the end of April and the beginning of May several new items and
events have marked and will mark our community life. First of all,
let us signal the fine start of the group of the Bulgarian
Lay people responded enthusiastically to our invitation to travel
together in the spirit of our founder and Saint Augustine.
Their responded exceeded our expectations and pleasantly surprised
About fifteen people regularly take part in our meetings, once a
month. The goal is to share in depth our life of fraternity, prayer,
formation, and apostolate with the idea that this is an enrichment
for all of us.
Thursday, April 22, as brothers and sisters, we took part in
the annual meeting of all the religious of Bulgaria.
This time the meeting was organized by the Benedictine Sisters of
Tsarev Brod, a tiny village in northeast Bulgaria.
It required 10 hours of travel by car for a meeting of 8 hours. In
spite of our road weariness, not to mention the terrible state of
the roads, everyone appreciated this meeting of some fifty religious
men and women that let us share our experiences, our hopes, and our
preoccupations, but it also let us enjoy ourselves and let us live a
time of friendship.
In fact, the day was very successful: the Easter season and the
beauty of nature which surrounded us created an atmosphere of joy
The importance of this meeting was underscored by the presence of
the apostolic nuio, Most. Rev. Bolonek, and Most Rev.
Petko Christov, Latin-rie an bishop of Nicopoli for the northern
sector of Bulgaria.
On Tuesday, April 27,
at Stara Zagora (an important city, situated in the center of
Bulgaria), the book The Village of Pokrovan was officially presented
by Father Vélik Vitchev, Father Vélik Vitchev, a Bulgarian
Assumptionist (1923-1985), who was the pastor of the Pokrovan
village from 1964 to 1975. A passionate student of history, he
gathered many interviews and much information on this tiny Catholic
village where the inhabitants are characterized by a strong
patriotic and deeply religious sentiment. Father Vélik never had the
joy of publishing his historical notes, but fortunately they were
preserved by those who knew him.
Today, thanks to the initiative Mr. Georghi Gramatikov, originally
from Pokrovan, and the financial assistance of the diocese, Father
Vélik’s book on the history of Pokrovan was published.
This event was marked by a press conference in the early afternoon,
during which the following individuals took part: Bishop Christo
Proykov, Exarch of the Byzantine rite Catholic diocese; Mr. Georghi
Gramatikov, initiator and coordinator of the book’s edition; Mr.
Maxime Mintchev, a Catholic who is the Director General of the
National Agency of the Bulgarian Press, and Father Claudio Molteni,
A.A., the present pastor of Pokrovan.
During the press conference, the apostolic work of the
Assumptionists and the Oblate Sisters who have been present in
Bulgaria without interruption since 1863 was brought out on several
In the evening, there was a cordial meeting with several families of
Stara Zagora, originally from Pokrovan.
will mark a special day for our community, for the “Eastern
Mission”, and for the whole Congregation since Father Petar Ljubas,
in the course of a solemn celebration, presided by our bishop Most
Rev. Christo Proykov, will be elevated to the rank of archimandrite,
an honorary title that can be compared to that of a canon in the
Latin rite. It is with great joy that we get ready for this event.
We wish to invite you to unite yourselves to our joy and prayer.
All those who know Fr. Petar know that he has studied very deeply,
but especially, lived the Oriental Spirit and Tradition. During the
solemn celebration, the bishop will ask the priests and people three
times if Fr. Petar is worthy to receive this title.
For all the parishioners, as well as the bothers and sisters of
Plovdiv, there is not a shadow of a doubt that he is worthy and well
deserves this title.
Starting in September, now that this is an official news
item, Father Daniel will take a sabbatical year. For him it will be
a time of renewal and new experiences.
Where will he go? We don’t know yet, but most likely his new
destination will be one or several communities of the Eastern
Mission. At times, we hear him practicing a few words in Romanian...
The departure of Father Daniel will have its consequences since he
was the treasurer and did many other tasks, but it is with gratitude
and thanksgiving that we wish to give him the opportunity for this
year of renewal.
In fact, Daniel, for 15 years, has devoted himself generously to our
community with a remarkable spirit of fraternity. We are a bit
concerned for him, since if Father Petar, shortly after his
sabatical year, was honored by the title of archimandrite, what will
happen to Daniel upon his return?