Category Archives: Christian Pilgrimage

Collecting Rosehips near Kremikovtsy Monastery Saint George – An Orthodox Christian Team Building

We (me and my wife) and a couple of other volunteers to help with the collection of Rosehips spend the last Saturday on a.
For all those who don’t know Rosehips are rear kind of grass fruits that grow usually in wild open places and mountains.

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rose-hips-mountain-fruit-rich-in-vitamin-c-that-helps-immunity

The whole event was a kind of Orthodox Christian team building because of most the people involved was dedicated Orthodox Christians with the idea to help Kremikovski Monastery in collecting the left rosehips (after the main harvesting).
We were 9 people and half of the people were known or at least seen a couple of times in activities related to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and half of ppl were completely new to me hence and enjoyable network building exercise too.

One of the ladies Angelina organized the whole trip as she has already been to Kremikovtsy Monastery many times and she knows well the Abbot father Seraphim (who is a merried priest but set as an abbot because of the lack of Monk to serve the duty).
The monastery is a really beuatiful one originating from around XII-XIV centuries in the Second Bulgarian Empire (by the order of Tzar Ivan Alexander) and suffered the times when Bulgarian Empire was in its dawn, but
even today keeps this spirit of Majesty that used to have back in the day.
Saint George Monastery Kremikovtsy is situated is situated northeast of Bulgaria’s capital City Sofia. After its destruction in y. 1398 during the Enslavement of Bulgaria by Turkish it was renovated in year 1493 by Ktitor named Radivoy (Beneficient – A Local Bulgaria Nobel).

Ktitor_Radivoj_Kremikovski_monastery
Ktitor_Radivoj_Kremikovski_monastery

The church was rebuild from its ruins by a crushed stones. The main Church was in favour of the Monastery Patron SaintSaint Great Martyr George.

The monastic frescoes are absolutely unique piece of art from the 15 century and are mostly found in the east side of the Church narthex, parts of the frescoes are originating from the 17th and 18th century.
Nearby is built a large Church with a size of a small city Cathedral named in glory of the Intercession of the Mother of God (constructed in 1901 – 1902) to serve the monastery new inhabited 20 nuns from Vardar Macedonia.

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Saint_George-on-a-Throne-with-foot-over-the-dead-dragn-satan-Kremikovski-monastery-Church-icon

Monastery main frescoes are of Saint George who sits on a Throne over the head of the defeated dragon (a depiction of Satan) as well as the famous icon Jesus Christ (Pantokrator) and the Alter icon of Mother of God (Theotokos).

Shirshaya-nebes-bigger-than-the-heavens-Frescoe-Mother-of-God
Shirshaya-nebes-bigger-than-the-heavens-Frescoe-Mother-of-God (source Wikipedia)

In the 15 century the monastery was a pillar stone of the medieval Bulgarian education and culture.

The Rosehip bushes were situated about 1h 30 minutes away from the Monastery and since we arrived in the monastery quite late about 11:30 and we spend 30 minutes in a hospitable lunch in monastic Magerna (the Old Bulgarian Church term for Kitchen) and we eat Kurban (a lamb soup) and a “fried eggs bread” (Dzidzhi Papa) to reach the small field with Rosehips we had to travel with the monastic Jeep (car), we the man were in the back of the Jeep in the rack and we had about 30 minutes bumping hardly pretty much like in a Safari 🙂
The Rosehip collections after that was quite of an adventure of itself as the bushes of the plant are quite thorny we all had mildly wounded our hands.
We collected rosehips in the crystal clear mountain air enjoying a great sight of the Majestic Vitosha Mountain for about 4:30 h time and after that the Jeep came and bring us back to the monastery, where we arrived about 18:00 just for the Saturday against Sunday (Resurrection) evening service which was united with an Akatist to the protector saint of the monastery Saint George.
We stayed for the service about 30 minutes time after which the abbot and the nice ladies (monastic personal) we were offered a great dinner (which consisted of a very tasty home brew goat’s milk  again of Kurban soup) + a very tasty blessed bread and small piccant cheese with peppers portion.

The abbot led a spiritual talk about the current state of Christianity and answered a couple of questions and his wisdom was quite distinctive.
We learned interesting details about how the monastery takes care about his goats and bees and other holdings and had an enjoyable time!

It was really a great experience and I advice any Christian who visits Sofia Bulgaria to also drop by the Monastery for a Pilgrimage, you will not regret it !

Botevo Monastery Saint Marina – Dobrich and Varna most famous active male monastery

Monastestery “Great saint Martyr Marina” or the “Monastery of Doburdja” is situated about 1 km east side from Botevo village, which is situated 8 km west side from the main road between Varna – Dobrich.
It is situated near a vale of a cold water spring.

To reach the holy cloister you should drive the way connecting Krumovo village with Botevo village and you have to turn right nearby the signature pointing the road leading to the monastery. The road leading to the monastery is new asphalt road and is leading straight to the holy place.

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In the monastery only 1 monk (who is the abbot) and one novice are living but the perspective is for the monk community to quickly grow as the place seems to be the only active monastery in the Dobrudja region. The abbot is hieromonk father Prokopij (named after a local saint saint Propkopij from Varna) the novice neophyte who is rumored to become monk near Christmas is Luben and these two man achieve to have a daily Morning and Evening Church services as well as Holy Liturgy so any Orthodox Christian around could benefit to have a regular communion and a monastic services if interested.

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History

Little is know about the early history of the monastery. A little data is evidencing that the wild woody terrain nearby the miracle healing spring that give the raise of the monastery there was any kind of monk or monastic life in ancient times.
Near the spring are found a remains of old village as well as work and home vessels, as well as an old Christian cemetery.
During the Ottoman Turkish Slavery in Bulgaria the region is called “Dylyp Dere“, some information about the monastery are found in an article of a newspaper Macedonia nr. 39 issued in September 1871 written by Dimitar Stanchev who has been migrated to village Juvenlij (the old name of Botevo), he used to be a teacher and a creater of the local revolutionary committe, writer-patriot and a very close friend to the legendary revolutionaries Luben Karavelov and Hristos Botev.
In this article is said “There in the brushes there is a very cold spring surrounded everywhere by stones with the size of a tomb, the walls and inside is a meter of water which does springs all-time down. The spring creates a river used for crop watering”.
The source also says in Kalyp Dere (today st. Marina monastery) there was an yearly assembly of people in which people from all around Dobrudja come together.

Sv.Marina-Botevo-an-yearly-people-assembly

St. Marina Spring has been personally owned by an Ottoman Turk Sali Tapchi (Turkish Bey) and on this place he spend the summer with his harem of woman and this pushed him to decide to build his sarai and once the digging started they found a Cross with a writting Saint Marina.
Once the bey found this is a Christian place he decided to sell the whole region to someone called Lecho from nowdays Botevo, for the symbolic price of 2 horses, 5 goats and 3 mats.

The old man Lecho donated the region to the local Church. Because of any further exact historical writing all known about the monastery is based on local legends which are being confirmed by a real events described by the teacher Dimitar Stanchev.

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The two most famous legends regarding the monastery are following.

1. An old grandmother and grandfather were on their way to the city to trade with their caravant and promised to their granddaughter to pick her up, she fall aleep and they decided not to wake her up and on the coming morning after the first cock sing they departed. The granddaughter awake and decided to leave home and went through the woods hoping to catch up the grandparents but got lost and too tired and then she reached the crystal clear spring and to have a rest lay on the cold stones and died there. People found him on the same day but already dead.
It is not known for sure whether the kid has been buried there but on the grave cross there was written here died “12 years old Marina” and that’s how according to the legend the spring took its name “Marina’s well” and local people decided to gather yearly near the spring to pray for the soul of little Marina. Once Bulgaria came under Turkish Ottoman Slavery, Christians being infear by Turkish cancelled the yearly gathering near the spring. The place changed the spring filled up with filth and people started calling the place “feverish well”.
Then follows the story prior said how the Turkish bey came with his harem and started building the sarai just to find the writting “Here died Marina” with a Cross and he declined his new sarai project and sold the place to Christians.

2. The second legend tells us about the miraculous attributes of the holy spring water.
Long time ago during a hot summer when everyone was working filling their carrets with sheaf bundles, bringing them to the nearby stone road, there was a carret with no sheafs but had inside a suffering family in which a suffering mother was holding a kid burning in fever, they were on a way to look for some medicine for their only child. They tried to find a healing already to a local quacks and tried all possible healers without success near the st. Marina spring they stopped for rest and the kid asked for some water from the spring water. But the spring wasso cold that even the ox refused to drink, and the mother scared to give the kid to drink took some water and washed the kid eyes.
A few drops came to the kids mouth and the mother prayed fervently to God to have mercy on her only child. Angel came down smerked the water and the water become healing.
Even before they came to their village the child was healed and they were joyfully laughing telling all the their neighbors about the miracle and the rumor quickly spread around the nearby villages.
In 1882 after the liberation Church members took a decision to build a small chappel near “Marina’s well”, along with the chapel a two open bathings were build one for woman and one for man.
On the next 1883 they build a stone fountain (that were so popular during turkish and post liberation times), the difference was the fountain did not have an arabic ascribing as most fountains had but st. Marina had a cross on it.

After the Church chapel was built the yearly Chritian gatherings so common in the past re-emerged and  on 17 July 1900 on the feast of Saint Marina, a local priest Hristos Hadjiev from Botevo village, preached fervently and put a new beginning of the remembrance of the memory of saint Martyr Marina.
In 1929 a second stone wall was build in a spheric form on the top of which was placed the holy cross again.

After the first world war after the Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine Bulgaria lost a big part of its territories and South Dobrudja region has been given as a gift to Romania and st. Marina’s monastery was situated only 1 km away from the Romanian border as a result of that many people stopped visiting the chapel St. Marina.
In 1935 the Church board took a decision to build a Church instead of the Chapel. The money for the Church was quickly raised for a very short time and over the holy spring is build a beautiful building and near the Church has been build a special place where the travelling marketers could offer their products. The new Church has been sanctified on 30 july 1935 (on the feast of saint Marina old style calendar) and a Holy Liturgy was served

Тhe water well was sanctified with the rite of sanctification of water by priest Nikola Petrov Apchev serving at the Church of saint prophet Elijah in the village of Botevo.

An old tradition of night vigil on the night before great feasts was also resumed.
According to the Treaty of Craiova in 1940 south Dobrudja was returned to Bulgaria.
At that time king Boris the III-rd was at st. Marina’s region on his way to Dobrich and accidently stumbled on the yearly organized assembly next to the Church and being glad of seeing all the people celebrating together issued a decree to “Build a monastic complex” next to saint Marina’s Church.

King Boris III-rd has personally donated a big sum for building the monastic complex and become the first donor of the monastery because of that time the region was called by local people “The King’s monastery”.

The yearly assembly next to saint Marina monastery’s popularity grow and yearly more and more people attended. Carrets and Caravans visited on saint Marina’s feast coming from all near regions from whole Dobrudja, Varna, Provadia, Valchidol as usual for the time people stayed for the Holy Liturgy then young and elder went to the holy spring and drinked water for a blessing and better health over the year and some of the people take a full shower with the water hoping for a cure from various diseases. Some drinked Rakia other participated in the Horo traditional dances.

Soon came the World War II and Allies and Axis forces soldiers crossed the region sparing the monastery but with the coming of communist (solialist) powers on 9th of September 1944, the water from the holy spring was used for water supplies the monastery was taken by communists and the place desolated quickly, the buldings were in decay, icons, the bell and everything that had any value was stolen. The only remain was a signature on the Church building reading “Saint Marina Church”.
In the 1980s the condition of the monastic temple is terrible in 1981 a nun Valentina from Kalofer Monastery visited the place and worked hardly for the recovery of the Church building begging for help to anyone able to help for the recovery of the monastery.

Initiative is taken by some volunteers by Water and Canals (ViK) Varna for the recovery but noone is allowed to cross the fence of the water providision zone. One of the workers on his own responsibility allowed enthusiastic people to do some repair works and a slow recovery of the place was done.

A help was required by Varna metropolitan Joseph, who most likely being scared by the communistic authorities rejected using an excuse that other Churches in ruins are waiting for recovery …

Following some local people collected donations by nearby citizens and village people around.
People still did not forgot the joyful summer yearly assembly before communism came and wanted this initiative to continue.

With the first collected money brother of nun Valentina, Drumi Spasov, who from the beginning is in the headlines of fighters for the resurrection of the monastery, thanks to him the monastic road was formed, the Church was hedged along with a small coutryard with the help of locals.

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Bricks were taken from the home town of Valentina and Drumi Vylchi Dol and concrete was delivered from Devnia concrete factory. Two men on pension participated in smearing the walls from outside and inside. The parish priest father Ivan restored the altar and handcraftly made the iconostasis.

All necessery was provided by people from the near villages. Money are collected with which an icon of saint Marina is bought, which later on
mysteriously disappeared.

A lady Zoya Kiriakova from Varna donated two Greek icons. The old Church bell which earlier was given to a a recycle point in Botevo from a partys antichrstian famous guy was returned by Lubcho Stefanov who kept the bell in himself for many years.

The Church was ready and metropolitan Joseph from Varna was invited to sanctify the Church but he rejects.
The Communist State security interferes and does ruin the sanctification preparations.
The people who were heading the Church with the hope for the sanctification of the Church to occur are stopped before Botevo village, and other people from local villages were prohibited to come near the Church.

The main person father Ivan who initiated the Church gathering is arrested and his faith further on is harsh. He was sent on exile in a distant Dobrich village, where being in great inconveniences he passed away.

Bad years come again for Botevo monastery. The church is vandalized and church belongings stolen. In this terrible period for the monastery the monastery is visited by few local courageous believers mainly on great Church feasts secretly. The Church is locked and controlled by bai Drumi, who preserves the two greek icons.

metropolitan_Kiril-saint-Marina-Monastery-Botevo-village-holy-Liturgy
A good years come for “Saint Marina” monastery when metropolitan Kiril was selected for a bishop of Varna in 1989.
On the next year in 1989 after the democratic changes on the Church feast 17 of July, metropolitan Kiril leads the first for a long time Holy Liturgy.
After the old atheistic regime of persecution of Christians is in the past in the Church there are regular services, the only left is to renew and enrich the material base of the monastery to prepare everything for a monks to inhibit.

For next 10 years in the Church served priests from Varna and in 2001, archimandrite Seraphim, who also provided funds and protection for the place.

Then among the laymen appeared the Christ loving family of Petar and Biserka Petrovi from Varna, with whose fudings a Church restoration works were done and a new living building was built, that is how among the healing water spring and the beautiful small church is formed a beautiful monastic complex. The renewed monastery was sanctified with celebrations by metropolitan Kiril on 17 July 2005 and the common feast region people assembly for Saint Marina’s feast was restored.

Today the holy place, beautifully renewed is a functional monastery with a monk abbot and the small bortherhood lives on people’s mercy (donations). Near the holy spring water there are constantly people with a faith in God and love in the soul which believe in the miracle powers of the holy water.

It is believed that the holy spring cold water helps people recover from severe eyesight diseases and a soul sicknesses.

Sources:
1. Atanas Kazandzhiev, Ivan Kolev, The Monastery “Saint Marina” in Botevo Village, publishing house “Matador 74”, Dobrich 2007
2. Official site of Varna and Veliko Preslav Metropolia – www.metropolia-varna.org

Trip to Baylovo Village, Meeting a Living saint and Elin Pelin birth house

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Today thanks to my dear friend Cvetomir, I had the chance to visit Baylovo village with us was also his wife Dimitrina (Dima) and their 3.5 years old Son Boris. Baylovo is very famous nowdays in Bulgaria because of Elder Dobri (Dqdo Dobri) – who is considered by many in Bulgaria a living saint for more about him  see http://saintdobry.com.

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These Elder is said to posses the gift of prophecy and many other gracious gifts from the Lord Jesus Christ. Already for years he has taken on himself the cross of poor life and beggery. The overall appearance of elder is unique as he continues to wears a typical old Bulgarian times dresses which was common among Bulgarians, about 100 years ago.

 

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Dyado Dobry has consciously choose the way of simplicity and poorness to honour God. He can often be seen in Sofia streets begging and then all the collected money he gives for the creation and reparation of old Churches and monasteries.

Seeing the elder gives you faith that there is still hope for us the sinners.

Cyrkva-Baylovo-next-to-home-of-dyado-Dobri

We had the chance to see the Living saint living room (house) which is few meters from the Baylovo village Church. Elder Dobry lives in a small room with an old wood stove. He has a prayer corner with many icons of the Lord Jesus Christ, The Mother of God and saints.

He doesn’t even possess a bed but sleeps on sheep leather directly on the ground, the picture below is the other room where is living another relative of him who is nowadays taking care about the elder.

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I had the chance to receive his blessing and kiss his holy hand.
The elder advised me to persist in the blessed silence, because silence breaks up the devils and brings us closer to God.

He also advised me to be careful with empty speech (by which I suffer often), few of the other things he told me were also striking.
Hearing my name Georgi he immediately mentioned the Great Holy Spirit that Saint George possesses and how Saint George helps all the earthly people named after him.

Interestingly Dyado Dobry also told me few things which for me was an evidence he posses the gift of clairvyoance (soul seeing).

We also had a chance a little bit earlier to go and Visit Spasova Mogila’s small Chapel which is situated in a very beautiful nature place.

 

Spasova-Mogila-chapel-from-the-famous-Elin-Pelin-story


After Spasova Mogila
is named the famous Elin Pelin short  story, for those unfamiliar who Elin Pelin is he is a famous after liberation from Slavery of Bulgaria Bulgaria Author.

 

Later on after leaving Dyado Dobri we went to see the Elin Pelin Museum.

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Museum contains all the major writting works of Elin Pelin with unique pictures with Bulgarian King Boris III, Ivan Vazov and his friends and various intellectuals.

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One of the interesting works of Elin Pelin we saw there was of course Yan-Bybian (Ян Бибиян).

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We also passed on near Elin Pelin’s birth house but unfortunately didn’t have the time to visit, however if we have a second chance to visit there, we will definitely see it too.

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3rd March Bulgarian National Day Feast and a Visit to Bulgarian National History Museum (Sofia) and Boyana Church (Church from 11th century preserved in its original form) few impressions

Bulgarian-National-Museum-of-History-unique-communist-building-and-unique-museum-must-see-in-bulgaria.

I spend the 3rd March feast (Liberation of Bulgaria from 500 years !! Turkish Enslavement) by visiting the Bulgarian National History Museum that is located at the end of Sofia nearby Boyana suburb. Bulgarian National history museum is definitely the most unique museum and the biggest one I’ve visited in my wife. The museum is really huge 3 stages each one big as twice the size of a regular business building stage all filled with prehistoric unique findings connected to all nations that ever inhibited Bulgarian lands. There was a lot of history connected with Thracians, Goths, Geths, Byzantines, Prehistoric Bulgarians, Slavonics, a lot of cult objects to the god-mother and all kind of interesting stuff for anyone interested in antrophology.

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The museum had a unique collection containing a miniatures of dresses of the world from all ages of human development, starting from ancient Egypt and rest of famous ancient civilizations, going through renesesance middle ages and ending up modern and most modern time. The clothes miniatures collection was prepared by a very educated lady and she worked on that unique collection for 20 years of her life, a collossal labour worthy of praise and honour !
The museum contains a prehistoric funerals dating by from 5th century B. C. to 1th century.

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Currently the museum is also hosting the Panagurishte Treasure (A unique gold hand-made treasure dating back among the 3rd – 4th century B.C.! Tracian made craftwork and is probably unseen in a world scale). By visiting this museum you can learn almost all about history of Bulgaria as a nation from our creation in year 631 to current times. There are a lot of unique byzantine stones and columns in Old-Slavonic glagolic and cyrillic letters all around so the museum is a must see for anyone interested in slavonic nations research. Almost a whole stage of the museum contains artefacts connected to early Christianity on Bulgarian lands and all kind of Christian service objects. Just to mention few of the unique things there are Orthodox icons from 3rd century, Church service gospels from 13th – 15h century, priests dress, copies and original of ancient Church books etc.

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The last 3rd stage has an interesting miniature of Antarctica. Very interesting fact about Antarctica is the Bulgarian expedition there has created a small chapel dedicated to the greatest Bulgarian saint, st. John of Rila. On the halls leading to 3rd floor there is a lot of unique Bulgarian national dresses (Nosij). Other thing that impressed me is the museums personal is outstanding (really helpful people). The whole third floor is filled with a lot of unique objects belonging to people from most new time after the liberation of Bulgaria. There were a lot of unique things such as Andrej Lapchev personal Belongings, the Thorne of the last Official Bulgarian King Boris the 3rd, the father of Bulgarian avatiaon (Asen Jordanov), dress of Bulgarian gurilla fighters for freedom, weapons used in wars, belongings to very famous Bulgarian authors and painters etc. On the first floor there is a nice and cheap coffee 1lv per coffee. On the first floor there is plenty of historical books every historian would love and a lot of nice suovenirs to take as a remembrance gifts. I’m proud to be Bulgarian for this wonderful museum. The Building was designed in Communism is also a unique the sideview from the Museum is amazing you see the mountain and green nature. So even going around the museum is an outstanding experience. National History museum is also cheap only 10 lv per person and believe me it worths this money! I recommend the museum to every European as one of the best tourist things to see in Bulgaria.

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After the museum me Svetlana and Stanislav went to see the famous Boyana Church st., st. Nikolay (Nicolas) and st. Panteleimon, this Church is unique because it is among the few Churches from 11-th – 13th  who preserved in their original form.
Church is about 40 minutes walk from the museum and there is a bus, but we choose to walk. Its worthy the walk as there is a lot of green nearby and Boyana is a very green and considered one of the best suburubs to live in Sofia (usually rich people in Sofia live in Boyana). The Boyana Church is unique and part of UNESCO heritage objects in Bulgaria, the Church is from 11-13th century and is one of the oldest ones preserved in its original building .The Church paintings are around the 15h century is a uniquely beautiful to see !! but its costly it costs 10 lv for 10 minutes, so I can’t say its worth the price.

St. Euphemia (III century) martyr who prooved Monophysitism is heresy visit Elder Paisios

saint-Euphomia-who-prooved-monophysisum-visiting-elder-Paisios
St. Euphemia is a saint whose miracle has clearly proofed which one is true Christianity when there was a argue between Monophysites and Orthodox Christians on 4th Ecumenical Council

Here is the miracle of saint Eupemia by whose testimony (miracle) shown which is the true Christian (Orthodox) doctrine 

“The Miracle of Saint Euphemia the All-Praised: The holy Great Martyr Euphemia (September 16) suffered martyrdom in the city of Chalcedon in the year 304, during the time of the persecution against Christians by the emperor Diocletian (284-305). One and a half centuries later, at a time when the Christian Church had become victorious within the Roman Empire, God deigned that Euphemia the All-Praised should again be a witness and confessor of the purity of the Orthodox teaching.


In the year 451 in the city of Chalcedon, in the very church where the glorified relics of the holy Great Martyr Euphemia rested, the sessions of the Fourth Ecumenical Council (July 16) took place. The Council was convened for determining the precise dogmatic formulae of the Orthodox Church concerning the nature of the God-Man Jesus Christ. This was necessary because of the widespread heresy of the Monophysites [“mono-physis” meaning “one nature”], who opposed the Orthodox teaching of the two natures in Jesus Christ, the Divine and the Human natures (in one Divine Person). The Monophysites falsely affirmed that in Christ was only one nature, the Divine [i.e. that Jesus is God but not man, by nature], causing discord and unrest within the Church. At the Council were present 630 representatives from all the local Christian Churches. On the Orthodox side Anatolius, Patriarch of Constantinople (July 3), Juvenal, Patriarch of Jerusalem (July 2), and representatives of St Leo, Pope of Rome (February 18) participated in the conciliar deliberations. The Monophysites were present in large numbers, headed by Dioscorus, the Patriarch of Alexandria, and the Constantinople archimandrite Eutychius.
After prolonged discussions the two sides could not come to a decisive agreement.
The holy Patriarch Anatolius of Constantinople proposed that the Council submit the decision of the Church dispute to the Holy Spirit, through His undoubted bearer St Euphemia the All-Praised, whose wonderworking relics had been discovered during the Council’s discussions. The Orthodox hierarchs and their opponents wrote down their confessions of faith on separate scrolls and sealed them with their seals. They opened the tomb of the holy Great Martyr Euphemia and placed both scrolls upon her bosom. Then, in the presence of the emperor Marcian (450-457), the participants of the Council sealed the tomb, putting on it the imperial seal and setting a guard to watch over it for three days. During these days both sides imposed upon themselves strict fast and made intense prayer. After three days the patriarch and the emperor in the presence of the Council opened the tomb with its relics: the scroll with the Orthodox confession was held by St Euphemia in her right hand, and the scroll of the heretics lay at her feet. St Euphemia, as though alive, raised her hand and gave the scroll to the patriarch. After this miracle many of the hesitant accepted the Orthodox confession, while those remaining obstinant in the heresy were consigned to the Council’s condemnation and excommunication.


Here is the story of holy Euphemia visiting Elder Paisios

One day Father Paisios was going through a very difficult phase. A problem was created in the Church at that time and many bishops had gone to him to ask for his help. However, it was a very complicated problem and even if he wanted to, he was unable to assist; as he said, no matter from which side you look at the problem, you come face to face with a spiritual impasse. So, he decided to turn his efforts to solve the problem with prayer. During that time, Father Paisios constantly prayed for God to give solution to the Church’s problem; he prayed especially to St. Ephemia:”St. Euphemia, you who miraculously solved the serious problem the Church was facing then, take the Church out of the present impasse!”

saint-Euphomia-visits-elder-Paisios-on-Holy-mount-Athos
One morning, at nine o’ clock, when Father Paisios was reading the service of the third hour, he suddenly heard someone discreetly knocking on his door. The Elder asked from inside:

“Who is it?” Then, he heard a woman’s voice answering:

“It is me, Euphemia, Father.”

“Which Euphemia?” He asked again. There was no answer. There was another knock on the door and he asked again. “Who is it?” The same voice was heard saying:

“It is Euphemia, Father.”

There was a third knock and the Elder felt someone coming inside his cell and walking through the corridor. He went to the door and there he saw St. Euphemia, who had miraculously entered his cell through the locked door and was venerating the icon of the Holy Trinity, which the Elder had placed on the wall of his corridor, on the right hand side of the church’s door. Then the Elder told the Saint: “Say: Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” St. Euphemia clearly repeated those words and immediately Father Paisios knelt and venerated the Saint. Afterwards, they sat and talked for quite a while; he could not specify for how long, as he had lost all sense of time while being with St. Euphemia. She gave the solution for all three matters he had been praying for and in the end he said to her: “I would like you to tell me how you endured your martyrdom.”

The Saint replied: “Father, if I knew back then how eternal life would be and the heavenly beauty the souls enjoy by being next to God, I honestly would have asked for my martyrdom to last for ever, as it was absolutely nothing compared to the gifts of grace of God!”

Towards the end of June, the doctors informed [Elder Paisios] that he had about 2-3 weeks left. On Monday, July 11, on St. Euphemia’s day, Father Paisios received Holy Communion for the last time, kneeling in front of his bed. During the last 24 hours, he was very serene, and even though he suffered, he did not complain at all. He did not wish to take any more medication. The only medicine he accepted was cortisone, because, according to the doctors, it would not prolong his life span, but it would only give him some strength. On Tuesday, July 12, Elder Paisios humbly and peacefully rendered his soul to God, whom he had deeply loved and served since his early childhood.

 

Orthodox Christian Holy Relics of Milan – Saint Ambrose (San Ambrogio) and Early Christian Martyrs Protasius, Gervasius) year 58 – 64 A.D.

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If you have the chance to be in Milan (Milano) Italy and you want to use your holiday or business trip in optimal way and receive an immerse heavenly blessing you should go to Saint Ambrose (San Ambroge) Church in Milano.
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In that Church are preserved to this day the incorruptable Holy Relics of Saint Archibishop Ambrose (Ambrosius) from Mediolan (c. 340 – 4 April 397). Mediolan is the old city name for Milan) as well as found by him through God’s revalation Holy incurruptable relics of very early Christian martyrs Protasius and Gervasius (54-68) Anno Dommini (After Christ).
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Saint Ambrose is one of the most important Theological Teachers and Doctors of the Early Christian church in IV century, he had plenty of writtings on faith and a lot of translations of old greek Church books and most importantly a severe fighter against the early heresy Arianism (true fighter for true faith of Orthodoxy). St. Ambrogio is also the patron saint of Milan. St. Ambrose is famous for his influence on saint Augustine.

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Another must visit pilgrimage site in Milan is the Church of San Lorenzo (Maggiare)Saint Lawrence where is preserved the Holy incorruptable body of Saint Natalia and Adrian of Nicomedia.

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San Lorenzo Church dates as early as the beginning of IV century and is among the most ancient Churches in Milan.
Below is a bit of more info on Saint Protasius, Nazarius, Gervasius and Celsius of Milan.
The Holy Martyrs Protasius, Nazarius, Gervasius and Celsius of Milan suffered during the reign of the emperor Nero (54-68).

Saints Protasius and Gervasius were twin brothers from Mediolanum (Milan), the sons of wealthy Roman citizens, Vitalius and Valeria. When they received their inheritance from their parents, they distributed the money to the poor, freed their slaves, and occupied themselves with fasting and prayer. The pagans locked them up in prison because they were Christians. St Nazarius met them when he was visiting Christians in the Mediolanum prison. He so loved the twins that he wanted to suffer and die with them. The ruler heard that he was visiting the prisoners, so he had St Nazarius beaten with rods, then driven from the city.

Sts Nazarius and Celsius went to Milan and visited Gervasius and Protasius in prison. They were brought before Nero, who ordered that Sts Nazarius and Celsius be beheaded. Soon after this the holy brothers Gervasius and Protasius were also executed. The relics of all four martyrs were stolen by a Christian named Philip, and were buried in his house.

Many years later, during the reign of the holy Emperor Theodosius (408-450), St Ambrose, Bishop of Milan (December 7), discovered the relics of Sts Gervasius and Protasius through a revelation from God.

In the reign of Arcadius and Honorius, St Ambrose also discovered the relics of Sts Nazarius and Celsius. The holy relics, glorified by many healings, were solemnly transferred to the Milan cathedral.

Trip to Divotino Monastery – Holy Trinity – Divotino Monastery one of the Paradise gardens near Sofia Bulgaria

Most Alive monastery near sofia - trip to divotino monastery

Last Saturday I my wife Svetlana andCvetomir and Dimitrina and their 3 year old boy Boris we went for a small trip to Divotino Monastery – Holy Trinity. This monastery is well know near Sofia by christians because it is one of the monasteries where still one can meet monks with a zeal for spiritual life and a tight monk brotherhood ..

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On our way to the monastery the usual way leading to town of Bankya which is going through a small village was closed so we had to drive to a nearest village. Bankya is famous with its Mineral water – the region is very rich in mineral waters natural springs.

Reaching the monastery, we saw two of the monks to hold a bee hive. The monks greeted us but has to continue doing their planned
work with bees. One of the monks even recognized the kid with us Boris (because 1 year ago – Boris received baptism in this monastery). Later I got a bee bite and now

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Entering the monastery walls one feels like entering heaven for one can feel the abundant grace of God which is dwelling there.
The small garden nearby the Church looks like a heavenly garden.
We had the chance to have a small talk with one of the monks which I later realized is the “right hand of the Abbot”.
Divotino monastery is one of the few ones in Bulgaria that offers isolation from the world as it is situated in a place away from civilization and thus seems to be great place for people who would like to evaluate their life and their life goals or simply find retreat from modern stressful life.

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The Divotino monastery “Holy Trinity” is one of the oldest and best-preserved cloisters in the Sofia region. Originally there was a monastery around ъ. 1046 and then monastery was destroyed in 1386 by Turkish  just to be rebuilt in y. 1875, among local people it is famous unde name “The King Monastery”, because of the frequent visits of Bulgarian King Ferdinand in time of his rulership. in 20th century it was a non monastery. As much of the monasteries in Bulgaria, the monastery had a “cell school”, which at times has accomodated the Grestest Bulgarian revolutionary (liberation) fighter against turkish slavery Vasil Levsky.

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At present, it functions as a monk brotherhood. The monastery lies in the northern slopes of the Lyulin Mountain, about 10km away from the village of Divotino and 4km to the southwest of the Michailovo quarter of the town of Bankya. Divotino Monastery is only 24 km by car from Sofia.
The place is exceptionally picturesque and wild, while the monastery is surrounded by wooded hills and two brooks that cross by its walls.

The area where the pot was found is still known as “The Fortune”. Not much has remained of the old monastery, however, save for small wooden part of the iconostasis and three wall-painted icons. During the plunders of the so-called bands of Kurdzhalii towards the end of 1806, the monastery was not saved and its herds of sheep, cows, horses and buffaloes were stolen. According to a legend, however, the chief of the Kurzhalii, Hassan Hodzha, who led the stolen cattle, was killed by a thunder. His scared men buried him and ran away, leaving behind the plundered animals. The place, where Hassan Hodzha was buried according to the legend is still known as “Hodzha’s Grave”.
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The monastery is popularly known among local people as the Tsar’s Monastery, because of the frequent visits of Tsar Ferdinand there during his rule. It is also told that Tsar Ferdinand donated two carriages to the then-Mother Superior of the Divotino monastery, Claudia. One of the carriages was used for representative purposes, while the other one served for overseeing the vast real estate properties of the monastery. Similarly to many other monasteries, the Divotino cloister also maintained a small monastery school and supported the national struggle for liberation, including by sheltering the famous revolutionary Vasil Levski.

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The Monastery icon has saved Vasil Levski from a bullet.
In Monastery there are two miracle making icons. One is with a hole of a Turkish bullet. The bullet was shot against Levski, when he was hiding from Turkish authorities. The bullet ricocheted and killed the Turkish. The other miraculous icon is of the Most Holy Trinity.

The present-day church and monastery buildings were built in 1902, after the complex had been set on fire for three times in a row during the Ottoman rule of Bulgaria. The church was constructed after the Athos architectural style, and represents a small, one-nave, cross-shaped building. The yard of the monastery is not large, but is rather hospitable with its beautiful fountain, several fruit trees, a wooden table with benches ands a shadowed shelter just in front of the church.

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The church’s feast is marked every year on the 50th day after Easter. On that day, the monks throw walnut leaves out of the altar’s gates towards the worshipers, as the leaves remind of the tongues of flame, which embodied the Holy Spirit during his appearance before Christ’s apostles 50 days after Resurrection.

Here is a video to a small documentary about the monastery – http://vbox7.com/play:3cea590f