Posts Tagged ‘chef’

My observations on brotherhood monks life in Pomorie Monastery or how life flows in a monastery

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Reading Time: 6minutes

My Observations on Brotherhood monks life in Pomorie Monastery - How Life in Bulgarian Orthodox Monastery goes

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.

Pomorie Monastery oldest monastic found stone (orthodox depiction of Saint George basrelief).

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.

Flowers in front of Holy Sprint Pomorie Monastery St. Martyr George

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.

On Pomorie Monastery's website there is an e-PayPal donation form through which willing donators can help financially the monastic community

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 🙂

Our beloved brother in Christ Ipodqkon Georgi (Atonski / from Mount Athos) has passed away

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Reading Time: 5minutesIpodqkon Georgi Atonski from Dobrich

Below I post the only picture I have of this beloved brother in Christ ipodqkon Georgi You see our brother on the right side of the Metropolitan of Varna and Great Preslav Kiril.
Georgi served as an ipodqkon in the Church Holy Trinity here in Dobrich and was well known and loved by the Church community there.
He also was a really good loving and decent man completely devoted to our Orthodox faith, standing firm in the faith.
He worked for many months in Holy mount Athos as a repair workers cook, where he cooked for about 70 people.

Before he worked in Holy Mount Athos, he used to be a restaurant chef in Sandanski.
Since about 6 or 7 months time he become sick, his assumption for the sickness was that it might be of a bad sploit old food which was consumed by accident by him and the rest of the workers.
He shared with me that all of the workers felt sick after eating it but all of them except him has vomited the food afterwards.

He gets poisoned and urgently transfered back in a hospital in Bulgaria. Consequently he went under a lot of examinations which failed to proof the exact type of sickness he was suffering from.
He was prescribed to eat only fasting food (some bread, apples, oil and a few of other light meals). He was prescribed a lot of medications he tried but none of them really helped him and he on a numerous times has shared with me he is not feeling weel, though I was not really believing his health situation is so severe.

The exact state he was experiencing was infirmity, headaches, skin rushes, he could hardly stay on his foots for more than few hours, as lastly he shared with me.
He also got rashes from most of the food he consumed. His life was a real tragedy as I remember I saw him just 3 weeks ago and he was about to go to Sofia for some examinations.
Even though his hardships in life, he was not loosing faith and believed all that was happening was according to God’s will and did accepted his sickness with humility.
During the about 7 months he spend in sickness he was many times being hospitalized in Hospitals in Dobrich, Varna and Sofia.

In each of the hospitals he spend a couple of weeks on injections and live sustaining medical systems.
During this periods, when he was in his home here in Dobrich somewhere in Balik, he often chatted with me over Skype, giving me good spiritual advices.
He also often called my landline phone to consult on various stuff concerning his problems with his notebook. As in the last days he could only lay and use the computer.
The computer he had was one of the few possessions he had, in his last days he did not have money at all as all of his savings were spend for examinations and drugs…

I remember still one time when I walked with him towards the bus-station and I was in a terrible desperation, being faithless.
He instructed me I should pray and told me not to despair and stop smoking as I was nervously smoking…
He lived a life similar in many ways to the life of the saints. He had a strong love for monasticism and had the desire to either become a monk or priest.
He told me many miraculous things he has seen and heard when he was in holy Mount Athos.

Last time I saw my beloved brother Georgi near the Church saint George (sveti Georgi) and for my grief I behaved partly as an asshole, and I repent I was not behaving better.

In this last time I saw him he shared for his great gratitude for God that he was allowed to visit the holy Lands (Jerusalem) The Holy Sepulchure church in Jerusalem.
Even in this last days, obviously living in infirmity he had his strong dedication to the Church and come to the Church services for Resurrection / (Easter) and was mostly being present on holy liturgies in Sundays.

The last time I saw him in the Church he did the Gospel and red some psalms. He was always serious and looked for the spiritual in everything, very rare kind of person to meet today.
Georgi blessed me with a couple of small icons (two copies of icons of Saint Georgi [Fanailska and Araviiska] miraculous icons from mount Athos as well as an icon picture of the Altar of Holy Sepulchure Jerusalem church), and I pray in front of them when I pray to God.

These are two of the icons brother Georgi give me as a gift and blessing from Holy Mount athos:

Saint Georgi Zographus miraculous making icon

Saint Georgi Zographus Miracle making icon

Saint Georgi Fanuilska Zographus Bulgarian Monastery miracle making icon

My beloved brother in Christ Georgi (God Forgive him / Bog da prosti) has also blessed me with a wonderful digital movie about the Bulgarian monastery in Holy Mount Athos Zographus. The movie about Zographus is explaining thoroughfully the history of the holy cloister and showing the originals of the Holy miraculous icons and monks who spoke about today’s spirituality and what is it to be a monk on holy mount athos (one of the most holy places on earth today).

I know also that Georgi was a wonderful a really talanted cook (even a chief) as he was responsible to take an eye for 6 cooks during his work as chief in Sandanski.
In the just recently passed away Resurrection day, he has cooked an Easter cakes and banica as well as some other meals using a holy mount athos recipee.

After the Resurrection early Holy liturgy was over we ate together with the brothers and sisters from Georgi’s delicious meals praising God and rejoicing for our Lord has Resurrected from the dead…
I will really miss my namesake (adash) as I used to call him often. I just hope one day I would see him again if by God’s grace I’m allowed to enter Heaven.
Just about 1 year ago his mother passed away, then some few years before his father has passed away and now not more than a year after his parents he is gone as well.
When I look over this tragedy it’s really hard to understand it but using the Holy Scriptures, one can easily understand why it happened that way as,

His early departure from this life is according to the words in the Holy Bible in Isaiah 57:1:


The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.

I hope ipodqkon Georgi will find grace in front of God to pray for me the sinner and the rest of us who’re still living in ours sins on this sinful earth.

As the memory of the righteous lasts forever he will be forever remembered as I believe he was in the number of the rightous …

Please Orthodox Brothers and sisters pray for ipodqkon’s Georgi’s soul that our merciful God forgives him his trespasses and grants him an ever lasting joy with all the saints in the heavenly church, in paradise!

God forgive you our and my beloved brother Georgi! Let your memory last forever. Amen!