Russian Orthodox Church to Honor Bulgarian Batak Martyrs

Society | June 3, 2011, Friday // 09:45|  views

The Bulgarian Holy Synod made the decision to canonize the Batak martyrs in April, 2011. Photo by BGNES

The Russian Orthodox Church has made the decision to officially honor the Bulgarian victims of the Batak and Novo Selo Massacres in 1876.

The information was announced by the Bishopric in Bulgaria's Plovdiv, saying the decision was made in Sankt Petersburg during a meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church under the leadership of the Russian Patriarch Kiril. Russian Bishop Ilarion, Chair of the Department for Foreign Relations of the Moscow Patriarchy, delivered a report dedicated to the Bulgarian martyrs.

Ilarion, who took part in the first ever commemoration and solemn mass in veneration of the newly canonized Batak victims, informed the Russian Holy Synod of the canonization of Bulgarian people who perished for their faith, nation and homeland in 1876.

After listening to the report, the Synod proclaimed they received with deep gratitude the news about the canonization and consider the participation of representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Bulgarian mass of extreme importance.

The Russian Holy Synod then decided to honor the memory of the Batak victims on May 17 and of the ones from Novo Selo on May 9.

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

April Uprising was crushed with great violence by Ottoman forces, when an estimated 30,000 Bulgarians, mostly civilians including women, children, and elderly, were slaughtered. Coverage in the European press led to an international outrage and a humanitarian intervention in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78.

Between 4000 and 5000 Bulgarians were butchered in the Batak Massacre – in the southern town of Batak – described by journalist 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.

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Tags: Batak, Plovdiv, April Uprising, massacre, martyrs, Russian Orthodox Church, Novo Selo, Patriarch Kiril, Bishop Ilarion


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