlov


Great-Preslav-Patleina-region-visit-view

Patleina and Great Preslav region view

Another Memorial Church worthy to visit in the region is situated on another fortress nearby to Great Preslav. The Memorial Church has the size of a Cathedral and is one of the biggest Cathedral Churches in Bulgaria.
 

Saint-Cyril-and-Methodius-Cathedral-Memorial-Church-Veliki-Preslav

Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius Memorial Church (In veneration of the creators of Glagolic Alphabet, later Bulgarian Cyrillic Alphabet)

St. St. Cyril and Methodius Church was planned as a memoriam of Saint Methodius (1000 years since his passing to Christ) planned to be build earlier in 1890s but delayed and later built in memorium of the Christianization of Bulgaria and 1000 years passed since the glorious Rule of King Simeon I, the Church building works completed thanks to Metropolitan Simeon in 1926 (the building works were delayed from 1897 'till 1918) A.D..

Very near the Church, one can see the ruins of another old Monastery dating again from the IX – X century, the construction is of a massive craved stone and was a masterpiece in the X century.

As an ex monastery the place can be considered holy as well and some people says it along with Veliki Preslov are a Gracious Energy filled places that can positively impact the human spirit.

Very near is situated also an Archeological Museum containing some of the artefacts found in Patleina, Veliki Preslav and the surrounding monasteries  – the museum is in the list of 100 Bulgarian National Museums and Landmarks.

Archeological-Museum-Great-Preslav-near-Patleina-and-Veliki-preslav-remains

Archeological Museum Great Preslav – picture source 100 Bulgarian National Landmarks

The museum has a very unique collection of artefacts and the entrance costs of 5 EUR is bearable, note that it's closed on Sundays.
The museum has an overall of 35 000 objects but unfortunately only 1700 artefacts are shown for the visitor, it is notable for holding one of the largest collection middle age Byzantine insignias, The Preslav Golden Treasure, bronze silver and ceramic artefacts.

The archeologists so far has determined that Veliki Preslav with all its Past Greatness and enormous territory, Churches and surrounding monasteries nearby has been planned as a rivalry Empire city to Constantinople and Preslav will definitely impress you if you're keen into archeology and history, hope you visit it soon, Enjoy! 🙂

 

The Church feast of St. Tsar (King) Boris Mihail (Michael) I – Baptizer of Bulgaria – 2nd of May a Triumph for Bulgarian Autocephalous Church and Church Slavonic

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

saint Tsar Boris the baptizer of all Bulgaria

Today on Second of May every year in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church calendar we commemorate the memory of Saint King Boris (Michael) who is a baptizer of Bulgarian nation and among the greatest saint of Bulgaria, perhaps second in saintship after St. John of Rila.

St. King Boris was the ruler of the First bulgarian Empire (852-889) the actual title as we know it from the chronicles is not king but archont which literally means ruler, but as the main chronicles who came to us are Byzantine we have to take in consideration that Byzantine Chronicles aimed to discredit the Bulgarian rulers because of feeling inferior every non-Byzantines who in Byzantine terms were considered barbarians.

He had a notable correspondence with Pope Nicolas II head of the Western Church before the Great Schism.
Saint Boris I is famous with with 115 Questions (which are fully preserved). He  beseech the pope to sent an apostoles of faith who will teach the new nation to faith in the same time he lead a correspondence with the Byzantine emperor and the Eastern Church.

The pope sent 2 missionaries cardinal Formiosa of Portuens and Bishop Paul of Papulon. King Boris requested for Cardinal Formiosa to become a future archibishop of Bulgaria, but the pope Nicolas II being afraid of loosing ground of a choice of future Bulgarian archibishop rejected king Boris request it is interesting fact that the same cardinal Formiosa become the next Pope of the Roman Western Church in period (891 – 896).

Taking in consideration the papal's desire to dominate over him and the more freedoms given by the Byzantine Church along with the fact that Saint Cyril and Methodius's pupils came to him with a ready Church Slavonic Glagolic version of the Holy Bible and a new Church language (and considering the fact that the seven pupils of St. Cyril and Methodius were being chased away from Great Moravia (Saint Clement of Ohrid (Kliment Ohridski) and Naum Ohrdiski with Sava, Angelarius and Gorazd) and seeing the fallacy of the filioque addition to the Creed of Faith finally King Boris received baptism by the hands of Patriarch Photius.

He received holy baptismal in year 864, receiving the Christian name Michael (Mihail) receiving his Christian name from his godfather, Emperor Michael III.

According to Church tradition the reason to Baptize in Christian faith was his amazement of an icon of the Judgement Day he saw in one of his visits to Constantinople.

The Church tradition also says saint Boris I's sister have lived for a long time in Constantinople, where she received baptism and once returning to the Bulgaria she bring the light of faith here too.

Besides that some of his family has already earlier converted to Christianity and some earlier Bulgarian Khans such as Trivelius (Tervel) who is considered to saved Europe from Muslim Invasion earlier were already Christians.

King_Boris I bapttish of Byzantine Emperor Michael III

During his holy reign he has established mass Christianization of Bulgaria, where the traditional ancient pagan traditions and belief in fake gods like Tangra were abolished completely.

St. Tsar Boris has secured the Bulgarian Church an autocephalousy, he also received the saints Cyril and Methodius, when they were banished from Great Moravia.

Our saint king has secured a refuge for st. Cyril and Methodius and provided them with assistance to develop the Slavonic alphabet and literature.

After he abdicated in 889, his eldest son and successor tried to restore the old pagan religion but was deposed by Boris I. During the Council of Preslav which followed that event, the Byzantine clergy was replaced with Bulgarian and the Greek language was replaced with Old Bulgarian as an official language of the Church and the state.

Bulgaria_under_rule_of_Boris_I-st-the-baptizer-king-of-Bulgaria

In 889 Boris abdicated the throne and became a monk. His son and successor Vladimir attempted a pagan reaction (to return the Bulgarians to the old belief in Tanra), which brought Boris out of his monastic life in 893 out of zeal for Christ and a fatherhood for the future of Bulgarian nation.

Vladimir was defeated and blinded by a miracle of God as Boris had less soldiers than his pagan son but in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ he showed victorious.

Once defeating his unbelieving son, Boris gathered the Council of Preslav in which the Old Greek language in Church was replaced with Church Slavonic and most imporantly on the council King Boris on the Church assembly placed his third son, Simeon I of Bulgaria on the throne, threatening him with the same fate if he too apostatized.

Simeon I was reluctant to become a secular ruler as according to some of the written sources he was preparing to become a great spiritual leader a monk and perhaps a next archibishop or even patriarch in the newly established autocephalous Bulgarian Church but following the monk rule of humility he decided and accepted the throne but throughout his life he kept his great zeal for monasticism and enlightenment. His ruling become a golden age for the Church Slavonic he financed seriously and worked hardly to prepare educated monks and to translate a major works of the Holy Fathers such as Shestodnev (The Six Days of Creation), Simeonov Sbornik (Simeon's Collection) and many of the key works of saint Athanasius the Great, Saint Basyl the Great, Saint John of Damascus etc.

According to some historians it was King Simeon who later give birth to the second by size Monastic Community in Byzantine Emperire the Stone Monasteries of (Meteora).

Boris returned to his monastery, emerging once again in c. 895 to help Simeon fight the Magyars, who had invaded Bulgaria in alliance with the Byzantines. After the passing of this crisis, Boris resumed monastic life and led a holy life until he pass out in year 907.

Here is the daily troparion assigned by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church sang at the churches today (the text is translation from Bulgarian):

St. Boris-Michael, prince of Bulgaria, Troparion

Full of the fear of God, and enlightened by holy baptism, thou becamest a habitation of the Holy Spirit,
O right-believing King Boris; and having established the Orthodox Faith in the land of Bulgaria,
and set aside the scepter of kingship,
thou madest thine abode in the wil derness,
didst flourish in ascetic struggles, and found grace before the Lord.
And now, standing before the throne of the Most High, pray thou, that He grant unto us who entreat thee salva tion for our souls.

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.
 

40 Days since our beloved brother in Christ (ipodeacon Georgi Nedev) has presented himself in God

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Holy Mount Athos st. Georgi the Glory Bringer - Zographus Monastic main Church
Holy Mount Athos st. Georgi the Glory Bringer – Zographus Monastic main Church

I start this post with the St. George Zographus Monastery’s main Church as the Zographus Monastery on Holy Mount Athos was our brother Georgi last eartly place he wanted to spend the remaining of his eartly life.

Today it’s the 40th day since our brother in Christ (ipodeacon) Georgi Nedev has presented his humble soul to our Saviour Jesus.

ipodeacon Georgi Nedev on a Bishop Church service holding the metropolitan sceptre

This is the only picture I have of our brother Georgi

His living was as humble as his departure from this life and his passing I believe in the eternal life with God.
Georgi had the severe desire to become a monk in Holy Mount Athos and has multiple friends in there which loved him and often prayed for him.
Now on this 40 day in our Bulgarian monastery in Holy Mount Athos, Saint George – The GloryBringer (Zographus) monks will be serving a requiem service (Panihida – as we say in Slavonic)

His departure was striking and sudden for of us in the Church community here in Dobrich’s Holy Trinity Church, as well as not less shocking for the Holy Mount Athos Zographus monks Christian community who loved our brother sincerely.

Some short biographic facts about our brother ipodeacon Georgi Nedev are here
Unfortunately the bio-facts I know about Georgi are very little, as I only knew him for a couple of years. Even though the short time I used to know him, I can say I was blessed through him and I’m exteremely grateful to him, it was through him I’ve learned a bit more about Holy Mount Athos and our Bulgarian monk community that is in Zographus, as well as some very minor details concerning the spiritual Church life that I’ve never thought about.
It was thanks to him I was being encouraged on numerous times in terrible times of desparation and loss of faith and track in life.

Thanks to him I was being explained for a first time, how one can go for a pilgrimage journey to Holy Mount Athos and how one can get the pilgrim’s permit documentation related to going there called in greek diamontirium
He also told me about numerous miracles about Holy Mount Athos, and explained me one needs to pray to the Holy Theotokos Virgin Mary and ask her that is being allowed to enter this holy place.

This last lent, even though his sickness Georgi was regularly visiting the evening services in the Church and was dilegent in his spiritual life.

I remember him expressing his enormous joy the last time I saw him on a Holy Liturgy for he took the Holy Communion.
After the Church service, I asked him how is he, his answer was; I’m not feeling well, but praise be to God! for I was able to take the Holy Communion

Many times when I asked him what are his future plans, he used to answer I don’t know anything, it’s all in the God’s will (hands) for me.

You can see yourself how great his dedicated for God was by his own words.

As our priest, who used to be his confessor said, “Georgi was a righteous man and God took him early on”.

Let eternal be your Memory beloved brother Georgi now and Forver and Ever! Amen!

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.

Trip to Kabile nun monastery (Nativity of Theotokos) near Yambol Bulgaria

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Kabile Monastery Nativity of Theotokos (Bulgaria) monastic church photo

Yesterday for few hours on our way back from Shipchenski Monastery, we went through Kabile Monastery (a nun monastery located 6 kilometers from Yambol Bulgaria and just 1 km away from the nearest village Kabile. According to Church tradition in V-th century during the reign of Byzantine emperor Constantine on the same place used to a huge early Christian cloister

Also according to local Church tradition, st. Helena (Elena) – the Mother of Emperor Constantine regularly sent her servents to take Holy Water from the Monastic Holy Spring. Even in the ancient times of existence the monastery is very probably the monastery was inhabited by nuns.
It is known the monastery continued its existence until the falling of Bulgaria under Ottoman Turkish 5 centuries (yoke) Slavery.

According to some annalist saint Bulgarian patriarch Evtimiy of Tarnovo (the last bulgarian Church autonomous patriarch before the fall of Bulgaria under the Turkish yoke) passed through Kabile cloister during his exile by Turkish sultan in Bachkovo Monastery. Tradition says Turkish soldiers believed there is a hidden treasure somewhere in the monastery(the monasteries at 12th, 13th century was rich and often contained many treasures). Because invaders couldn’t find any precious stones or hidden gold inside monastery Turkish soldiers decided to burn down the monastery to the ground and buried the holy (healing water) spring.

Onwards for many centuries the monastic holy land was deserted, but locals from generation to generation kept the memory of the once great monatery alive. The consequential story on how the monatery was restored is quite long. A short version of the history goes like this. />
In year 1919, God appeared in a vision to old village lady Maria and told her where she has to dig to find the centuries “hidden” holy spring. In the vision the lady was told the monastic holy spring will be for restoration and healing of multitudes of people suffering from all kind of diseases.
The news about the re-finding of the Holy Spring, spread in the whole region and people started coming to drink from the Holy Spring to cure themselves from all kind of incurable diseases. The field where the monastery nowdays is was donated soon after by its owner Stoian Ganev

By God’s providence in period 1919 – 1945, the monastery was rebuilt. The monastery was restored thanks to big efforts of Georgi Nikolov (a humble Christian) who travelled continously for years from village to village in Yambol and Sliven region collecting donations for rebuilding.

Kabile Monastery monastic yard


Kabile Monastic Yard

The monastery official name is Birth (Nativity) of Holy Theotokos Virgin Marry (Rojdestvo Bogorodichno) and currently is inhabited by 7 nuns. In the monastery there is a regular everyday morning and evening prayer service, a holy liturgy is served every Sunday. Similar to ancient times, the monastery has a special baptizmal chamber. Many people choose to baptize there children as a blessing in there. Abbot of the Monastery in present times is the lady Minodora.

Kabile Monastery - the Nativity of Theotokos nun monastery near Yambol (Bulgaria)

The little “spiritual desert” of The Nativity of Theotokos is great place for anyone looking for a silent place for pilgrimage to spend some time in solitude and prayer to the Lord God.

Here are few pictures from the monastery, I didn’t bring a camera with me hence I hold no copyright over pictures (copyright belong to there respective authors):

Kabile Nun Monastery near Yambol Bulgaria monastic Holy Spring photo

Kabile Nun Monastery (Bulgaria) – Healing Spring water photo

Inside the monastic Church view to alter doorway Kabile Monastery Bulgaria

Inside the little Church of Kabile Monastery

Manastir Kabile Nativity of the Theotokos Bulgaria

Thanks be to God for all his kindness in showing me this nice spiritual place 🙂

Christian Pilgrimage to Shipchenski Monastery in Shipka (near Shipka Mountain Peak) / Shipka Battle Pass memoriam Russian Church

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Shipka Memorial Church vault - Shipka Battle Pass died soldiers memorial Church picture Bulgaria

For a short pilgrimage journey I went to Shipka. Shipchenski Monastery is a mountaint monastery near Kazanlak, Bulgaria. The monastery monks cells buildings are new and doesn’t hold a hundred or thousand of years of history but still the place is very unique, surrounded by multitude of hundred year old pine trees just 3 minutes of climbing of an Orthodox Church building build in 1902 in memoriam of the great battles that occured for liberation of Bulgarian from Ottoman Turkish empire in Shipka Peak in years 1876-1877.

Yesterday night we spend the night in the monastery guest building. The monks there accepted us quite lukewarm and we were quickly accomodated in (a large room with 6 beds inside). The abbot of Shipka’s Monastery is Archimandrite Januarij (January) – an early Christian great martyr saint. The archimandrite was very hospitable to us, arranged quickly a fasting dinner for us as well as later we had a small chat where he treated us with some of his self-brew Liquor.

As of time of writting in Shipka Monastery lives 6 monks and 2 novice monks. Its worthy to mention the Abbot’s sharp sense of humour, fr. January was making nice jokes every few minutes.

The monastery had 2 dining rooms one for guests and one for monks. We had the chance to eat in both during the less 1 day stay in the monastery.

Getting out of the “monastic walls”, there are stone stairs leading to the monastic Church building.
The Church building is majesticly beautiful with “underground” crypt containing graves of Russian and Bulgarian soldiers, people who sacrificed heroic there lives in the bloody battle that occured between Bulgarian guerillas and Russians soldiers in The Battle of Shipka Pass
The Russian Church built in 1902 is dedicated as eternal memoriam of the heroic battle for the sake of Christ and restoration of Bulgarian Christian country, after we Bulgarians lived under the yoke of Islam for V centuries.

The Church is build fully in the tradition of Russian Orthodox Church buildings (probably by Russian Architects). The wall-painting (icons) are magnificient and painted in 19th century Russian renessance style.

In the Church it is pure joy for pilgrils as there are holy relics of many saints including the holy relics of Saint Alexander Nevski. Here it is maybe good to say today in Bulgarian Orthodox Church, we celebrate the “transferring” (carrying away) of st. Alexander Nevrski’s Holy Relics. The Church is called The Birth of Christ / Nativity of Christ in veneration of our Saviour’s Birth. it is huge cathedral building with 4 Alters, where on of the alters is dedicated to saint Alexander Nevski.
Especially for the feast of St. Aleksander Nevski the Metropolitan of Stara Zagora – his beautitude Galaktion came and served the Holy Liturgy service. There were also about 12 of priests and monks who came and co-served the holy liturgy in order to venerate the great Russian saint.
Going out of the Church the mountain view from is absolutely “breath taking” and something worthy to see if you come in Bulgaria.
Something interesting is the big Church bells, one of the Church bells is currently the biggest existing bell on the Balkans. As you can guess the bell ding is super loud 🙂
Here are some pictures from Rozhdestvo Hristovo (The Birth of Christ) Church to enjoy:

Shipchenski Monastery izgled ot Manastir kym Ruska Cyrkva, sideview from Monastery to Russian Church

Panorama from Shipchenski Monastery cells to Church

Shipka Memorial Church, Rozhdestvo Hristovo - Birth of Christ cyrkva picture

Church of Nativity of Christ

Shipka Russian Church - soldiers who died for liberation of Bulgarian from Turkish Crypt pictureThe Crypt of Soldiers who gave their life for nowdays Bulgarian freedom in Shipka Memoriam Church

Shipka Monastery Russian Church picture in front of Church dveri

Shipka Memorial Church Nativity of Christ Bulgaria, Cross triumphal over Muslim half moon crest

Shipka Memorial Church – Nativity of Christ (Orthodox Cross Triumphal over mulsim half crest

Very near to Shipka’s monastery, there is a pathway leading to exact place where severe bloody battles between Russian, Bulgarian liberators and Turkish army occured. Nowdays on Shipka Peak is a huge beautiful monument in ever-remembrance of the brave Bulgarian Russian soldiers who loose their lives for the sake of Bulgaria.

Shipa memoriam monument of Bulgarian Russian Turkish bloody battles near Shipka Pass (Peak)

How a monastery celebrates a brotherhood monk name day – the feast of (Saint Sergii from Radonezh) in Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Saint Sergii of Radonezh Orthodox icon

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 ;;;