"With the Grace of God I am what I am" (Corinthians 15:10)
This year the Peter and Paul feast period in the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church was just 3 days (27,28,29), because it is a movable feast and depends on the Great Lent's longitude
Saint Apostles Peter and Paul are named Preeminent because they have laboured the most in setting the basis for the Holy Christ Church.
Saint Apostle Peter together with his brother Andrew were the first which was called by the Lord Jesus Christ which was destined by the Great providence of God to become his desciples and apostles.
Saint Peter's distinguishing soul character was his pure heart and the soul simplicity. Always when the Savior asked questions from his desciples to illustrate them the greater spiritual truths of the Eternal Heavenly life and God's greatness shown through all creation and to reveal them the divine truths about the Holy Trinity it was saint Peter who answered first speaking from the name of all desciples.
That's how one time when Christ asked the pupils "Who do you think I am?", st. ap. Peter immediately answered:
"You're Christ, the Son of the Living God". Then Jesus told him, "Blesssed are you Simon , son of Johna because no flesh and no blood has revealed this secret to you but my Father which is in heaven; and I tell you you're Peter (in Greek meaning stone), and on this stone I'll build my Church and the gates of hell would not prevail it." Mathew 16:14-18
This is the basis, this is the stone which the Lord used to establish his Church – the firmness of faith and the confession that Jesus is Christ (The Messiah), Son of the Living God. Since that moment apostle Peter started bearing also the name Simon-Peter.
By his age also saint apostle Peter was first among the apostles. After the Ascension of the Savior and the descent of the Holy Spirit over the Holy apostles he preached that firy sermon conquering the hearts and minds of the gathered many leading to the baptism of thousands.
He preached in many regions of the Roman Empire and many cities and wrote two letters which we find in today's Holy Bible, New Testament – First and Second Epistle of Peter also presented in the Roman Catholic and Protestant Bibles named Peter 1 and Peter 2.
Being in persecution, various griefs and sufferings, the primus in honor among apostles has restlessly preached the Gospel. In 67 A.D. during the persecution against Christians in eperor Nero's time he was martyred.
His persecutors wanted to kill the apostle on the Cross because he was preaching the crucified Christ, but by his humble request to God for his unworthiness to die with the same death as the Divine Saviour Lord Jesus Christ his executors decided to crucify him with the cross upside down where nowadays we know the inverted cross as a symbol of the holy apostle crucifix. In later times the inverted upside-down cross started being paradoxically associated with antichrism and satanism but in reality few know that it is also a symbol left from ancient christian church.
Saint Apostle Paul before becoming the desciple and apostle of Christ was called Saulus. He was a very educated person for his time. However even though his high education he was a soul blind and unenlightened person. He was initially a fierce persecutor of Christians and even requested by authorities to grant him a special task to persecute and kill all members of the new Roman empire "superstitio" as Christianity was called at that time. On his way to Damascus a great miracle occured and he believed in the Risen Christ the Messiah (Saviour of the World)!
God blessed the repented persecutor with a glory. By a miraculous way the Lord Jesus Christ has appeared to him and he become from a fierest persecutor of Christians he become the most fervent preacher of the Saving Gospel and Love. He travelled many cities and has enlightened many nations. Often persecuted because of his preach and has been in chains was fought with sticks and received various tortures for the sake of Christ. St. Paul wrote many apistles which are red for edification and example for perfect Christian life and dedication during Holy Liturgy to this very day in the Church and his epistle.
Finally in the same year 67 during emperor Nero after being convicted to be a Christian and an enemy of the pagan state not wanting to sacrifice to the Roman idol gods he received martyrdom being beheaded because he was a Roman citizen.
This are the short biographies of the two most glorious among the apostles. So what is the moral and the lesson by this two great saints?
What is the common between the two originally contradictious characters / persons?
The first – simple fisherman, quick in speech and fearful in action who first has confessed the Lord Jesus Christ to be truly God and shortly after his ignition he has denied his Master and Christ thrice.
The other an educated but cruel man a persecuter and killer of Christians. These two very different man became the two central building blocks of the Church that has enlighted a whole meriad of nations and give them examle and tutoring them in the true way of salvation in the Holy Faith and Love.
By the Grace of God which always heals the sick and the frail, by these grace which unifies not only st. Peter and st. Paul but also all of us in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. In this Church and through this grace we vitalize and are saved.
Not because of our own merits, not because we've done something worthy but only and because of God's Grace as it is also said in the Holy Scriptures "By the Grace of God I am what I am" (1 Corinthians 15:10) says apostle Paul. Let us overcome pride – the mother of all sins. Because pride is the reason not to give the owed to God's Grace and deceive ourselves that we with our own energies and powers have become what we're.
Everything we achieve by God's Grace but the condition to attain the Grace is to humile ourselves and hope on God's mercy, because God is an enemy of the proud and to the humile he sends his Grace.
Hence, let us live by the Laws of the Gospels, handed in by the Holy Apostles and let us leave completely ourselves to the power of God's Grace and Love, Now and Forever and Ever. Amen!
Translated (with translator cosmetic changes) from Bulgarian Orthodox Church – "Church Newsletter" nr. 26 – year 1995.
I’m on a honeymoon with my wife Svetlana in Italy our first stop from our 16 days trip through out Venice, a root governing region of the Holy Roman Catholic empire. We’re staying in CA Fortuny hotel, which I warmly recommend to anyone willing to visit Venice (Venezia). We had a flight to Vienna and from Vienna we took another flight to Venice. My first impressions from Italy was the Venice airport which is simple and the snacks and coffee from the coffee machines were on affordable price. As we flight from another EU country member of the Schengen zone, there was no need to do any passport check so we just had to wait 15 minutes and pick up the luggage from bag platform. Once there we looked forward for the information which is located nearby a Change Buro. We were told to go to the nearby ticket office where we learned, to travel to Venezia we had a few options, one was to travel by bus to Venice and walk by 30 minutes to the hotel costing only 6 euro per person and the other was to travel by boat transportation but this was exceesively expensive 15 euro per person!!!. The lady on the tickets office in Airport tried selling us a tickets each 15 euro automatically in responce to my question to give us tickets for transport to San Marco square / Piazza San Marco, good that my wife asked about an alternative transportation and we knew about the cheaper bus. The bus is pretty straight forward to find it is right infront of airport exit. The bus led is directly to Venice, as we didn’t know how to go to San Marco square, we answered a kind Italian who explained us in fluent English. Another lady nearby in the bus heard, where we wanted to go and told us we’re in her direction so we can follow her. As it was raining heavily, she said whe might pick up the Vaporetto (a transportation boats used through out all Venice like a bus :). We had a small chat with the kind lady Gabriela, who explained us she is an English teacher and she is coming back from England for a weeks study exchange seminars and she knows well CA Fortuny hotel which is a 10 room Romantic hotel in the heart of Venice. As we walked by about 30 minutes we talked about various stuff ranging from life in Venice, English study, the current state of education in Venice, the state of Christianity nowadays etc. Once being in the Hotel, we were warmly received by the porter a young man probably age 20-25. I was schoked by the door-man piercing which was scary looking like a just hammered nail in the center of a spider crawling. I asked the portier what is this and he answered this is a micro-dermal implant or something alike. I’ve noticed that people living in western europe have started to get crazy on tatoos and piercings. It seems it is exceptionally modern among youngster people in western europe to Tattoo their right hands or do piercings on various places. It seems less and less people know what does the Holy Hible says about Tattoos and piercings?, I quote literally from the scriptures on tatoos and piercings – Leviticus 19:28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord. – King James Version Bible (KJV). There is also even an old testamental holy bible instruction against the so popular nowadays skinning of head hair (the so called) skin-head movement.
Leviticus 21:55 They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh. – King James Bible Version (KJV). Actually for me it is no strange that so many western people tatoo, their right hand as in the advertisements and throughout our daily lives there are hidden messages trying to convince us to accept the 666 future mark of the beast that will appear in the times when the enemy of Christ the antichrist appears publicly and tries to deceive everyone to accept his 666 mark on the right hand. From the saints and holy fathers we Christians know that this 666 mark will stand up for his name …
The Holy relics of St. Apostle Mark are kept in a stone sarcophagus in the Church alter. It is interesting fact that holy relics were stolen from Alexandria with help of two greek monks to save them from muslim desacration and destruction.
Because the whole city is “living on a water” in venice there is no public transportation (no land bus, land taxi etc.), all transportation is on water. There is water bus / taxi – Vaparetto
, there are boat-markets selling fruits and vegetables, water-police, water-ambulance and even water catafalque
People interested in history and particularly Christianity will definitely enjoy venice as the whole city is full with Roman Catholic Churches in various types of architectures some medieval some from the 11-th century and some started even in more ancient times. Orthodox Christians would be happy to know there is even a Russian orthodox Church in Venice – San Zan Degola (In English Saint John the Baptist).
The saint body is preserved incorruptable for amazingly 1710 years!!! This is a clear proof of a saintship and truthfulness of Christian faith as well is a real miracle before your eyes one can see !!
As Venice is an ancient city it is a great site for Christian Orthodox pilgrimage for Russian speking people a very good Russian resource listing most of the Venice related holy relics is here . Near San Marco Piazza it is worthy to enter Doge’s palace which is currently a museum exposing a great a lot of Venice culture and history. Doge’s palace was the supreme authority of Republic palace, to make an analogue it used to like Kremlin in Russia nowadays.
A ticket for Doge’s palace costed 16 euro per person and ticket allows you to visit another 3 museums in Venice.
Venice has 177 canals on 177 small islands as there is no public transport and venice is small most of the time we walked in order to save money for Vaperatto (whose ticket costs 6 euro). There are no bus station in Venice but there is a train station (Santa Lucia railway station). Current Venice population is around 270 000 ppl.
As a notable tourist destination unfortunately everything in Venice is quite expensive. Even simple things as ice cream costs 3-4 euro per ice-ball, to have a restaurant dinner usually you will have to spend at least 30 / 40 euro per person. There are also some cheaper Trattorias – a type of less formal restaurant with casual service and less shiny looking but usually with cheaper food. You can eat in Tratoria a full 3 course meal for as cheap as 12 to 15 euro per person. Also in Tratoria you can experience more of an Italian type of restaurant, as the personal there usually doesn’t speak English and most of people to eat there are Italians.
We were in Venice only for one full day in Venice and thus we eat only once in a restaurant type of place recommended by a local the Taverna San Trovaso . A 2 persons meals plus 2 cups of wine there costed us cheap for Venice about 30 euro.
The building architecture in Venice is truly unique and you can see piece of art and beauty on literally any corner of it. The shops are all around the city and every kind of souvenir is quite expensive, though you can usually try to bargain to buy a souvenir for half the price 🙂 A notable traditional souvenirs to buy is beautiful colorful glas souvenirs and ofcourse the famous ball masks
I'm in Sofia just for a few days and I'm stunned how expensive is life here if compared to people's revenues. I think it is almost impossible to live normal live in Sofia with money lower than 500 eur. I'm here for a 4 day with my Belarusian girlfriend and I'm trying not to spend too much and already spend about 200 EUR. This makes 50 euro per two person a day and this is just for going outside public transport Metro, Buses and taxis. This makes about 50 euro per day or 25 euro a day required for person to live normal (not at all luxury life) … It is no strange that people are protesting for already about 50 days here in Sofia and that Bulgarians are heavily drinking and smoking and don't want to work. Our Bulgarian nation is depressed and there is a good reason for that. We are forced to live almost like animals. There are no money for renovation the buildings, no money to eat properly, young people's morale is totally messed up for the reason culture here is almost dead or even the one that's left is heavily connected with godlessness, sexuality and consumerism. It is no strange our structures politics and infrastructure here is so messed up. It all starts with people's messed heads and all this gets materialized in our daily lives … Money are the main aim of living of young people and life here is made in a way that you have to only strive after money and for money you should learn to do anytihng … I just don't understand how we ended up here, its quite a pain especially as I lived in end up communistic Soviet time sand I remember people was not so much after money as there was money for normal almost middle class life in Socialistic Bulgaria … There are plenty of knowledgeable people in my dear homeland. Plenty of brilliant and good people but most emigrate for the reason here conditions of living has become extremely abnormal. Truth is European union totally smashed us. With all this shop chains in Western model like Lidl and Billa made just to collect even our last money and the lack of industry, if something doesn't change ASAP we will simply be cleaned up of the face of the world or at least noone will stay in this country. There are plenty of emigrants already, the problem is even in western europe and most other countries there is big problem with unemployment so even if we Bulgarians try to go out we can't find job. I know this post is a big rant but I feel sad for my beautiful homeland. We have one of the most beautiful natures in Europe, we have Sea Beaches and Mountains, we have culture of 15 centuries and own well developed language. But it seems we're loosing our identity day by day. Almost everywhere you go you hear some music in English – even though most people in Bulgaria do not speak decent English and are far from understanding music in English I more and more think there is almost straight logic information in English. Most song lyrics are just fractured and incomplete or messed up, mostly speaking about evil than good. It is tragedy how young people spend there time here in Bulgaria for nothing hanging in pubs and bars spending money for alcohol and cigarettes trying to waste themselves for the only reason they see no future …
A friend of mine mentioned about a documentary movie on intellectual freedoms of Sharing Copyrighted data on the Internet. Probably every young person or middle aged person in Europe have downloaded from scandalous torrent tracker ThePirateBay.com. As of time of writting most of European Union countries has prohibited the use of Piratebay.com, because the torrent tracker site "carelessly" helps people to share copyrighted data using notorious BitTorrent data sharing protocol. The topic of should or shouldn't there be a copyright laws to prohibit sharing of files between ordinary relatively poor internet users like me has been an issue of legislation for years now. From judicial point of view and from business perspective, the companies and individuals holding copyright are loosing money from free distribution of their copyrighted works. However from a point of view well being of European Union citizens it is insane and violation of basic European union legislation which is lobbying for free and equal access to education of EU citizens. There has been numerous scandals, because The Piratebay is being convinced to be just a money laundry machine under the coverage of helping people educated itself, as i saw some investigation on thepiratebay, claiming most of its finances passes through a numerous offshore accounts which makes it impossible to track and money TPB generates from the website advertisements end up in someone's pocket who did not pay EU taxations. Even if this is true, I think the immaterial side of helping people to educate themselves by sharing the world's most important Movies, Music, Software etc. makes TPB more in service than harm to society.
The PirateBay – Away from Keyboard (Piratebay AFK Documentary on Torrent Sharing
Some 5 years ago, while I was still studying in International College Albena (International College Dobrich, Bulgaria) also historically known under the name "International College Albena", In one of my regular Logistics (lectures), we were Projected a movie by our professor Mr. Bojidar Bojkov. Usually I take no interest in educational presentations as most of them is obsolete junk more or less not reflecting the real life reality and is some abstract "pseudo"-science concepts. This time it was different me and my IBMS (International Business Management Studies) study fellows were projected a very informative movie called The Corporation.
The Corporation is a movie containing elements of propaganda as it is trying to proof (convince) the public – that modern society should be much more critical and active in measures against the bad-ness of multi-national corporations and many of the Fortune top 500 profitable businesses
As every kind of movie it is more-or-less manipulative and the author tries to impose his idea about "the evil corporations". The topic of Corporate Citizenship is a modern topic in Business and every large size businesses is claiming to hold a very high standards of "corporate citizenship" and being loyal or green and environmental friendly Green and environment friendliness "buzz-word mantra like words" are everywhere, from the littlest company operating on a single Country Market to the largest and most "respected" companies like BP – (British Petroleum).
It is a public "secret", that most of the succeesful business organizations (be it profit or non-profit) is a dirty and devilish undertaking driven with the one and only goal to enrich the shareholder/s wealth. The organization is usually not governed by the shareholders but assigned management is assigned to supervise the organizations and take the management decisions concerning the org. wealth and power increase.
It is evident noticable fact, that the bigger a business or company is the more likely it is to be functioning efficiently and to provide lower product prices on the market. The reason is middle and big size corporations dispose themselves with "BIG MONEY" – huge financial investments (many of which are with doubtful origin) ….
The expension of USA and UK (English), model of business gave a collapse to any alternative forms of company functionining except – the western model. However the severe economic crisis clearly indicates – "The Western Business Model" which is backboned by such a solid and good theoretical base is not working as expected in practice. Though with the worsening crisis over the last few years it is more and more evident that something need to change fundamentaly on global scale in how private businesses and organizations (westerned) model organizations function, still there is nearly noone doing anything. Instead America is continously following their 'good old' well known "Create Wars and Conflicts Strategy". Where mostly all non western modelated countries or any kind of "untracked" business out of the western model is deliberatily being killed by creating (financing) internal conflicts inside countries (like it happened recently in Egypt), like it happens with the war in Syria and like happened in Vietnam some years back.
There are still some countries in the world, trying to fight-back the broken western unified (international one system) model tendency of the west like Russia and Belarus and hopefully some other Countries whose economics are showing negative results, but in general it seems the 'Western Corporate model' will take over in short future. There is an easy solution to the problem 'raise awareness' of the corporate badness, limit corporations on a local governmental basis and foster a business climate, where start-up and little and middle sized companies are encouraged to rise-up, parallely with dramatical rise in taxation over large corporate multination-business entities … But in order for this to happens it is necessary the majority of people to realize about the Corporations problem and deliberately and peacefully work each on individual base (and according to his abilities) against the 'Evil Corporations Structural (New-World Order) like Empire'
One of this Raise-UP Awareness against the badness of Business-es of the High Scale is The Corporation movie. I'm sure anyone who is interested in knowing how stuff works and how modern economy works would definitely learn a lot from the movie.
The Corporation- A Documentary Movie on curious facts about evils of Multi-National Corporations and "International Businesses"
It is rather paradoxically that the movie came to see the light of day by the University of British Columbia. A movie which criticizes the Western Corporate model was done by a Western (British) University. The movie was primary conducted and made by a law professor Joel Bakan
The documentary examines the modern-day corporation, considering its legal status as a class of person and evaluating its behaviour towards society and the world at large as a psychiatrist might evaluate an ordinary person.
It is rather interesting fact to learn, that probably most not know that in modern times in most countries (if not all), the Corporation is being perceived from a Legal stand-point as 'An ordinary person (citizen) Entity'. Yeah that's right, non-human "being" is legally perceived as human and has all the rights and duties of an ordinary citizen. The big problem with this is the impact is has on general cotiety. An ordinary human could "kill" someone blow off a bomb and kill hundreds but cannot be blamed for killing few millions or leaving a billion of people poor or on the threshold of starvation, but Corporation as having the legal status of a Country Citizen sadly can ….
In the end of the movie after a few typical corporations are examined – a psychiatry diagnosis is set the Corporation (Multi-National) Business Model is diagnosed as Psychopat. The movie also gives a very interesting information concerning some Top Brands and products – like Coca Cola, Fanta, IBM etc. etc.
It is worthy to mention just of them – Fanta used to be invented and was known as 'The Nazis Drink' as in Nazist Germany it was drinked as Substitute for the American way drink (TM) – Coca Cola.
Other interesting facts is back in the day and even probably to this day Coca Cola placed – real quantity of Cocain in their drink leading to addiction – and tried various methods to manipulate the minds of the Consumer in Advertisements of their products. What striked me personally the most was the fact IBM (International Business Machines), were selling identification systems to Hitler and the Nazis in order to number the Jewish prisoners in concentration camps. Noone cares nowadays and still IBM – known also as (The Blue Elephant) is still operating profitably and one of the most important players in the field of IT and Computer Equipment, nevertheless the unhuman crime they did by selling systems which were used by German Officers whose killed millions of Jews and other non-Aryans …
It is rather uneasy to think that the same Corporation which helped indirectly for killing millions helped and played kill role of development of the Personal Computer – The Laptop, the Mobile Phones, Modern Genetics, Implants, The Internent and well you name it …
Here is also a short explanation of the Movie from Wikipedia:
" The film features interviews with prominent corporate critics such as Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Michael Moore, Vandana Shiva, Charles Kernaghan, and Howard Zinn as well as opinions from company CEOs such as Ray Anderson (from the Interface carpet & fabric company), the viewpoints of Peter Drucker and Milton Friedman, and think tanks advocating free markets such as the Fraser Institute. Interviews also feature Dr. Samuel Epstein with his involvement in a lawsuit against Monsanto Company for promoting the use of Posilac, (Monsanto's trade name for recombinant Bovine Somatotropin) to induce more milk production in dairy cattle. "
Though the movie outlines so much important facts, that should be known by any Business Student out – there or any person somehow involved in Business, I have the impression most of the people out there never watch it. Thus I hope my little article will make it a bit more popular and bring some more people to realize, that Corporations Culture and Evils should be opposed and mitigated on individual and society level!
While checking some information on Coptic Eastern Oriental faith, I've stumbled upon a very beautiful (and unique) ancient Orthodox Christian icon depicting Saint Menas and our saviour the Lord Jesus Christ, below is the very beautiful icon
Saint Mena (Sv. Mina) and The Lord Jesus Christ icon from 6th century
As you can see the iconography is very interesting, the images differ from modern day iconography the portraits are not looking so serious but looks like "childish". This childish forms and faces on the early Christian iconography is not accidental; it expresses the childish like pure faith our Christian devoted ancestors had. This early Christian faith and spiritual life icon is obviously in conjunction with our Saviour Jesus Christ words as red in the Gospel according to Matthew:
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
This icon as well as the early Christian icons are very different from nowdays iconography probably for reason; the images difference, the seriousness and the lack of brightness in the faces of nowdays iconography is a clear sign of the great decay of both Orthodox Christian as well as the down-fall of spiritual life worldly. I've seen similar childish looking image icons in some Bulgarian ancient relics museums in my child years and always thought the depictions are so kiddish because iconographers of that time did not have the painting knowledge and skills to draw better ones. Now as I know Christianity much better than then, I understand my previous assumption for the reason of the kiddish looking images is wrong.
Very interesting in the early Christian iconography are the shapes. If you take a close look to above icon, you will notice the disparity of the two body members; the hands, head and eyes are unusually big. My guess for the lack of correspondence of body members is the attempt of early iconographers to put accent on most important members of our bodies;
– The head (holding the mind and thoughts of the saints) – The hands through which the daily food is raised and the eyes through which the world is comprehended are much bigger than in a real person portrait. – The mouth which is almost the size of the eyes; obvious reference that for early Christian contemplating was much more precious (important) thing, than speech. This is also in accordance with the New Testament holy scriptures which says like so concerning the tongue:
8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.
Notice also the Halos of the two saints, the size of the halos is almost one third of the whole body of the saints. The Gospel hold by our and all humanity Saviour Jesus Christ is also enormous sized; corresponding almost the height of the arm of Christ on the icon. The size of the Gospel stresses out the importance of the Holy Bible writtings for early Christians. Nowdays the size of Gospels or Holy Bible especially among protestant Churches "tradition" is becoming smaller and smaller following the spirit of the time proclaiming mobility …
Today the iconography Orthodox Christian "school" has severely changed and the icon images are much more complicated than in ancient times. The complication of images and elements on Orthodox Icons is a "mirror" of the internal complicated world of us modern-time Christians. This over-complication of our internal spiritual world, does separate us from God instead of uniting us as it is well known in Holy Orthodox Christian tradition God is best known through simplicity and pureness in life thoughts and actions.
The Coptic Oriental Orthodox Church is the only Church, where there is still iconographers drawing in the style of the ancient times childish looking icons. The reason Copts preserved this ancient iconography is that they have conservated big portion of the ancient faith rejecting the decisions of all 7 Orthodox Ecumenical Church Councils. Copts still accept only ecumenical council decisions up to the III-rd ecumenical council. This is also the reason why Eastern Oriental Orthodox Christians are considered not in official communion with the rest of Eastern Orthodox Churches. I had the opportunity by God's grace to meet an Coptic Orthodox Christian (a guy called Baky); From what I've seen and experienced within the few months with Baky my conclusion is Coptic Orthodox layman faith is much stronger than the one in most of other Orthodox Christians I know. The official standpoint of our Eastern Orthodox Church concerning the copts are that they're in heresy and not really orthodox. I'm not sure if this is really true, since I have spend few months with this Coptic Christian brother this autumn and winter and from what I've seen and heard as well as researched on coptic Orthodox it seems their overall Church teaching, Holy Liturgies and everything is very much orthodox (with very little service and faith differences). Here are few beautiful Coptic Orthodox Christian icons still being drawn in the spirit of early days Christianity.
Abba (saint) Anthony the Great the father of Orthodox Christian Monastic Life
Coptic Orthodox Oriental Icon of Saint Anothony the Great – "the founder" of Monastic life
Tobias Old Testamential Story coptic icon
Holy Family – Flight into Egypt Coptic Orthodox oriental icon
Christ the Saviour – Coptic Oriental Orthodox icon
A friend of mine (Dido) who is learning C programming, has written a tiny chat server / client (peer to peer) program in C. His program is a very good learning curve for anyone desiring to learn basic C socket programming. The program is writen in a way so it can be easily modified to work over UDP protocol with code:
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 ;;;
I'm currently once again on a pilgrimage in Pomorie Monastery St. George (Bulgaria) – EU as you should read in my previous day post. The brotherhood here is very hospital, since our coming (with Kliment), we were treated like being a part of the monks community. We're given food and allowed to eat together with the monks on one table and even we can enter into some of the interesting discussions after food :). The life in a monastery is actually quite fascinating, though on the outside it seems boring.
As a general rule monks eat a meal twice a day. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the meals are cooked and served usually without oil (except if the Abbot didn't bless differently). The abbot in the Monastery is like a King. The order in the whole monastery resides very much a Kingdom, where the abbot is king some of the monks are his (left and right hand and counselors) etc.
Just like in kingdoms, there are workers who help the kingdom to flourish. With the case with the monastery workers are (mostly believing people) hired (with a wage) to help with the monastery works.
The kitchen "district" has a (chef) cook lady, person/s (usually believing Christians) who help with cooking cutting and vegetables and various meal preparations etc. and serving the brotherhood and workers dinner and lunch. Oh yes I almost forgot, monks didn't eat breakfast. Their usual first meal is like 12 or 12:30 as a straight dinner.
As in Other Orthodox monasteries, here in Pomorie Monastery the monastery is named after the heavenly protector of the place Saint Martyr George.
The brotherhood life here is not as tough as the monasteries located in desert destinations, though just like in other mountain situated Orthodox Christian monasteries the monks has an established everyday Morning and Evening Church Service.
The morning Church service usually starts around 06:00 or 06:30, while on a feast days like Sunday (The Day of Resurrection of Jesus Christ) the service starts a bit later in 07:00 or at very special occasions in 07:30 …
The Evening Services usually start around 04:30 or 05:00 o'clock and continue (depending on Church calendar feast day (saint)) from 30 to 40 minutes up to 2, 3 hours (in biggest feasts or fasting periods). All the monks should be present on Morning and Evening service, where a bell is rang whether the monks has to gather together for a Church service prayer.
As of time of writting officially Pomorie monastery has 4 monk brothers. One is the Abbot, the abbot's left hand, one other hiero-monk who sometimes is serving the Holy Liturgy church services and another monk who is in his 70s and is mostly doing Church book readings. Occasionally the brotherhood accepts a novice pupils who want to enter the monastic life, but as long as my observations goes (during the few years I came as a pilgrim here) many of the novices find the monastic life for them and quit after a few months or a year time.
Just a year earlier the brotherhood, here had 6 monks. Unfortunately the oldest monk Father Tikhon who lived inside the monastery more than half of his life (40 years in the monastery W0W!) passed away after a short sickness and hospitalization. Another one of the monks (Father Joanikius) was transferred by the Sliven's Metropolitan (named also father Joanikius) to serve his monkship (obedience) in our Bulgarian Monastery situation in Holy Mount Athos (Greece) , e.g. to Zographus monastery.
The Abbot of the monastery (Father Yierotej) is a young and energetic person (35 years old) with a good sense of humour and a great God given wisdom grace and joyful temper.
Besides the core monks brothrehood currently the monastery has 5 workers and about 5 to 10 persons (people who are in hardships and have no place to stay) and were accepted to get a healing and a life stabilization while living for a while in the monastery. Some of those people are almost full time living inside the monsatic walls helping with their knowledge and talents to the brotherhood The overall number of people who inhibit the monastery is about rawly 15 people. All this people are given free meals 2 times daily and eat together often either in the monastic kitchen or the dining-room (which is also serving as a guest room).
Before and after each meal intake the people gathered together in the dinner-room pray together asking Jesus Christ to bless their food and drink. Usually the Abbot whenever on the table is the one to ask God for a food blessing. After the meal is complete the Abbot or some of the monks says a thanksful prayer thanking Jesus for giving the daily bread and asking God to give us also the heavenly spiritual food.
The most common food eaten here is vegetables and fruits and in non-fasting days they eat some youghurt, cheese or fish. Eating meat however is un-common and most of the food consumed is fasting food (meat is considered inappropriate food for Orth Christian Monks). The monastery is surrounded by a around a meter monastic walls. In the middle of the monastery is located the Monastic Church Saint Martyr George whichs basic walls dates back to the distant XIX century.
Facing the church about 40 meters from the Chuch are located the monks dwelling rooms also in monastic language called (cells). The monk's cell is full of icon and holy water, crucific crosses and all kind of faith related books so in a sense the monks room looks like a tiny Church.
Right in the middle of Pomorie Monsatery there is a holy spring – disease healing water which by God's providence healed the first Abbot and beneficient of the monastery (ironically the Turkish Abbot Salim Bey who converted from Islam to Christianity and donated all his land to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in the 18 century when still Bulgaria was enslaved by Turkish).
The monastic yard is filled with green beautiful Peach and Plumb Trees. In the monastery yard they have sew of; potatoes, tomatoes, corn and few other "basic" self-grown. vegetables.
Along with the plants in one of the corners near the monastic wall there is a henhouse where some chickens and few turkeys are grown for getting fresh (natural) eggs.
In the old days the brotherhood was growing all their food by themselves as it was a tradition in the Monasteries, however with the changing times and the huge decrease of monks, growing all the monastic food on their-own became an impossible task ….
The monastery is mainly living on pilgrim or local believing people donations and the monastic land, as well as to sales of Orthodox icons and tiny faith related objects (crosses, holy bibles, church related books and literature) etc.
As I hear from some of the monks the harsh economic situation and severe world crisis that is plaguing the world also has a negative influence on the financial balance of the holy cloister too. A monk shared with me the financial expenses of the monastery tend to be "dangerously" growing lately as the amount of people whose the brotherhood is feeding and taking care (healing) daily along with the money for restoration works are raising and the monastery experiences a shortage of money. Still they're not discouraged but as I was told praying and hoping on God's grace to send them kind heart donators to help the monastery.
Most of the people who are in the monsatery not for a theraupetic reason (with a severe disease) work all day long. Though the work seems to be never ending here, one feels calm, relaxed and gracious. Even staying for few hours here, makes you filled-up with God's grace and gives you new energy and hope to continue the harsh daily stress filled life.
Besides the Monastery the town of Pomorie is also very beuatiful and have all the facilities and entertainment a tourist might like to have from a modern beach resort. Yesterday I went and had my first beach time here in Pomorie. Something interesting I noticed on the beach is the sand color which here in Pomorie is a bit blackish. The sea coast here near the beach is not big but feels cozy and there are bars near the beach shore, so anyone wanting to enjoy some of the world goods too can have a fanastic time here 🙂
I've been 28 years old and for good or bad never travelled hitch hiking. Today however with a friend of mine Kimba thx God I lived to experience what it is like to stay on the road "begging" people to take you on their way to somewhere.
I always wanted to hitch-hike as a youngster but my restrictive controlling parents was too vigilant not to let me have my personal freedom and try hitch hiking. Now as I've grown "old" I have the freedom to do it and I'm glad I could. For sure it is better to do something you always wanted later than never 🙂
We took the "STOP" from a place few meters away from the "scratching sign" indicating the end of Dobrich city area – located about 4 / 5 km from Dobrich center. To come to the well known hitch-hiker's place (which my friend Kimba) knew pretty well since he travelled probably more than 20 times hitch-hiking.
To reach the hitch-hiker place we walked about 1 hour which in the early morning (07:50 to 09:00) came to be quite refreshing. About 09:00 we started doing the well know hitch hiker gesture to beg traveller to take us 🙂
It felt quite unconfortable and a bit like begging to be on the road waiting for somebody to pick you up on the other hand it felt very challenging as it seemed to be a good "exercice" to raise up self-confidence. We were lucky and we didn't met any drivers to mock us with gestures or car beep. Besides that we only had to wait less than 20 minutes (probably 18 mins) until a car stop and ask her for our direction. The driver seemed had to travel close to Aksakovo (a small village like town 1 km far from beginning of Varna and just few km away from the city center).
He pick us up and as we go he happened to be a familiar person which I've seen many times in the (International College Albena) where I previously studied. The guy happened to be a merried for the librarian of the college. We had a nice chat in his car about Bulgaria before in communism and now and who is doing what (which I guess is quite normal) for hitch-hikers. As he drived a very funny scene appeared as we saw a donkey leading a cart full of wood running on the road. Now you might wonder what would be funny of a rural donkey with a cart full of wood, well the cart didn't have any person leading it. It seemed the donkey run away scared by a truck or a noise so the person leading the cart either fall somewhere on the road or the donkey had untight itself and took the direction to its home place 🙂
… Our hitch-hiking plan was to travel from Dobrich to Varna (if possible or the closest village or suburb), then we aimed to take a bus from Varna or somewhere nearby to the city center and from the city center to Travel to the so called (Asparuh's bridge / (Asparuhovia Most) – which is a common hitch-hike waiting and pick-up destination).
As we were left in Aksakovo by the driver, we were lucky to have a close bus stop near us. We went to the bus stop and we only had to wait about 8 minutes until the next bus driving to Varna city center arrived. We pick up a bus number 207 and travelled 'safely' to the city center (on the price of 1 lv per ticket). So our overall travelling for both of us instead of 10 lv (5 lv per person bus tick) costed only 2 lv 🙂 Along with the low price for travelling the hitch-hiking was also very healthy as we had a long walk to the place to depart from and after that had a small walk to pick up the bus to Varna. We made a mistake to not go out of the 207 bus near Varna city center Cathedral but two stops earlier, so we also had a small 15 minutes walking to the Cathedral. As we were not sure which bus we need to take to go to Asparuhov's bridge, we asked few people on the city center. We were told we need to pick bus number 2 or 17 (IIRC).
Eventually as we're waiting near the bus station where the bus-es leading to Asparuhovo stopped, we came to meet a taxi driver driving people to Asparuhovo on the price of a bus ticket (1 lv). In 5 minutes time, again obviously by God's might intervention the driver was able to collect 2 more people so he offered that we all immediately travel. The taxi-st left us on a place a bit after Asparuhovo's bridge which was the common place for hitch-hikers. We had to climb a little hill like place and walk a bit on the highway on (the car damage and wreck area). Very near us was a police car waiting to catch violators of speed limits. I didn't know about this very moment that Hitch-Hiking in Bulgaria is considered illegal!, happily I found this sad fact not by the police man but from Kliment (Kimba). The policeman did not stop us as we found a way to walk through a place which is bit far from them. Kimba choose a place and we started doing the hitch-hiker "PLEASE STOP AND TAKE US" gesture once again (actually the as Kimba was a professional in hitch-hiking he was mostly doing the hitch-hike sign.
There we had to wait about 40 minutes or so until, a good man with a small bus carrying some paper palettes stop and took us. Thanks God he had to travel to Jambol to deliver the palettes so his travel route passed by near Bourgas (and respectively Pomorie). We had a an intimaditing chat with the person by which I found out he seem to be having many money issues and a lot of debts (just like many of the people in BG nowdays). Unfortunately he shared that just like a lot of us the common people in Bulgaria he is underpaid and often even though he works extra in Saturdays and Sundays it is almost impossible for him to pay his rent, food and family expenss …..
As the conversation progressed, he asked us where are we going if we're going to find a work and I told him we're going to be guests and pilgrims to Pomorie Monastery and in the mean time help the monks if there is work to be done….
It was a pleasure for me to meet such an honest bulgarian middle aged man, which also was good enough to pick us up. The time passed quite quickly as we shared some of common living joys and griefs. The bus quickly approached pomorie so we left us and we split. As I was thankful to the guy and felt pity for his bad life misfortunes and I wished in my mind that God bless, help him and return him for the good deed he done to pick us up.
We were now only 2 km from Pomorie entrance so to the monastery we had to walk only about 4 or 5 more kilometers. On the gas (oil) station, where we were left a fun story happaned as the computers counting the gasoline stopped working. People who filled the car tanks with Gasoline had to wait until someone comes and fixes the computer, neither nobody can purchase anything from the station (a snacks, a coffee, even a bottle of water) was impossible to buy. We stayed on this little station (Petrol) located just 2 km from Pomorie for 20 or 25 minutes and in this time this people who couldn't pay for the gasoline had to just hang up there loosing their time waiting for someone to fix the BUGGED PC ,,,
This scene has once again confirmed my theory that computerization is not always necessery a good think and the over-computerization of everything as the trend is nowdays could create a lot of time lags in many places and often create a great havoc if systems somehow reject working as planned ….
Anyways to be sure which way to walk to Pomorie Monastery we had to consult few local people. Nicely the road leading to Pomoriiski Manastir was easy we just had to walk straight and then turn right. Actually the monastery bell tower is visible on the way so it is not likely that anyone walking straight will not notice the tower which is taller than other one or two stage housed highed buildings.
We came to the monastery and by Gods grace as we asked previously the abbot for a blessing to come to the monastery, they were expecting us. Immediately one of the persons serving in the monastery gave us a room. I asked for the abbot and we found him in his Abbot place and gave us a blessing. That's the over of my first and hopefully not last great hitch-hiking adventere. The moral from my trip is:
To sum it up, if you never tried stopping on a highway give it a try! 🙂
hitch-hiking is a great must experience in a life-time thing;
Obviously we were lucky and it is always a great think to travel with an Abbot blessing
Hitch-hiking in Bulgaria is illegal, so there is thrill in doing it 🙂
hitch-hiking could be a very healthy initiative
Hitch-hiking is a great raise up and experience new random people self-confidence exercise 🙂
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