Posts Tagged ‘faith in god’

Feast of Saint Stephen’s martyrdom in Bulgarian Orthodox Church / Saint Stephen the first Christian Saint

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Reading Time: 3minutes

Saint Stephen Martyrdom Orthodox Christian Icon

It is 27th of December, the 3rd day of Christmas and in those day in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church we co-memorate saint Stephen's Martyrdom.

Its a well known fact that by his martyrdom Saint Stephen become the first Christian martyr
Stephen's name etymology comes from Greek (Stephanos) and translated means "Crown".

What we know from Orthodox Church's tradition is that Stephen was a very young in his age of Martyrdom probably in his 20s.

Stephen's glorious martyrdom has inspired and strengthened significantly the early seveerly hunted Church and has give a lot of courage and faith to many of our early Saint Martyrs. These early Church saints now incesently pray to God to have mercy on our earthly Church.
Its not much known fact St. Stephen held a rank in the early Church clergy, he was a HieroDeacon.
Hierodeaconism in our church is considered the maximum rank of deaconship one can have just before he is ordained for a Priest.

St. Stephen Orthodox Christian icon

St. Stephen was burning for love in Christ and had a strong faith in God, turning many Jewish to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He has shown the truth way to many by teaching them, how to properly interpret the Old Testament (Ancient Jewish) writtings.
He explained to many jewish, how all the old scriptures testify about the coming of the Messiah (Christ), which will save all who believe in his name from sins hell damnation.
As Jewish looked for ways to shutter any kind of preaching of the Gospel and kill Christianity, they saw Stephen as a big enemy just like all Christians in those early days. Therefore they looked for ways to accuse him and execute them and end up the large numbers of jewish people converting from Jewism to Christianity
The whole story of stoning (execution) of st. Stephen is described in the Holy Scriptures in the book called Acts of the Apostles

As he was about to die, Stephen looked up to heaven and said;

"Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God."
Then, as he was being stoned, he cried out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.".Our Beloved saints last words were, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." manifesting his saintship and deep Christ love even during his last moments of earthly living.
St. Stephen is celebrated in almost all West Roman Catholic Church and in Anglicans.
Churches who co-mmemorate the great saint are located in all around the world.
St. Stephen is also considered a patron saint of Republika Sprska (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Stephen's name later probably become the origin name for western's so popular Steven name).
Saint Stephen Orthodox Christian Icon 11th century byzantine icon
 

Saint Stephen's Byzantine Icon from the 11th Century

Let by the Holy Prayers of St. Stephen God have mercy on the Church and increase our faith and mercies to us sinners.

Communistic Government BCP epoch deliberately tried to destroy the Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Reading Time: 3minutes

Communism Reality, Anti Communism Poster

As a Child I've been baptized in the Orthodox Church and since then I've been a complete atheist until the age of 21.
What is the reason to get my faith in God in 21? This is a short post to shed some light on the great efforts of communism to erradicate faith in God in Communistic countries and change faith in God with faith in man and how this kind of approach devastates societies.
During the communism it's a well known fact that communists, all the members in the Bulgarian Communist's Party (BCP),has led an anti Bulgarian Orthodox Church government politics. The fact that Communistic Governments are fighting Churches and faith in God is less known among youngesters and hardly known by people part of western democratic societies.

I did not lived this time myself, but I heard many stories about the stupidities of communism.
Many older people say, when communism came to rule the Communist Government did immediately destroy some Orthodox Christian temples, some priests were convinced in crimes they were not responsible for etc…
Other priests were send in the Concentration camps and many of them never returned in the society.
"Access" to the Churches was limited and sometimes prohibited to the orthodox layman and often to clergy.
During these terrible communism era, it was prohibited to everybody who is a member of BPC to attend Orthodox Church services or identify himself as christian in public.
I've heard from my grandma an interesting story she witnessed, while she was working as a cleaner in the militia (police).
Here is the story:
One day my grandma wanted to go to the Church St. George located on the city centre of Dobrich city Bulgaria.
A policeman stopped her when she was entering the temple and since he knew her as an employee in the police called her by name and told her that she is not allowed to enter the church building, because she is working in the police.
My grandma asked the militiaman to let her enter the temple to pray for just few minutes and light up a candle (just for this time) without reporting for that in the police.
The policeman agreed to let us in and keep silent that she entered the Church this time,but warned her that if he sees her another time entering the church he is going to report to the respective authorities.
Another part of the Government active politics against the Bulgarian Orthodox Church was by placing an ex-criminals who were sentenced for thefts, rapings, agression or other crimes as a priests in the Church.
By this move the supreme counsel of the bulgarian communist party wanted to break the people confidence in the Church as the true holy apostolic Church. The most fierce communists during these days did their best to present the church of God as a corrupted and void institution who only steals from people and exists only to deceive society.
Yet many years after the fall of communism this people distrust in the church that communists sow through the years.

What is pity is even after the communism is gone for a long, time the churches are only full on biggest feasts and no more than 5% of the citizens are regularly going for Church service or have even the basic knowledge on the Church truths and mysteries.
Following the fall of communism the democratic governments who come to power, elected in a citizen democratic elections did not do much to help the church either, some of them does lead politics openly hostile to our Bulgarian Church.
The last government selected, seems to be less hostile to our Church, but people have once been cut away from the Church and now its really hard for our nation to get back to faith.
The severe crisis (a word that means judgement in greek) and the hardships many people experience started to make some people rethink about what is the meaning of life and made them occasionally go back to faith of our fathers orthodoxy.
What will happen further nobody knows, we need to pray and hope God will have mercy and people will repent for their sins and come back to faith again.