November 13, Feast of the Three Bulgarian Assumptionist Martyrs

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   As it is every year, the feast of our three Assumptionist Bulgarian martyrs is an opportunity to stop to reflect on the heritage that they have left not only to us who are called to work today in the Mission in Eastern Europe, but to every brother and sister of our Assumption Family.
   Keeping alive their memory means rendering present among us these brothers whom the Church, by means of their beatification, considers to be a gift for all of Christianity. Praying to them, invoking their intercession, allows us to receive the spiritual support we need to make Christ alive in us and around us.
   Kamen Vitchev, Pavel Djidjov, and Josaphat Chichkov call us to expand our horizons.

   We are part of a reality that is vastly greater than that accessible to our eyes. In fact, it is the invisible world which allows us to understand better the meaning of our daily actions.

   What this means is that keeping alive within us the memory of our three martyrs helps us to understand better at once ourselves and the martyrdom (that is to say, witness) which the Lord calls us to give today as brothers and sisters of the Assumption.
   A Russian priest, a philosopher, who died in a concentration camp during the Stalinistic era, Pavel Florensky, describes the invisible world in this way, « … the spiritual world, the invisible one, is not very far from us: it envelops us as if we were on the bottom of an ocean and we were drowning in the luminous ocean of grace. Nevertheless because of a lack of habit or of our immaturity, we are unable to perceive this kingdom of light» (P. Florensky, « La perspective inversée suivi de l’iconostase », Editions L’Age de l’homme, Lausanne, p.139 – in English, Iconstasis, St. Vladimir’s Press, 1996).

   May our three Assumptionist Bulgarian martyrs help us to enter this ocean of light and grace.
   This year we, the brothers and sisters in Plovdiv, will celebrate our blessed martyrs with a triduum of prayer, Thursday the 10th, Friday the 11th, and Saturday the 12th….Thursday dedicated to the memory of Josaphat Chichkov, Friday to Pavel Djidjov, and Saturday to Kamen Vitchev.

   Sunday the 13th our Exarch, Most Rev. Christo Proykov, is scheduled to preside at a solemn celebration, featuring the participation of children from the parishes of Plovdiv and Kuklen.
   Happy feast to all of you, brothers and sisters in the Assumption !

   During this privileged time, we hold each of you in our prayers in a special way.
   A number of brothers and sisters connected with the Mission in Eastern Europe have been called to assume weighty responsibilities this year. We are thinking in particular of Fr. Benoît Grière, former Provincial of France and the new Superior General, but also Sr. Felicia, former Provincial of Romania and now the Mother General of the Oblate Sisters of the Assumption and Sr. Monica Ante, Provincial Treasurer of the Oblates in Romania and now General Treasurer of the entire congregation.

   A thought as well for Fr. Michel Kubler, the new director of the St. Peter-St. Andrew Center in Bucharest and the Superior General’s delegate for the Eastern European Mission and for the new provincial of France, Fr. Benoît Gschwind, called to discover the Eastern European Mission in all its rich diversity.

May the succor of our three martyrs help all to hasten the coming of the Kingdom of God at the Assumption and throughout the world.
   May all have a wonderful feast on November 13!




 The Plovdiv Community