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The Canonisation Process of the Bulgarian Martyrs PDF Print E-mail

"Reading the "Letter of the Martyrs'" of Lyonto the Churches of Asia fills us with great admiration for their courage, their mutual support and the solidarity between them.

Today, the accounts of similar events in different circumstances can be found throughout the international press which will, perhaps, affect us in the same way. We forget that they are our brothers who have been persecuted and killed.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 August 2010 05:07
 
The Assumptionists in Bulgaria PDF Print E-mail

Pope Pius XI, who himself had ordained Archbishop Sokolski, asked the founder of the Assumptionists, Father Emmanuel d'Alzon, to send some religious to Bulgaria to especially help those Bulgarian Orthodox who wished to enter the Catholic Church. These converts which were called "Uniates", a term may sound pejorative today. Before the ecumenical movement of the 20th century, ecumenism from the Catholic point of view was seen as a return to Rome and not as a communion of sister churches as Vatican II acknowledged.

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Father Victorin Gallabert, A.A. (1830-1885)

Father Victorin Galabert, a medical doctor and a doctor in Canon Law, became the founder of the Assumptionist mission in Bulgaria, which was then known as the "Mission in the East". To help his priests, Fr. d'Alzon founded a congregation of sisters, "the Oblates of the Assumption" who established schools at Sofia,Y ambol, Varna and Sliven. In 1864, the Assumptionists had started a grammar school, St. Andrew's, at Philippopoli (Plovdiv) while awaiting to found St.Augustine College in 1884, which would rapidly become one the most prestigious schools in the Balkans, until the Communists closed it in 1948.


Re-inforced presence of the Assumptionists
The Assumptionists accepted responsibility for several parishes with both Latin and Byzantine rites within each. Several Assumptionists were ordained in the Byzantine rite. They had established three seminaries, at Adrianopolis, at Kum Kapu (European bank of Istanbul) and Kadikoy (Asian bank of Istanbul). We must remember that at that time, Bulgaria was not independent, but under Turkish domination. The Assumptionists eventually founded several residences in Turkey, missions in Rumania, Greece, Russia, Yugoslavia and Palestine. But Bulgaria was the start of this considerable Assumptionist presence in the Near East. Direct apostolate was complemented by an intellectual apostolate with the creation at Kadikoy, in 1897, of "Edios d'Orient", the journal of the Center for Byzantine Studies, by Bishop Louis Petit, future Latin Archbishop of Athens. In Bulgaria itself, at the end of World War II, twenty Bulgarian Assumptionists exercised their apostolate at the Plovdiv College and various parishes. In 1948, the Communists expelled all non-Bulgarian religious, including non-Bulgarian Assumptionists. Everything was thus in place for the horror that would befall the Catholic minority of the country.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 November 2005 11:24
 
Blessed Josaphat Chichkov, A.A. (1884-1952) PDF Print E-mail
thumb_josaphat001.jpgBlessed Josaphat Chichkov, A.A.

Of the three Assumptionist martyrs, Robert-Matthew Chichkov (who took the name Josaphat as an Assumptionist) was the oldest. He was born in Plovdiv, February 9, 1884. His family was a large one of fervent Latin rite Catholics. He entered the Assumptionist minor seminary at Adrianopolis when he was only nine. He did all of his grammar school and high school studies there. He was only sixteen when he entered the Assumptionist novitiate at Phanaraki, in Turkey, April 24, 1900. He was ordained a priest in the Latin rite July 11, 1909, at Malines in Belgium, after having studied philosophy and theology at Louvain.

Bubbling over with activity
Back in Bulgaria, he taught at St. Augustine College in Plovdiv and at St. Michael College in Varna. He was also Superior of the minor seminary of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Yambol. He served as pastor of the Latin Parish in Yambol and was chaplain of the Oblate Sisters of the Assumption. Later he returned to Varna, as the Superior, in 1937, and served there until he was arrested in December 1951 by the Communist militia.

Last Updated on Saturday, 13 November 2010 21:43
 
Blessed Pavel Djidjov, A.A. (1919-1952) PDF Print E-mail
thumb_pawel001.jpgBlessed Pavel Djidjov, A.A.

Arrested at the same time as Father Kamen, on July 4, 1952, Pavel Djidjov was the youngest. He was only 33. Born July 19, 1919 at Plovdiv, in a Latin rite Catholic family, he was baptised on August 2 and given the name of Joseph. He took the name of Pavel (Paul) when he entered the Assumptionist novitiate of Nozeroy, in France, October 2, 1938.

From his youth, he had wanted to be a priest. He entered St. Augustine College in Plovdiv, where he was considered a good student, especially strong in mathematics. He was good in sports and was part of the team later known as the "Locomotive" in Plovdiv. After the novitiate, he studied theology at Lormoy, near Paris, during World War II. Life was hard and the students often went hungry. Pavel took the initiative of raising a few sheep in order to improve the menu.

Last Updated on Saturday, 13 November 2010 09:23
 
Blessed Kamen Vitchev, A.A. (1893-1952) PDF Print E-mail
thumb_kamen001.jpgBlessed Kamen Vitchev, A.A.

Born May 23, 1893 at Srem In Bulgaria, Father Vitchev came from a peasant Christian family of which two of six boys became Assumptionist priests. His baptismal name was Peter, but he changed his name to Kamen when he entered the Assumptionists.

He began his novitiate at Gempe, in Belgium on September 18, 1910. Previously he had taken courses at the minor seminary at Karagatch, near Adhanopolis and at Phanaraki, on the Asian bank of the Sea of Marmara. After his novitiate, young Kamen, who was considered to be pious, serious and a hard worker, was sent to Louvain in Belgium to study philosophy and theology. His studies were interrupted by periods of teaching at St. Augustine College in Plovdiv and at the alumnate (minor seminary) at Kum Kapu (Turkey). He was ordained a priest at Constantinople on December 22, 192I, in the Oriental rite.

Last Updated on Saturday, 13 November 2010 21:49
 
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