Observances Mark 300th Birth Anniversary, Feast of Paisii of Hilendar

Sofia, June 19, (BTA/GNA) - Observances were held in Bulgaria on Saturday and Sunday to mark the 300th birth anniversary of Paisii of Hilendar and 260 years since he wrote Slav-Bulgarian History, a book considered a landmark beginning of the Bulgarian National Revival.

The feast of Paisii of Hilendar was also marked.

In Samokov (Southwestern Bulgaria), Days of Paisii were organized by Samokov Municipality, the History Museum of Samokov, and the Vicarage. The programme included a premiere of the National Folklore Ensemble BULGARE’s performance Paisii, a presentation on Samokov as Paisii’s birthplace by Assoc Prof Konstantin Rangochev, an exhibition on Paisii’s works with photos from the archive of the local history museum, a solemn liturgy, and wreath-laying at his grave.

The observances' culmination took place in Bansko (Southwestern Bulgaria) on Sunday when the 60th anniversary of Paisii's canonization by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church was also marked.

In a special message dedicated to the feast of Paisii, Bulgarian Patriarch Neophyte said that the Slav-Bulgarian History has become an eternal symbol of Bulgarians’ awakening from bondage, an inspired beginning of their spiritual and cultural revival. The message was read out by the Bishop of Melnik Gerasim, Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod, at the Holy Trinity church in Bansko, where also a divine liturgy was celebrated.

"The correct way to the prosperity of our beloved fatherland Bulgaria and our Orthodox Christian people is the one bequeathed by our great teachers from the past: true faith, kin and language, a solid triune base guaranteeing perpetuation of people and state. Let us keep this sacred covenant, not allowing what has been achieved with so much effort and privation be spent easily,” the Bulgarian Patriarch noted.

In an address on Sunday, President Rumen Radev who attended the observances in Bansko said: “In the darkest of times for the Bulgarian people, in times of oppression, oblivion and hopelessness, Paissi of Hilendar devoted himself to lighting the spark of knowledge and enlightenment, took out Bulgarians from the state of torpidity and confusion and restored their confidence as a people with its own language, culture and religion.“

Radev said that “by honouring Paisii of Hilendar we pay out respect to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, which in the darkest times of Bulgaria’s history managed to preserve not only our faith, but our memory, script, language and national identity, too.”

In an address at the opening of the Days of Paisii, Vice President Iliana Iotova said, as quoted by her press secretariat, that the Slav-Bulgarian History awakened the Bulgarian people. This awakening “would not have happened without the Eastern Orthodox faith, which preserved us during the centuries of yoke, without the awareness of kin and memory, and without the Bulgarian language,” she noted. Today’s politicians should know Bulgarian history and learn from it so that there could be a future, she also said.

Credit: BTA