Posts Tagged ‘journey’

40 Days since our beloved brother in Christ (ipodeacon Georgi Nedev) has presented himself in God

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Holy Mount Athos st. Georgi the Glory Bringer - Zographus Monastic main Church
Holy Mount Athos st. Georgi the Glory Bringer – Zographus Monastic main Church

I start this post with the St. George Zographus Monastery’s main Church as the Zographus Monastery on Holy Mount Athos was our brother Georgi last eartly place he wanted to spend the remaining of his eartly life.

Today it’s the 40th day since our brother in Christ (ipodeacon) Georgi Nedev has presented his humble soul to our Saviour Jesus.

ipodeacon Georgi Nedev on a Bishop Church service holding the metropolitan sceptre

This is the only picture I have of our brother Georgi

His living was as humble as his departure from this life and his passing I believe in the eternal life with God.
Georgi had the severe desire to become a monk in Holy Mount Athos and has multiple friends in there which loved him and often prayed for him.
Now on this 40 day in our Bulgarian monastery in Holy Mount Athos, Saint George – The GloryBringer (Zographus) monks will be serving a requiem service (Panihida – as we say in Slavonic)

His departure was striking and sudden for of us in the Church community here in Dobrich’s Holy Trinity Church, as well as not less shocking for the Holy Mount Athos Zographus monks Christian community who loved our brother sincerely.

Some short biographic facts about our brother ipodeacon Georgi Nedev are here
Unfortunately the bio-facts I know about Georgi are very little, as I only knew him for a couple of years. Even though the short time I used to know him, I can say I was blessed through him and I’m exteremely grateful to him, it was through him I’ve learned a bit more about Holy Mount Athos and our Bulgarian monk community that is in Zographus, as well as some very minor details concerning the spiritual Church life that I’ve never thought about.
It was thanks to him I was being encouraged on numerous times in terrible times of desparation and loss of faith and track in life.

Thanks to him I was being explained for a first time, how one can go for a pilgrimage journey to Holy Mount Athos and how one can get the pilgrim’s permit documentation related to going there called in greek diamontirium
He also told me about numerous miracles about Holy Mount Athos, and explained me one needs to pray to the Holy Theotokos Virgin Mary and ask her that is being allowed to enter this holy place.

This last lent, even though his sickness Georgi was regularly visiting the evening services in the Church and was dilegent in his spiritual life.

I remember him expressing his enormous joy the last time I saw him on a Holy Liturgy for he took the Holy Communion.
After the Church service, I asked him how is he, his answer was; I’m not feeling well, but praise be to God! for I was able to take the Holy Communion

Many times when I asked him what are his future plans, he used to answer I don’t know anything, it’s all in the God’s will (hands) for me.

You can see yourself how great his dedicated for God was by his own words.

As our priest, who used to be his confessor said, “Georgi was a righteous man and God took him early on”.

Let eternal be your Memory beloved brother Georgi now and Forver and Ever! Amen!


Nessebar – Ancient Christian city and a wonderful rest resort

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Reading Time: 5 minutes

nessebar-an-ancient-Christian-city-a-great-resort-place
Last Friday together with my best friend Mitko together with an old-school good friend Samuel and another friend Geоrgi travelled to Pomorie Monastery. The reasons to go there was to have a short pilgrimage journey and to baptize Samuil who had the good desire to receive Baptism. As always it is a God's blessing to spend time in monastery and this was time it was not different. We started the trip from Sofia to Pomorie in about 08:15 and with a few little breaks we reached theMonastery about 12:30. Before we start journey I call Pomorie Monastery's abbot father Ierotey to ask if he will bless our pilgrimage (for those who never was in monastery's everything  happens wtih a blessing and it is best before a monastic trip to ask a blessing). Once arrived the novice monk Milen met us and accomodated us in two of the monastic rooms.

On next day, there was the standard morning prayer service and the bells rung to wake us up, after the service we had a small talk with father Sergiy, met some of the brothers and with abbots blessing together with father Sergiy, we went for a few hours pilgrimage journey to Nessebar.

Nessebar (the town ancient name is Mesambria) is an ancient city situated 16 km from Pomorie (known in ancient times as Anchialo / Anchialo). Both Pomorie and Nesebar was a great historical Christian sites from very ancient times, a cities where first civilization started before Christ. Here according to excavation Christianity started somewhere in the early II-nd century and undergoes а bloom until the XI, XIII century. Here in those places according to some historic datas used to even have an archibiship seat. It is less known fact that Nessebar is one of the most ancient cities in all Europe and started its existence about 3200 years B.C.!
In ancient times before Christianity Mesambria used to be inhabited with Thracians.
On the road to Nesebar we passed through Aheloy (Achelous) – a town where occured the Battle of Achelous (y. 917) which is the biggest battle in medieval European history (120 000 troops participated in battle).

Bulgarians_defeat_the_Byzantines_at_Anchialos_battle_biggest-battle-of-10-th-century-medieval-times

Nesebar is a significant historical city and thus part of UNESCO's world heritage world site. It is divided in new and old city, whether new city's doesn't shiny with architecture, the old town architecture is preserved and absolutely unique. The fact that Nessebar used to be a important Christian center is still evident as even though the town area is situated in peninsula (consisting of only 850 meters width and 350 meters hight), it has 12 Churches !

Nesebar_Church-of-Christ-Pantokrator
Nessebar Church of Christ Pantokrator

Some of the ancient Churches in nessebar are dated from around VI to VIII century. Many of the Churches are in a style specific for Bulgarian empire build in analogy with the  Tarnovo capital of Bulgaria at that time architecture, such architecture is very common for Bulgaria and Byzantine empire in the XIII and XVI centuries. Churches dated from the XIII c. is St. Parascheva, (XIII c.) St. Theodor (XIV c.), St. Archangel Michael and Gabriel (XVI).
По това време са построени църквите “Св. Параскева (XIII в), “Св. Теодор” (XIV в), “Св. Архангели Михаил и Гавраил” (XIV в), имащи преки аналогии в столичната търновска архитектура.
 

ancient-church-in-Nessebar-1

Unfortunately though there are many Churches in Nessebar, many of them are just historical monuments nowadays and others are turned into Painting Galleries. In all ancient city only 1 Orthoox Church – The Dormition of Virgin Mary is functional with regular Holy Liturgies served. The Church has a miracle making of the Theotokos. Many people have found relief and cure or fast help from God after praying in front of the miraculous icon.

miracle-making-holy-icon-of-Virgin-Mary-Nessebar-Bulgaria
Nessebar Miracle Making Icon of Holy Theotokos

To give thanks to Mother Mary many people who received cure or whose prayers came true by praying in front of the miraculous icon deliberately left their gold earings, necklaces and even war medals.
In the Church there are holy relics of number of Christian saints – saint Cyprian and Justina, saint Tatyiana, st. mrtr. Marina, st. Vlasij, st. Macarious

Father Sergij walk us through the city telling a bit of history of each of the Churhes one of the Basilicas was much bigger the rest and fr. Sergius explained that this used to be a Church where a Metropolitan or a Bishop was serving.

We learned that in Nessebar was a very desired king region a place, a highly spiritual place with an overall of 40 Churches!
On the entrance of old nessebar there are remains of the old city fortress walls, the whole city houses and architecture is renessance with a lot of wooden houses.
fortifications_in_entrance_of_Nesebar
Nessebar city entry fortress remains

Nesebar_-_Wooden_Houses
Wooden Houses in Nesebar

Besides the beautiful Churches the sea side is breath taking and from sea shore you can in the distance another resort city Sunny Beach.

nessebar-hills picture
Nessebar winter sea coast view

In Nesebar there are plenty of souvenir shops, caffeterias, small ethnographic styled restaurants assuring a great time for every touries.Very neart to Nessebar is situated also a beautiful rest resort village Ravda.
About 13:00 we left Nessebar and headed back to Pomorie with fr. Sergij who told us a what of Christian faith stories rich in wisdom. On next day Sunday after the end of Holy Liturgy the Abbot of Pomorie Monastery (fr. Ierotey)  baptized Samuel and we had a lunch together with the brotherhood.In early afternoon we  headed back to Sofia. As always father archimandrit Ierotey and fr. Sergius presented us with Christian literature as a gift and a CDs with faith related movies.


Howto import a UTF8 textbook (book) in MySQL table / A simple step by step guide through on howto import books in MySQL

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Reading Time: < 1 minute
I was looking forward to import a textbook I own to MySQL in order to be able later to easily manipulate the text with MySQL queries. After some time spend on trying hard. Here is the steps I took to import the textbook:

1. First we create necessery database and set default charset to UTF8:

freebsd$ mysql -u root -p
# create database textbook in mysql and change it to your likings
mysql$ CREATE database "textbook";
mysql$ use textbook;
mysql$ SET NAMES UTF8;

2. Then we CREATE Necessery database that will use further as a table to import the textbook into:
Below we create the table “textbook” with one column “sentence”

mysql$ CREATE table textbook (sentence varchar(5000);

3. Now we import the book:

mysql$ LOAD DATA INFILE '/path/to/file/textbook.txt' INTO TABLE textbook;

4. Last it might be a good idea to add some extra numbered column to be able to track the lines of the textbook as below:

mysql$ ALTER table textbook ADD COLUMN ID INT NOT NULL auto_increment FIRST, ADD PRIMARY KEY(ID);

In my case the book was in cyrillic and after I’ve taken the above steps I didn’t have any problems with cyrillic letters in the table.
Of course the above method is a bit dump since it’s not flexible enough and doesn’t track the textbook parts or titles, however it’s still a good way to store example on how to store text data in mysql table and could help somebody further in his journey in learning MySQL and next to that serving some simple daily SQL taks.

The Resurrection of Lazarus feast in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church (The day of Lazarus / Lazarus Saturday)

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Reading Time: 5 minutes
The Resurrection of Lazarus Orthodox Icon Sinai

It’s one day before the the great feast of Palm Sunday . On this day in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church we do have a reading of the glorious miracle with the raising (resurrecting) of Lazarus, that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ did in front of many Jewish people.

In the gospel readings, we hear that the Lord has went nearby the place where Lazarus has been buried.
The Jewish tradition of this time is that their dead be buried in a small cave, while the body is being wrapped up in a specific white clothe matter. This kind of burial ceremony is directly related to most of the ancient Jewish beliefs about the resurrection of the death which will take place.

In that time, Lazarus has been dead (or in grave) for already 4 days, even in the Gospel, we read that the rottening body has started to decay and hence the rotting flesh to smell badlhy …

The gospel also taught us, Lazarus has been a friend of our Lord Jesus Chirst, and Christ himself loved him. Very interesting fact concerning Lazarus earthly life is also that he has been a brother of the sisters Mary and Martha.
Mary is actually the same Mary which we read about in the Gospel of Luke, the same mary which bows and cries in front of Jesus’s feets, repenting and begging the saviour for a forgiveness of her sins.

Even though our Lord has been sent a word 4 days before he came, whether the overall journey to the place where Lazarus was at that point was only 2 days. The Lord has come on the 4th day to Bethany (a village near Jerusalem)

When the Lord came in Bethany he found that Lazarus is dead and has been in the tomb for 4 days. On his arrival he met Martha and Mary in turn.
Marta was loudly crying regretting that Christ haven’t arrived earlier otherwise he would have healed from the sickness and he would not die..

The Lord replied to Marta’s lamention with his majestic words: “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me shall live, even if he dies. And everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die”.
As the gospel reading continues, we’re told that Christ has been sorrowful in himself and the Lord Jesus further said the famous phrase: “Jesus wept!
In the presence of a crowd of mourners (obviously many people has loved Lazarus), the Lord did his glorious miracle of Lazarus Resurrection.

After on the heavy stone which was sealing the cave with Lazarus dead body was moved away by the order of the Lord.
The Lord entered in the cave prayed and said to Lazarus: “Lazarus come forth!”
Hearing the order of the son of God and our saviour Lazarus has risen up with the funeral clothes still wrapping his body. Jesus instructed some people from the crowd to remove the grave-cloths from Lazarus and let him walk.
As many people in the grave has saw the indescribable miracle the people witnessing the miracle “believed in him”.

The meaning of the Lord’s “Come forth!” is crucial, as with the the glorious miracle of Lazarus Raising the Lord has shown his authority over death and live.
Even the death was submissive to the Lord’s order! Even the death couldn’t go against his mighty word and silently obeys!

This story was given by our God the Holy Trinity to clearly show us that he is the one in charge over death and over life on earth and hence he is the one in charge of every human being still breathing on this earth.
On the other hand the raising of Lazarus was done to show to us who still doubt in our hearts and minds and disbelief about the promised Resurrection of the Death in the glorious day of the Lord.

Our Lord has even wept, clearly showing to us that he is not indifferent to our suffering, but on the contrary is suffering with our pain himself.

After Christ’s Crucifixion, death, Resurrection and Ascension, Lazarus has become a vigilant Christ disciple. He has further compelled to seek refuge away from Jerusalem to avoid the anger of high priests and the pharisees, who wanted to kill him.
Lazarus has leaved Judea to seek refuge in another country. He found his refuge in Kittium (today called Larnaca) and situated in Cyprus.
According to Orthodox Church tradtion Lazarus has been ordained to become the first Church bishop of Kitium.

Little is known about Lazarus after Our Lord’s Resurrection and Ascension except that during his thirty year he never smiled or joked except for one occasion. One day, he saw someone stealing a clay pot and he laughed saying, “the clay steals the clay”.

Another famous tradition connected to Lazarus is the discovery of Mount Athos in 52AD.
Lazarus was very close to the Virgin Mary and he was very grieved that he could not return to Jerusalem to visit her (he was still in fear of the Jews).
The Theotokos learned of his sorrow and sent him a letter to comfort him.
She asked that he might send a ship to her that she might visit him in Cyprus.
With great joy, Lazarus sent a ship to the Holy Lands to bring the Virgin Mary and John, the beloved disciple to Cyprus for a visit.
On their journey, a great storm blew them off course and carried them to the shores of Ephesus and then the ship to the shores of Athos, Greece.
Unaware that divine providence had brought her to this area, the Virgin Mary completely taken by the beauty of the area, prayed to her son that this could be her garden devoted to prayer to “fight the good fight of faith”.
Having converted, blessed and established a new christian community from the local idolaters they set sail for Cyprus and met with Lazarus.
The day of Lazarus as we call it in Bulgaria is one of the great Christian feasts in our Orthodox Church, even though it’s not among the 12 greatest Christian feasts it’s one of the major feats throughout the Church year.
The first tomb of Lazarus in Bethany remains as a site for pilgrims to this very day. The second tomb, on the island of Cyprus, was found in Kittium sometime in A.D. 890, with his relics inside and bearing the inscription “Lazarus, the Friend of Christ.”
The commemoration of the day the Lord Jesus has risen Lazarus from the death is one of the few feasts during the great Lent which are considered days of spiritual joy in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and all other national Orthodox Churches around the world.
The feast is also known under the name Lazarus Saturday is always commemorated in Orthodox Churches, one day before the Palm Sunday feast.
By the Holy prayers of Lazarus let our Lord Jesus be merciful to us the sinners! Amen.


20th of July St. Elijah (Elias) feast in Bulgarian Orthodox Church / st. prophet Elias short Living

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Reading Time: 5 minutes
Saint Prophet Elijah Bulgarian Orthodox Christian icon

It’s again 20th of July and we in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, celebrate the Holy memory of st. Prophet Elijah (Elias

St. Elijah is among the greatest Old Testamental prophets. He lived before the birth of our saviour Jesus Christ in a time when apostacy from true faith was severe.

In Elias’s time (few centuries B.C.), there used to be also a severe hunger on the land.
Elias was among the little number of Jews who did continued to honour the True God creator of Heaven and of Earth instead of turning to false religious teachings inspired by demons, like it’s the Baal’s cult which was widely spread among Jews back in the time.

Because of his faith in the true God, st. Prophet Elijah was hunted by the king’s wife Jezabel and he was forced to escape from Bersheeba and went alone in the wilderness and sat down in despondency under a juniper tree.

As he slept, an angel touched him, and said unto him, “Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.” He arose and found a cake and a cruse of water. Having partaken of the provision, he went forward on his way for forty days to Horeb, where he took residence in a cave. Here God appeared to him and said, “What dost thou here, Elijah?” In answer to Elijah’s despondent words God manifests to him his glory, and then directs him to return to Damascus and anoint Hazael king over the Arameans (Syria), Jehu king over Israel, and Elisha to be prophet in his room (1 Kings 19:13-21; compare 2 Kings 8:7-15; 9:1-10).

Some six years after this he prophecised and warned by God’s commandment Ahab and Jezebel of the violent deaths they would die (1 Kings 21:19-24; 22:38)

The reason for the great hunger at this times was the fact that no rain has fallen down to the land for two years, as Elias prayed to God that no rain will be given to the people of Israel until they turn back to their true God.

One of the most notable moments of st. Elias’s earhtly living was the great miracle he performed by God’s providence which proofed that only the God of Israel is the true God of heaven and earth.

This happened while he was still in desolation on mount Carmel, it came to pass that Elijah met Obadiah, one of king Ahab’s officers (the king at that time of Israel).
Obadiah was he sent out at this time to seek for pasturage for the cattle (as the hunger on the land was so severe that even pastures for animals was obscure).
Elias’s by God’s word bade him go and tell his master that Elijah was there. King Ahab came forth and met Elias and accused him to be the “Trouble of Israel” as, he thought that his lands troubles are because Elias did not turns to Baal as the the king himself and most of the Jews at that time.
It was then proposed by Elias, that sacrifices should be publicly offered (to determine whose God is in control of taking out the hunger – e.g. Elias’s God of Israel or Baal to whom has many falsely turned.
, for the purpose of determining whether Baal or the Israelite’s God is the one’s master of the Universe.
The competition was accepted by Ahab and many of the prophets of Baal gathered together to “beg” his God for a miracle.

Baal’s false manu prophets gathered around the sacrifice place and started Begging Baal to send fire and burn the sacrificial altar.
Nomatter how hard they screamed, nothing happened so eventually they started cutting their bodies pouring blood in a hope to catch baal’s attention and make him have mercy on them.

As long time passed on and no miracle happened Elias told baal’s worshippers to step back from the sacrificial calf on the built altar and ordered some of the king’s servants to spill water over the calf (three times).
The water brought was so much that the whole altar trench was over-filled with water.

Then saint Elias begged to God: “Oh Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, please hear me! Let oh God this people recognize that You Lord is God and please oh Lord turn the people’s hearts towards you.”, he was still praying when fire came down from heaven and burnt the stones, the water in and the trench itself.

When all the gathered people around saw this great miracle of God, they bowed down and confessed the One and only God.
By Elias’s order the Baal’s false priests has been killed.
After this great miracle, Elias said to Ahab to came back home, before the rain has followed him.
The saint prophet climbed to the mountain top and prayed for a very long time.

After the holy man of God completed his prayers a powerful wind started blowing and the sky has filled with big clouds and a pouring rain come down to the overdried earth.
The king’s wife Jezabel, still kept her stubborness and continued severely hunting for st. Elias and even gave a vow to kill him because all her prophets were killed.

But God again was with st. Elias and saved him by warning him to run away in the wilderness.

Elias was in a big sorrow, here because many of the people still continued to honour the false god baal even though all the great heavenly signs.

God however by a great miracles, has once again shown the prophet he should be of a good spirit always and always to trust in God as he even send his Angel to give Elijah food in the desert.

Elias was among the only 7000 of Israelish man who does rejected to venerate the false god Baal.

By God’s providence st. Elias had a pupil prophet called Elijah.
The time now drew near when he was to be taken up into heaven (2 Kings 2:1-12). He went down to Gilgal, where there was a school of prophets, and where his successor Elisha, whom he had anointed some years before, resided.
Elisha was distraught by the thought of his master’s leaving him, and refused to be parted from him. The two went on and came to Bethel and Jericho, and crossed the Jordan, the waters of which were “divided hither and thither” when smitten with Elijah’s mantle.
Upon arriving at the borders of Gilead, which Elijah had left many years before, it “came to pass as they still went on and talked” they were suddenly separated by a chariot and horses of fire; and “Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven,” Elisha receiving his mantle, which fell from Elijah as he ascended.
Elijah’s chosen successor was the prophet Elisha; Elijah designated Elisha as such by leaving his mantle with him (2 Kings 2:13-15), so that his wish for “a double portion” of the older prophet’s spirit (2:9)

Later on in New Testamential time it was again st. prophet Elias, who appearance in glory on Mount Tabor and talked with our Saviour Christ at the Son of God’s Glorious Transfiguration.
An interesting fact is that Elias and Enoch are the only two people who according to the Holy writtings were taken by God straight to heaven. No other mortal man has been taken that way in flesh.

According to Orthodox Church’s tradition, Elias and Enoch will be brought back to earth again by God in the last days of the anti-christ, when they will again testify about our Lord Jesus Christ’s being the truth God and will also expose the anti-christ who will falsely pretend as being the true god of Israel and a true saviour of mankind.

Again according to this church history this two prophets at this last days, will be given an enormous power from God, even a power to stop the rain to come down to earth and the power to command the rivers to stop.

Oh Holy Prophet Elias, let God have mercy on us the sinners by your Holy prayers and save us, give us grace and always show us His great mercies.
Amen!


Palm Sunday day feast in Bulgareevo (Bylgareevo) – A Pilgrimage Journey to venerate a particle of the life giving cross

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

Reading Time: 5 minutes
palm sunday cvetnica orthodox icon

I’m just coming back from the Bulgareevo (a small village cituated nearby Kavarna).
Bylgareevo is a middle size bulgarian village situated near the sea and is not famous with anything significant.
The village has two Orthodox Church temples and a serving Priest (an Archimandrite, father Metodii).
Father Metodii is one of this priests that is a person to remember as he is a truly devoted to Christ monk. Since about two years of time he has reconstructed his local village house and the yard nearby the house into something which hopefully in the short future will become a fully monk inhabited spiritual fortress (A Monastery).
Father Metodii lives and believes part of his service to God constitutes in rising this small monastery and gathering together Bulgarian believers in order to further rise up the Bulgarian faith in Christ and to become a center for spiritual pilgrimage.

The monastery already has a monastery bell, a monks cells and the small chapel (parakles/paraklis) prepared to be as a place for monks pilgrimage.

Father Metodii’s efforts to make the monastery an attractive place for future candidate novice Monks and Monks are truly genuine!
All he has done by so far is a good example for all us the Christians to follow. Most of the expenses related to the Monastery building are being paid by the Father himself as he has donated all his possession to the Church.
As part of this efforts to rise up the place as a place for spiritual pilgrimage by God grace Bylgareevo’s monastery has been granted the honour to contain a particle of the Holy Live giving Cross Tree on which our Lord Jesus Christ has been crucified.. By God’s mercy the Patriarch of Jerusalem and the local national museum has donated two particles of the Holy Cross on which our Lord Jesus Christ was Crucified and suffered for our sins.

Now the holy crucifixion cross remains particles are being kept in the Monastery’s small chapel for pilgrimage. Thus the opportunity for a pilgrimage journey to Bylgareevo on this day of great spiritual joy Palm Sunday was a huge blessing for me and the few more brothers and sisters with whom we traveled to Bulgareevo
Below I present you with a picture on which you can see Father Metodii (Methodius) holding in hands the small particle of the Crist’s Crucifixion cross tree (embedded in the center of the wood cross on the picture).Father Methodius holding a cross containing a particle of the cross on which the Lord Jesus's Christ was crucified

The name of the village Bulgareevo is also really interesting as it’s a direct direvative from the word Bylgariq (which translates as Bulgaria).
Along with the two particles of the Holy life giving Cross where the saviour Jesus Christ was crucified, father Metodii has collected some great saint relics, just to name a few of the relics which are in the newly built monastery in Bulgareevo; holy relics of saint Panteleimon, holy Relics of Saint John of Rila etc.

Now going back to Palm Sunday‘s feast essense, Palm Sunday is among the 12 Church feasts in the Orthodox Churches, we use to call (The Lord’s feasts [Gospodski Praznici]), and thus is one of the 12 feasts which are most spiritually richful for Bulgaria as an Orthodox Nation and for all other national Orthodox Churches around the world.

Palm Sunday is always celebrated on the Last Sunday before the beginning of “the passionate week”, the week in which we who believe in Christ’s name remember the great trials and suffering our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has carried for the salvation of all Christians.

Palm Sunday is the feast in which we as we read in the Gospel readings in the Church, commemorate Christ’s entrance in Jerusalem on a small donkey.
Here is a small chunk of the Gospel reading for the day:

They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the King of Israel!"

In this scripture text as we read above the people were glorifying God and Christ as the son of the God in accordance to the Old testament scriptures in which it was prophecised that the Saviour of Mankind (The Messiah) would walk in through the entrance doors of Jerusalem riding a donkey.
People who were present observing the Lord’s entrance were witnessing the fulfilment of the old testament psalms prophecies by glorifying the Lord.

This were the same people which just a week later were screaming “crucify” him …

On Palm Sunday it is a Church tradition in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church that willow branches are being blessed by the priest and then distributed among layman as a blessing and a remembrance of the Palms which were layed upon the Lord’s entrance in Jerusalem.

Later on we took the willow branches in our homes and place it in our home icon-stands (the place with the icons we use for a prayer to God).

The use of willow branches in our Church has been established through the years as a Palm Trees substitute as the Palm tree does not grow in the Bulgarian lands

In Bulgaria Palm Sunday is known as Tsvetnitsa. People with flower-related names, (for example Tzviatko, Margarita, Lilia, Violeta, Yavor, Zdravko, Zjumbjul, Nevena, Temenuzhka, etc.) has a name day on that date.
It’s a pity that many bulgarian people who are baptized in our Bulgarian Orthodox Church, fails to understand the symbolic meaning of the willow branches and doesn’t really understand the essence of the Church feast but just go to Church to light up a candle “to have a good fortune and health”., usually mostly missing the spiritual importance for us the Christians of this feast.. but I hope things would get better with time and more Bulgarians who lost their roots during communism will come back to their ancient faith the Orthodoxy.

I recommend to all Orthodox Christian believers from Bulgaria, Romania and Russia who has the oportunity to visit Bulgaria as a tourist destination or on any other occasion to visit Bylgareevo and do a pilgrimage journey to Bylgareevo newly constructed monastery containing the holy relicts.

You will receive the great spiritual blessing of venerating the particle of the cross on which our Lord Jesus Christ’s most holy body was hanging on!
The cross on which the redemption of mankind was achieved by God’s son 2010 years ago!
The cross on which we have received a forgiveness of our sins!
I thank the Lord for having this good blessed day and I pray that we all who believe in his name come to the understanding to know his as he knows us!


A small journey to Obrochishte and Batovo villages

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Reading Time: 4 minutes
Thanks to Ceco (a young orthodox friend of mine, a really cool guy), we made a nice quick organized journey to Obrotishte. The main purpose of the trip was to go to a liturgy to the Church there in Obrotishte and also to visit the Hieromonk Philip (Filip) who is at the present moment priest in the Church there. Father Philip is a really interesting monk, he is currently 28. As most people could understand it’s really unusual this days for someone to become a monk, it’s even more unusual for somebody to become a monk in such a young age. Father Philip has been a monk in Troyan Monastery which presently is among the largest operating monasteries at the moment in Bulgaria. Father Filips is a wonderful person, the church service started a bit later than usual in around 09:20 in the morning, what struck me was that the whole service was held in plain understandable modern Bulgarian language, that shined some light (understanding) on the liturgy and was possibly better than in Church Slavonic language, which is hardly understandable for us Bulgarians in the present age. Another good thing I loved about the service, that Father Filip led the liturgy and accomplised all the priest prayers and entreats in a slow understandable way. Seems like the young monk and a father is a real church father, because he was absolutely kind and loving to me Ceco and Rumiana (a christian girl we picked up from another village before we went to the service in Batovo). Another kind thing from Father Filip was that he refused to get any money for writting some names which are usually mentioned on the next liturgy in front of God on the Holy Altar, for the living (that God forgives their sins, and grants them good health, and success in their works) and for the dead (For God to forgive their sins and remember them in it’s kingdom). After the wonderful Church service we get into Ceco’s car with Father Filip and went and had a nice evening and had a nice lunch in a small restaurant in one of the nearby villages to Obrochishte. We also had a nice talk with the father and with Ceco about different things concerning our christian orthodox faith and other spiritual talks. I’m thankful to God for granting me such a wonderful day. After the nice lunch time, we went to Batovo (A village situated North-East in Dobrudja’s region). Batovo is famous with Batovo’s river which flows directly through the village, another thing to see in the village is a holy spring, some nice woods. The village itself is also a nice place to be. They have two springing water fountains one of which seems to be built up from communists during the communist atheist regime in Bulgaria. It’s a real miracle evidencing God’s disapproval for the communists because soon after the springing fountain has been built by the communists it run dry. Hieromonk Philip has prayed near the dried up fountain to God, that God gives his blessing from heaven and allows this dried up water spring to become a springing one that would be a springing place from now on unto the ages of ages. After that we moved on to the center of Batovo’s village where we met a nice gypsy family (romi as we call them in Bulgaria), it was an interesting thing that this people were deeply religious. They had a deep hunger for God they shared that they do attend both evangelical and orthodox church to light up candles or pray and they don’t understand the difference. Father Philip has briefly explained the difference and explained the importance to attend the true church of our Lord Jesus Christ which is the orthodox church and told them if the guys have more questions they could go anytime to the Church in Obrochishte and he would answer them as many questions relating faith as he could. The discussions between the monk me, Ceco, Rumiana and the father was a real blessings, Praise the Lord! However all isn’t perfect and life is far away from bed of roses. On our way back while we were traveling with Ceco and Rumiana my aunt called to inform me my grandma is having difficulties with her speaking (which as she said could be caused by a heart strike… That struck me light a lightining from a blue sky… I got desperated, thanksfully Rumiana and Ceco probably prayed for me and my grandma because presently she is a bit better. Still we have to see how my beloved grandma would be tomorrow after she has a sleep. I’m really concerned for her because she is one of the people that cares for me the most in this life. She loves we like she loves her soul, the same strange love that Jonahattan and David shared in the story told in our Old Testament. I and guess we the christians should learn from my grandmother’s godliness and christian life. She is one of the few that possesses God this days, as she is saying often she is ready to give her soul for me just like our Lord Jesus Christ has loved us so much that he gave his life for us the sinners … I just hope and pray that God hears my and my christian fellow mate prayers and grant my grandma good health! Thanks to God for everything! Just to clause the post I have to mention my big thanks to Lily and Plamen a friends of mine who sustained me this two days with care, talks and prayers. I just pray God helps them the same as they had helped me!

A Pilgrim journey to Obrotishte, The Tekke in Obrotishte (The beginning of the Orthodox Lent)

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Obrotishte Sufis Tekke

Today I’ve been to Obrotishte’s village once again. We went there with Ceco, Dimi and Rumi some good orthodox christian fellows as well as brothers. We had a great time, the morning church service was unique. It situated in the small church entrance where the Church entrance doors leading to the main body of the church were closed, this was done because the church is really big sized and is hardly heated. Heating this whole building is quite a loss of gas, therefore the Hieromonk serving there Hieromonk Father Philip decided, to have the services in the small entrance during the severe winter. Quite an intelligent and practical move, since most of the church clergy and laymans, were mid size aged ladies and gentlemen. The church was really grace filled, and peaceful. After the nice morning lent opening church service we went to have a coffee, because the monk has to go for a funeral procession. In the mean time we went to see the sea-shore near Obrotishte. The panorama there is really wonderful, laters as soon as I have the pictures may post some views from there. One of the most impressive part of our whole journey was the visitation to the local Tekke (Khanqah) . Tekke is a sort of Muslim medieval gathering building (a sort of monastery) for the so called Sufi’s brotherhood. Sufis are a Muslim sect who had some interesting beliefs, where their beliefs combined slices taken from both christianity and Islam with some other major eastern religion beliefs. I’ve said already few words for the Sufis in one of my previous posts, so for more info please check there. This Obrotishte Tekke is believed to have buried a Sufists saint in the center of the Tekke. The Tekke itself is dating from the 16th century It’s believed that this Tekke possesses some healing energy eminating from the Sufi’s saint buried body. There is a small whole with a size graven in the stone covering the Sufi’s saint’s body. According to the old tradition if a visitor pushs his hand in with faith he can get a miraculous healing from sickness.
Nowadays this Sufists holy place is serving as mainly a museum, however there are some people who also go there as a pilgrims. It’s reported by them that they have received various body healings when they have approached the place with faith. If you’re visiting Bulgaria and you are travelling near Dobrich make sure you visit this Tekke, I guarantee you’ll have a nice experience.
Eventhough I am a Orthodox Christian by faith I should acknowledge I felt peace on that place. The Tekke was partly ruined during the Russian / Ottoman Empire Bulgaria’s liberation war. Luckily the largest and most important of this ancient Sufi
sanctuary is still intact. We also visited a special place near the Tekke, itself which was used by the Sufi believers as a sort of ancient kitchen, this place had 7 pillars, because in both Muslim and Christian, tradition it symbolizes God himself.
Anyways, after we completed the Tekke visitation, we went to the Father Philip’s living place (a tiny apartment). He was quite hospitable as always and we had a nice dinner with (Banica with potatoes) during the dinner we had a spiritual talk.
After that we moved on to the Church for the night services, the services was awesome once again right after the church service we took begged each other for forgiveness (as it’s an old orthodox lent starting tradition). Then we the Church present people, had a nice improvised supper composed of food like:
Cakes, Fish, Fried Potatoes, Cheese, Yellow Cheese etc.
The time was short so we had to head back home and we said goodbye to all the people in the church and to father Philip and took a route to Dobrich. On our way home, we noticed a large burning fireplaces with gipsy people gathered all around.
I and Ceco to say hello to the people and take some pictures around the fire.
This large fires is rooted in an ancient bulgarian pagan tradition, where people used to leap through the fire. This fire leaps according to ancient Bulgarian tradition is said to guarantee you good health and fortune in the coming year.