“I am among you as one who serves.” (Lk 22:27)
So began a long interview which we held with Bishop
Methodius (Stratiev) in February as he became conscious that the end of
his life was drawing close.
The last solemn occasion when we met together happened on his birthday, January 11, 2006, in the chapel of Exarchate in Sofia. He was 90 yeras old.
For the Bulgarian Assumption the disappearance of “Diado” Methodius creates a void that cannot be replaced. He was the “living memory” of Bulgarian Assumptionist history.
His death, which occurred approximately two years after that of Fr. Gorazd, deprives us of a witness who maintained the memory of a good part of the Bulgarian Assumptionist history of the last century.
Today, among the Bulgarian fathers still living, as
witness to the Communist era, there remains only Fr. Hrabar, but his
health is not very good and his role as guardian of memories is quite
During the interview that we conducted in February, he told that the most important moment of his journey was the two hours that he would spend in chapel before the Blessed Sacrament. He also recounted to us an episode full of meaning from that terrible time when he was tortured in prison.
One day, in order to require him to confess his guilt, they called one of his friends with whom he liked to play chess. Seeing his head bleeding and his chest black and blue from the beatings he had received, his friend said: “Look how you have been brought down. You look like Christ.” And he replied: “No! My sufferings are nothing compared with those of Christ.”
He astounded us with the serenity with which he spoke about his torturers.
Never a word of condemnation or of revolt.
He exercised his role as bishop and pastor by means
of the formation of the people who had been entrusted to him. He left us
numerous spiritual reflections which help us to maintain his memory among