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Bulgarian Church Canonizes Victims of Ottoman Atrocities in 1876

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=126912 Bulgarian Church Canonizes Victims of Ottoman Atrocities in 1876 Society | April 3, 2011, Sunday The Bulgarian
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 5, 2011
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      http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=126912

      Bulgarian Church Canonizes Victims of Ottoman Atrocities in 1876
      Society | April 3, 2011, Sunday

      The Bulgarian Orthodox Church has canonized the
      martyrs of massacres committed against Bulgarian
      civilians by Ottoman irregulars and troops in the April Uprising of 1876.

      Thousands of Bulgarian freedom fighters rebelled
      against the authorities of the Ottoman Turkish
      Empire in April 1876 seeking to liberate their
      nation and create an independent nation state.

      The so called April Uprising was crushed with
      great violence by Ottoman forces but its coverage
      in the European press – facilitated primarily by
      American journalist working for British papers
      Januarius MacGahan – led to an international
      outrage and a humanitarian intervention in the
      Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 that liberated the Bulgarian nation-state.

      A total of 30 000 Bulgarians, mostly civilians
      including women, children, and elderly, are
      estimated to have been slaughtered by the Ottoman forces in April and May 1876.

      Between 4000 and 5000 Bulgarians were butchered
      in the Batak Massacre – in the southern town of
      Batak – described by MacGahan in a shocking
      account, while some 700 were slaughtered in the
      region of Novo Selo, Kravenik, Batoshevo, and
      Apriltsi – villages in Northern Bulgaria near Lovech.

      While thousands of Bulgarians were murdered by
      the Ottoman Turkish forces, the Bulgarian
      Orthodox Church has canonized the victims of the
      Batak and Novo Selo massacres in particular as
      martyrs and defenders of the Christian faith as
      they sought refuge from the troops dispatched
      against them in local churches and monasteries.

      In the case of the Novo Selo massacre, the
      Bulgarian Orthodox Church canonized in particular
      two monks and seven nuns from a local monastery
      who were tortured and murdered by the Ottoman troops.

      Thus, the martyrs of the Batak Massacre will be
      honored by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church on May
      17, and the martyrs of Novo Selo – on May 9.

      The canonization performed Sunday in the St.
      Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia by Bulgarian
      Patriarch Maxim was followed by a street
      procession honoring the newly proclaimed saints.
      Patriarch Maxim consecrated specially designed
      icons of the martyrs authored by icon artists
      Miroslav Asenov and Vladimir Avramov. The icon of
      the Holy Martyrs of Batak will be kept to
      Plovdiv, north of Batak, and the icon of the Holy
      Martyrs of Novo Selo will be kept in the town of Apriltsi.

      This is the first canonization performed by the
      Bulgarian Orthodox Church since 1963 and the
      first one ever performed by Bulgarian Patriarch
      Maxim since he took over in 1971.

      “We accept the decision of the Holy Synod and
      believe that the martyrs of Batak and Novo Selo
      deserve to be canonized,” declared Bulgarian
      President Georgi Parvanov in the Alexander Nevsky
      Cathedral. The canonization of the martyrs of the
      1876 April Uprising was also welcomed and
      attended by Bulgarian Parliament Chair Tsetska
      Tsacheva, Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova, and
      hundreds of Bulgarians including MPs.

      “We are here to pay our respects to the martyrs
      for the faith and freedom of Bulgaria,” Tsacheva declared.

      Dozens of residents of the town of Batak also
      came to Sofia for the canonization.
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