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.
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).
The church was rebuild from its ruins by a crushed stones. The main Church was in favour of the Monastery Patron Saint – Saint 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.
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).
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 !