While travelling in Southern Europe doing some
research on the equality between the sexes (visit our web site: http://www.zemoracho.eu/),
I had the pleasure of meeting Fr. Lucas Chuff art who was visiting
Plovdiv during his Sabbatical Year.
The hospitality I received from the community made my stay
exceptionally interesting. The goodness and generosity of the
welcome given to me by Frs.
Daniel, Petar and Claudio is a real grace. I
am grateful to them for helping me understand a little better the
complexity of the situation in Bulgaria, as well as the specific
difficulties of their apostolate in a country where Catholics are in
such a minority.
the delicious meals and then sharing the very convivial moments at
dish washing, I meditated on this passage from Montaigne: “Silence
and modesty are qualities that make conversation easier.” (Essais,
At breakfast we savored “raiski obolka” (apples from Paradise) in
France called “kaki”.
That’s why this house deserves its reputation
as the “antechamber to Paradise”.
I also met two Oblate Sisters, Anna Maria and Eugenia, during Sunday
dinner when they invite the entire community. My heart was warmed by
They all helped me understand that through the vicissitudes of 150
years of history, Assumptionists and Oblates have been living what
they call the “Mission d’Orient”. What a wonderful witness to their
perseverance and optimism!
It was also a great pleasure to discover a little bit of Bulgaria,
admire the beautiful ancient city of Plovdiv, and meet some
intellectuals in Sofia in connection with my research.
One of the more memorable moments of this trip was the Sunday Mass
in the Oriental Rite in the church of the Ascension.
Fr. Claudio’s “majestic” celebration gave an
unexpected power to a ritual which was unknown to me. I seemed to
understand what connects believers beyond the diversity of the rites:
the collective sense of a presence.
Finally it came time for the much anticipated trip to Pokrovan! The
smiling welcome of the faithful, the warm hospitality of S. Vasilla
and S. Bernadetta, the discreet generosity of Fr. Claudio and Mr.
Lioubcho who accompanied us, made these hours of fervor and sharing
the crowning joy of our stay.
Florence Montreynaud, writer, historian.