The Feast of the Three Bulgarian Martyrs at Plovdiv

 

The commemoration of the three Assumptionist Bulgarian martyrs was the occasion for a whole series of initiatives with a goal of having us live a truly spiritual communion with our blessed ones. A prayer novena introduced us in the course of days to a climate of festivity and contemplation.
This year, we had the joy of receiving among us Fr. Iosif and Fr. Catalin from Rumania accompanied by Fr. Gwénael and four youth from the Margineri community.

From Italy, Fr. Giuliano visited us, thus renewing the twinning that unites the community of Plovdiv with that of Florence since several years.
The manifestations began with an exposition centered on the period of the Communist terror realized through the pamphlet published in 2002 on the occasion of the beatification of our Fathers.
On Sunday 11 November we celebrated a solemn liturgy with numerous parishioners and especially the children from the catechism classes.

They read prayers calling upon the intercession of the three blessed martyrs and sang the hymn composed for them five years ago.

The names of Pavel, Kamen, Josaphat, and Evgueni (the Passionist bishop shot at the same time as our three confreres and beatified in 1998) were heard several times in the church, while their pictures were placed in front of the iconostasis.

After the liturgy, with some ten persons, we went downtown to the monument that former students of the French college ‘St. Augustine’ had built in honor of Fr. Kamen Vitchev, their unforgettable teacher.

Once there, we placed flowers and lit candles while centering ourselves in prayer.
In the afternoon some young people of the Kuklen parish as well as some of our parishioners spent some time in the adoration prepared by Sr. Eugenia and Eynar, the young postulant from our community.

On Tuesday 13 November, the official feast day, we were eleven priests (nine coming from the Exarchate) to concelebrate the Divine Liturgy with our bishop, Msgr. Christo Proykov.

The veneration of the relics and a minor procession outside the church concluded the celebration. The climate of joy and friendship continued with a fraternal meal and brought the warmth that was lacking outside.
During his stay, from 9 to 15 November, Father Giuliano Riccadonna preached a minor spiritual retreat. The theme, evidently, could be none other than that of martyrdom.
A special thanks to all of the brothers who wrote to us and united their prayers to ours.

May the spirit of holiness of our three martyrs fall abundantly on the whole Assumptionist family!
 

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