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I Turned To God, But I Still Need Help

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by DrCIH, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. DrCIH

    DrCIH Newbie

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    Hi guys, I am an Orthodox christian from Bulgaria. Let me tell you my story :).

    Two years ago I was a student in the Technical University. I don't smoke, I drink sometimes, never tried drugs or anything. I wanted to love everyone, I am good willed, but didn't cherish God so much. I was doing good things, but because I think this is the right way, not because of God. I trusted in God, but I trusted in me more.
    One month before my graduation I got sick. I had Colitis and other stuff. I was in a very bad condition. Doctors here say, "hay what's the matter with you, you don't have cancer". But I was bad. And then I turned to God. I began to trust in him. I was telling myself, "I will do what is needed and God will help me. And he did!!! I feel fine now.

    But I still don't understand some things. I do read The Bible, but I don't know how to pray. I don't like the idea to read some written prayers. Is it more right to pray with words coming from you, or it's right to pray using standard prayers? I live like a christian I go to church and I have problems I can't handle myself and want to ask god for help. Generally I am strong willed man and know how to achieve everything but now I know that if you don't ask God for help, you will generally fail.
    Will you please give me site or materials on how to pray right and everything about the orthodox way of praying?
    Cos, here in Bulgaria the orthodox church is very closed as a society. You go there you pray, light a candle and that's it. I now go to a protestant church, cos they meet and talk to each other, but their believes are a little different. So I want to discus the orthodox way with you guys :).
     
  2. rusmeister

    rusmeister Contributor

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    Hi Dr,
    I'll bet that even in Bulgaria, attitudes toward visitors vary from one parish to another. (I'm an American living in Russia, so think I can say this). You need to approach a priest, and ask him who you can talk to for guidance. Protestants may be fun, and they may fill a temporary emotional need, but in the long run, you want truth more than fun or a good time. Good times will not set you free.

    You are free to pray from your own heart. You can certainly say what is in your own heart to God. But Jesus said "When you pray, pray like this..." and He gave us a model. So we use His model in the formation of our written prayers. They tell us what we SHOULD be praying about, rather than a "me-centered" approach to prayer.

    I'll bet dollars to doughnuts (that is, almost anything) that there are intelligent and caring Bulgarian Orthodox Christians that do more than merely light candles. You just haven't found them yet. So by all means pray, both your own prayers and from a prayer book, and find some good people. You'll generally find them doing charity work, so just inquire how you can help poor people, old people, at orphanages and where thete is a Church ministry for that, and you'll find good people.

    С Богом!
     
  3. RKO

    RKO Member

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    As a lifelong Roman Catholic, I find nothing more perfect and organic than the Jesus Prayer. I had heard of it before I started exploring Orthodoxy, but it is not terribly significant in the RCC, so I mostly ignored it.
    Still, you are like me, just beginning to understand faith and prayer, and for my money, nothing I could think of on my own or read is more perfect.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2011
  4. Vermax

    Vermax Newbie

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    You said you go to a Protestant church because they like to talk, and that is fine to a point. As as Orthodox you have the Sacraments and especially the Holy Eucharist. Aren't they a whole lot better for your spiritual life than just sitting around talking?
     
  5. truthseeker32

    truthseeker32 Lost in the Cosmos

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    You might be right. My heart goes out to anyone who lacks friends and family with which he can share his faith. This also has to be taxing to the spirit.
     
  6. Here's a good site about prayer:

    Orthodox Prayer: Daily Prayer, Jesus Prayer, Lord's Prayer, Prayer Rule, Articles and Books, Prayers for All Occasions; Praying to Saints
     
  7. Macarius

    Macarius Progressive Orthodox Christian Supporter

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    Welcome to The Ancient Way forum - thank you for sharing your story with us.

    It is good that you recognize that though your actions were good, they stemmed from a self-trust, rather than a trust-in-God. We should always celebrate good works (as anyone loving their neighbor is, in a way, loving Christ), but I think our reasons have to be sound. If we help others because we want to (e.g. because we think it is right) that motive can change; it can shift - at some point it may not be convenient to help another or show them love. It is a self-focused sort of charity that, though capable of much good, can also lead to a hypocritical sort of life (or at least, I see that in America among rich liberals a lot).

    But if charity stems from faith in God, we know we have to trust Him to provide for us - we can give as though we were dead to the world, give and help and love with abandon. That doesn't mean we are fools or irresponsible - we know that part of love is holding what we've been given with responsibility (e.g. we still save money, take care of our family, work a regular job, etc.) - but it means that when a need presents itself to us that we can responsibly fill, we can do so without reservation.

    Faith in God can be a tremendous aid in helping us love our neighbor consistently and without hypocrisy.

    I've seen Colitis before - it is definitely hard to cope with. The impact on nutritional intake alone can completely destroy one's energy and willpower. It is an exhausting disease and a chronic condition. Did the doctors get you on a good medication for it? I know it can be managed if the right medicine is provided.
    That is good - there are wonderful psalms in our Scriptures that speak of how our physical ailments can turn us back towards God. The ultimate expression of this is Christ on the Cross. In death, the ultimate physical ailment (so to speak), we are confronted with the absolute nature of our finitude - that we are helpless; utterly helpless. Thus, in death, we can finally let go of ourselves and be in God. Christ's death shows us this - His death was His perfect act of absolute obedience to His Father.

    Your colitis, then, acted like a "little martyrdom" - it helped you confront your need for God. What a gift from God, then! That He can turn even our diseases into means of glorifying Him.

    Be careful, though, if you aren't on good medicine for the colitis. It can be episodic (go away and come back, go away and come back). If it returns, do not take it as some sign that God no longer favors you; our bodies break down - ultimately, we all die. Even Lazarus, whom Christ raised from the dead, still died again years later and rests now in the grave (though he also lives on in Christ, in whom there is no real death).

    I think that goes for all of us :)

    Good. How do you read it? E.G. do you read it as the Protestants do? Because they tend to read it quite differently from the Orthodox (in terms of how they approach it / think about it). It is good to read the Scriptures, but they have to be read with understanding; one book (II Peter) even warns against reading Scriptures privately (e.g. without an Orthodox teacher), as that can lead one unintentionally away from the Truth.

    That's the real challenge, isn't it?

    Both are good. St. John of Krondstadt, a Russian saint from the early 1900's, recommended both. Why? Well, like you point out, prayers that come from you naturally involve YOU in the prayer - it builds the relationship between you and God, and allows you to say what you need to God. God listens and, I believe, is pleased by such prayer. He wants US - He loves US - and prayers "coming from you" bring you into communion with Him.

    So why pray the "standard" prayers? Several reasons.

    First, they teach us. Those prayers were prayers designed to educated the person praying in a proper attitude by which to approach God.

    Second, they help us "see the big picture." Often, prayers that come JUST from us tend to revolve around whatever particular thing we're concerned about on a given day. Those concerns are very subjective, and can shift with our whims. It leads to an inconsistent sort of prayer (or one completely focused on one aspect of prayer: petition, repentance, etc.). The "standard" or pre-written prayers ensure that, when we pray, we pray for ALL the things we ought to pray for. They ensure that we glorify God in our prayers, thank God in our prayers, ask for repentance in our prayers, petition God for all His good things in our prayers, and commune with the saints in Christ in our prayers.

    Third, those prewritten prayers integrate us into the Church. They help us to know obedience to the Church (as the Church provides them), and they are prayers prayed by saints who have gone before us - we know they are effective prayers because we have seen the sanctity they produce. Thus, when we pray them, we pray WITH the saints - we pray IN the community of the Church. If we ONLY pray words that come from us, then we pray to God on our own (e.g. relying on ourselves); if we pray the standard prayers in addition to our own, then we show ourselves to be relying on the good gifts of God given to us through the Church by the Holy Spirit.

    Fourth, those prewritten prayers are ascetic. They are repetitive; even boring; and the same day-in and day-out. They don't change. In that, they ask us to let go of our need for payer to be "exciting" or "engaging." They ask us to make prayer about God - not about our experience of prayer. Paradoxically, this ascetic aspect of prayer (that it asks us to lay ourselves aside and be present to God) DOES make our prayer more engaging since it is ONLY by ascesis that we can actually engage with God. But we cannot expect God to show up on our terms; we have to show up on HIS.

    None of that is to diminish the importance of praying words that come from you. Those words are also necessary and good. It is a combination of both, according to St. John, that is most effective.

    Sometimes those failures are themselves gifts from God (for example, the health issues that helped you turn towards God). Generally, as one draws closer to God, one's life gets more difficult - not easier. God gives us only what we can handle. As we are strengthened spiritually, He allows us more and more to know our own brokenness until, finally, we die. And if we die with faith - if we die IN Christ (as opposed to apart from Him), then our death can glorify God as Christ's did; our death can be a martyrdom. And if we die such a death, we know that we will rise with Christ on the last day.

    A parish generally is the best place to get those resources locally. I know how to find them in the places I've lived (Seattle and New York in the USA), but not in Bulgaria. I would think, given the Orthodox presence in your culture, that there would be more available to you, but I could be wrong.

    I'm sorry to hear that your experiences have been so negative at Orthodox services. The lack of community can, indeed, be discouraging. Have you tried hunting around a bit and trying out different Orthodox parishes? There may be one that has more of the community you are looking for. Also, contact with a local Orthodox priest or monastic elder (to help you in your spiritual life) is absolutely essential to the Orthodox way. Regular reception of the sacraments (especially confession and eucharist) is absolutely central to the Orthodox life, as are the ascetic disciplines of prayer, fasting, and alms (see Matthew chapter 6).

    You are also, of course, more than welcome to fellowship with us here. We'll help as we can - but there are limits as to what we can do since we're just an online community.

    Your brother in Christ,
    Macarius
     
  8. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member

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    I think something to help, is just remember the words of the justified publican, "Lord have mercy on me, a sinner." it is not the quantity of the prayer that matters.

    welcome to TAW!
     
  9. DrCIH

    DrCIH Newbie

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    Wow! I have never seen such a will to help, to explain in just an online community. I thank you all for your responses and will answer to each and every one of you :).

    Generally in Bulgaria orthodox is the official religion and all of us are orthodox, but only on paper. However, that is not like that with me.

    @rusmeister
    The protestants have become my friends. Yes they are different from me and my believes. The difference is very little, but there is some. The reason why I turned directly to God is, that here in Bulgaria, the orthodox church is a place where you go, light a candle and ... do out that's it. They take money to marry you and other stuff. In my city, there is no community of orthodox christian church. The only people who go to the church are grandmothers and beggars, who actually are healthy and can work, but begging is easier. That's why I begun going to a protestant church. I have tried to find people like me, but ... I couldn't.

    @Vermax
    I go to a protestant church, cos here in the church only grandmas go, cry and ... where is nothing I can say to them. Noone talks to anyone and I need to discuss my life with a christian. I need to know my way is right, I need someone to feel like me. I want to show people I love them, but guys think I'm gay, which is strange cos i have a bass voice, and girls think I'm in love with them and what's worse they act as an importaint lady. People don't even want to be loved. Those protestant are the closest thing I could get to the kind of person I want to be.

    @SoulFoodEater
    Thank you very much for the web site I will take a look at it. :)

    @Macarius
    Wow :), when I read your post I was astonished by your wisdom.
    I want to tell you what happened today. Some of the protestants don't know that I am an orthodox which is normal cos, we are all christian people, right? And we should accept each other and love :). When I told them that I was an orthodox they began with. "What? So you pray to icons, that is a sin. You pray to saints, this is not right, you must pray only and directly to God". And I said, "Well I even pray to orcs and trolls and other stuff".I tried to explain them that the icon is just a sign of your love to God or Jesus, or a portrait of a man who also loved God.
    And another thing. I also explained that we don't pray to saints. We say prayers tat saints have once said. I have never ever thought of praying anything else than God. But what happen then? When I went home I found an orthodox praying book, in Bulgarian and there were prayers directly to saints :confused: . I myself don't like the idea of me or anyone else to pray to something else than God himself. Please explain me those things about praying to saints. Is it right to pray to saints and why?

    Guys I want to thank you for all of your help and cooperation on my way to knowing God. I am happy to join your community. :)

    And last but not least ... as you said, that a pray needs to come from the heart and to fit God's will. Why don't I try to pray with you :).

    :prayer:
    Oh God, You who gave me life and everything around me, I thank you for my health and for all the other things I have. If it wasn't for you I wouldn't have gone this far. You who have always protected me. Give me strenght, to find the right path in those areas in my life, where I haven't. God, give all the people chance to see, that without you and without the love you have given to them and which they have almost forgotten, they are lost. Give them strenght to let go of any hate and anger and begin to see things simple and pure. Give them health, because it is the biggest gift of them all.
    Amen
     
  10. Ortho_Cat

    Ortho_Cat Orthodox Christian

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    Welcome to TAW friend, I hope you enjoy your time here with us :)
     
  11. Macarius

    Macarius Progressive Orthodox Christian Supporter

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    There's a reason we all like this particular online community :) Stick around, I think you'll fit in well.

    Change must begin somewhere - with someone. All the work Christ does in us is missional - He works in us that through us His glory and love can be manifest. Your change will change others, even in ways you never see.

    I'll skip ahead a bit so that others may reply to the words you wrote to them.

    Many of the most devout and pious people I know are protestant Christians. It is good to celebrate what we have in common.

    One Protestant idea, though, that I worry about you picking up without realizing it is called the "invisible church." It is a form of "ecumenism" that teaches two ideas: 1) That anyone who has basic faith in Christ is part of the Church and, therefore, 2) That the Church is visibly divided into several flawed denominations (Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, Orthodox, Pentecostal, etc.).

    It is an attempt to explain the divisions in the churches without really knowing the history of those divisions, and, unfortunately, represents a departure from Orthodox teaching and from the teaching of the New Testament Church (which asks, quite bluntly, "Is Christ divided?" with the implied answer being "no"). We believe in one Incarnate Lord and, therefore, one incarnate church. So while we HAVE to celebrate the truth and piety we find in ANYONE, we also have to recognize our real differences and, therefore, our real and tragic separation. If we wash over it, we minimize the importance of Truth (and Christ IS the Truth - to minimize Truth is to minimize Christ).

    So we must, with all apology, but with no wavering fear of rejection, recognize that the heterodox churches have left the communion of the Church. That doesn't mean that they are outside of God. The Church does not hold a monopoly on God (how could it?), but if WE know that the Orthodox Church has the truth, we must be uncompromising on that point. We cannot judge others, but we know full well if we reject the Truth that we are rejecting Christ.

    It's a tricky subject. One that many of us here wrestle with because so many of us are like you - we have friends (and, for a lot of us, family members) who are non-Orthodox. I do not say any of the above as some exercise in intellect; my in-laws and my parents are evangelical protestant. My sister and her husband are roman catholic. Every family get-together and holiday this is a living reality. How do we maintain the Truth with the courage of the martyrs AND love our neighbor (even more, our family!)? How do we uphold Truth without judgmentalism? It can be done, but we must be careful not to stray too far towards one side or the other. If we are too zealous and confrontational in arguing for Orthodoxy, we may push away those we are called to love. If we allow sentimental feelings to wash over our real differences, we may unintentionally stray from the truth and from Christ.

    Sorry - that was a bit of a rant.

    That is a normal Protestant gripe with Orthodoxy. We don't pray TO icons, but in FRONT of icons. So do they. They pray with crosses up - crosses are like icons. They pray with the scriptures, which are a verbal icon of Christ. We know that in the Old Testament (Exodus) the Jews were COMMANDED by God to put up statues of the Cherubim in the Tabernacle and Temple - those are icons. Also in the Old Testament, the Jews were COMMANDED to pray towards the serpent on the rod that Moses raised up, and they received healing from God for doing so. That serpent is an icon of Christ - Christ is raised up on the cross like that serpent on that rod, and when we pray to Christ we are healed of our sins. So again, you have an icon in the Scriptures.

    What is more - it is vital to know what icons represent. Icons proclaim two things VERY loudly:
    1) We have an INCARNATE God. We are not Jews and Muslims (who refuse to pray with icons or images of any kind). Their God has only sent prophets. We are not followers of a mere prophet, but of the Son of God Himself Incarnate in the flesh. Jesus Christ is God, but Jesus Christ (the same person) is also a FULL human person - a man. And I can paint a picture of a man. IF Christ is a man, I can depict Him. Yet we know that same Christ (the same man) to be God. Icons proclaim the incarnation - they say that HERE we have the God-man. No other religion has that.

    2) We have the Holy Spirit. Not all icons are of Christ. Many are of Mary or the saints. There are a host of reasons for this, but one of the biggest is that we know we are surrounded by the "cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews says that); the icons depict this visually. They are, therefore, "windows into heaven" showing us the reality of the Kingdom of God in which there is no death. Because the saints live with Christ, when we pray we are WITH them; the icons are a tool to represent that. WHY are the saints alive in Christ? Because of the Holy Spirit. The salvation wrought by God through Christ in the Holy Spirit is proclaimed loudly in EVERY icon of a saint. The Psalms say that God is glorified in His saints - icons make that evident. In the icon, we see the glory of God because in the icon, we see the saint whom God has saved. It isn't about the particular saint per-say (though God revels in the particular like that), but rather about glorifying God by celebrating all that He has done.

    If we know that God has saved so many, done so many miracles, redeemed so much - how can we not glorify that in EVERY way possible? Through hymns and music, yes. Through our very lives if we can repent by the grace of God. But ALSO through images. Is there something dirty about paint and wood that it cannot be so used to glorify the marvelous works of God? How can we deny God that honor?

    So we have icons in our churches. And we pray in our churches, so we pray in the presence of icons. Not to them - in the presence of them.

    Saints? Prayers to saints are no different from you asking me to pray for you, or me asking you to pray for me. We do indeed pray "to" saints, but it is different from praying to God. Prayer is just a form of speech. Just like when I talk to you it means one thing, but if I were to talk to God it would mean something totally different, so it is with saints. They are just people. People miraculously redeemed through God's saving power, but still just people. God is God. Prayer to God is an act of worship; prayer to a saint is just talking.

    So why do we do it? Well, first, because we follow the example of the generations of saints before us who have done it. Second, because we have seen the miracles God does THROUGH His saints by their prayers (so we know these prayers are effective). Third, because we know that Christ has conquered death so that there is no separation in Christ. The saints live in Him - God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. There is no death in Christ, and so we are SURROUNDED by the great cloud of witnesses. If THEY are united to Christ, then as much as we are united to Christ we are united to them. This is called the "communion of the saints" and it means that, through the miracle of Christ's death and resurrection, we can ask the saints for their prayers the same way we ask one another for our prayers. So prayer to the saints proclaims loudly Christ's victory over death. FOURTH: for love. We are not saved alone; as you have readily discovered, we must be saved into a community - into love. The saints are PART of that community. We are not just saved into a community in the here-and-now, but a community that transcends time because its GOD transcends time. We are part of that community of the Apostles, the Martyrs, the Bishops, the Councils, etc. etc. - all of it.

    Now, some prayers to saints do take on the character of praise. That is, we honor the saints. We do not worship them, though. Like I said above, honoring the saints is REALLY about honoring God's incredible work in saving those saints. Each and every REAL Christian - every real saint - is God's unique work of art. So we honor the art and, thereby, bring glory to the Artist Himself.

    I don't quite understand the prayers to orcs and trolls - those are pagan things. We don't pray to demons.

    But I agree with what you said about icons as signs of love to God, or portraits of saints who truly loved God.

    Hopefully the above helps. If it is too technical / not practical enough, that's a weakness of mine - let me know and I'll have another go at it.

    It is a good prayer. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us, for we are sinners.

    You know what you might want to try - for "formal" prayers, try praying the Lord's Prayer each morning and evening. It is Scriptural, and Christ even tells us to pray that way when we pray. Much of what you say in your prayer above is, to me, akin to the Lord's Prayer. The Psalms are also an excellent source of prayers. Psalm 50 (sometimes 51) "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your great mercy" is superb. Just a couple ideas.

    In Christ,
    Macarius
     
    Dorothea and tapi like this.
  12. DrCIH

    DrCIH Newbie

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    No no, I was making fun with them to show them how stupid are their statements about us orthodox people :). I would never pray to anything except God.

    I told them the exact same thing. I said "ok if we pray to icons, why do you wear unholy, by your words, signs like crosses?" And they say "we don't pray to them, it's just a sign", and I answer "well it's the same with us, we pray in front of icons, as you do, we cherish the bible and wear crosses, which OK, but what's the difference with icons?", "Well they are icons of dead people".

    I don't know, I've never liked the idea of praying to saints. I myself don't do it. I understand mentioning them, but praying to them ... no. I also like you honor the saints, but I would never pray to one.

    Thank you for the help, Macarius. I hope I'll find some orthodox community here, but it's unlikely. My city has 400 000 popularity and I can't find even 20 believers in here and join them. Anyway I'll stick with you guys and continue discussing things about life of an orthodox and I hope we'll be having a good time.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  13. Aeneas

    Aeneas New Member

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  14. rusmeister

    rusmeister Contributor

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    I can believe that the churches you have experienced to date have only old women in them. I cannot believe that there are no churches in Bulgaria with ordinary people who truly worship Christ and don't merely "light candles". Maybe that's what you've seen to date; I suspect that you haven't spent very much effort and time looking around.

    I don't buy the idea that it is impossible to find a parish with a range of ages and life experience. I say go out and look elsewhere than where you have been!

    I also don't think you understand Orthodox teachings very well. Until you actually begin to learn them, you don't really have any familiarity with Orthodoxy, even if you go to Church every Sunday (though you should, of course). When you say "I would never pray to saints", that tells me right away that you don't know what saints are and what praying to them means. You're welcome to ask here, of course, but we will also encourage you to find a local church and find a priest or spiritual father to talk to.
     
  15. DrCIH

    DrCIH Newbie

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    Well to be honest, I don't know what saints are. Everything I know about christianity I've read from The Bible. Finding a priest to talk to here is a little difficult, cos here orthodox priests generally don't do private conversations, but I'll try harder to do it. As for finding a community, I have found only one and the boy, that organizes it, feels lazy to make a meeting. I've been asking him for two months and he always comes out with excuses. I've searched the internet for those things and found nothing in my city. The only idea that comes to my mind is to go out there and visit our churches. If that fails ... well I don't know :).

    I'll begin searching for an orthodox spiritual guider and will tell you guys everything I experience. May God bless us all and show us the way. :)
    Amin
     
  16. Fotina

    Fotina Regular Member

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    Bulgarian Orthodox Church has many saints/martyrs. The New Martyrs of Batak were just recently canonized.

    Bulgarian Church Canonizes Victims of Ottoman Atrocities in 1876

    [​IMG]
    Bulgarian Patriarch Maxim (left) pictured with the icons of the newly canonized Holy Martyrs of Novo Selo (middle) and Holy Martyrs of Batak (right). Photo by BGNES

    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.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  17. Fotina

    Fotina Regular Member

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  18. rusmeister

    rusmeister Contributor

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    :confused: :scratch:

    It's, uh, part of their ministry - it would be the rare priest that would refuse to talk with you if you request an appointment. They generally make some kind of "office hours" available. If you try at least two times with two different priests, you ought to get one 'yes' (One might be having a really bad day, you never know...).
     
  19. IndieVisible

    IndieVisible New Member

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    Prayer happens to be one of my main points of interest! It is IMHO the single most important aspect of our worship and relationship with God.

    There are two extremes, as you have noticed and some have pointed out.

    The me-centered prayers, which pretty much is a pity party and asking God for things we need and want.

    The written prayers, which our church fathers deemed we need to say and prayer. Of them two are undisputable, the Lords Prayer and the Jesus Prayer.

    Actually when you think about it, God already knows what we need and want, and what we will ask before we ask! Prayer therefore is really for our benefit.

    Prayer can be used to focus and meditate on the wonders and mystery of God, also to seek comfort and guidance.

    How to pray? I use both methods.

    Prayer should be meaningful and from the heart, not automated or repeated on que, which is the main problem I have with most Churches who follow a script and we are qued when to do what, sit, stand, sing, praise, pray, what to pray, and when to donate money and when to leave. Most churches follow this practice with the addition of getting your dose of scripture accuracy from Protestant circles in addition to the mentioned script.

    I'm all for automation in most parts of life, but not for my worship. I go to Church and can only really handle Catholic or Orthodox for the most part.

    Most of my strongest and most serious forms of worship and prayer comes from home or in my car or at work. I pray often, and think about the wonders and mysteries of God. I wonder about a lot of things and much is revealed to me in a personal way that makes it difficult to share or repeat.

    Don't let religion turn you off, you have to look beneath the religion and in your heart to get your true answers. People will disappoint you and religion is just a bunch of people :)

    The Lord God will never disappoint you!

    God Bless!
     
  20. DrCIH

    DrCIH Newbie

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    @rusmeister
    OK I will try going to churches and talking to priests. Let's pray they will help me :). Tomorow after work I will go to two or three churches. Thak you for the advices.

    @IndieVisible
    I also have my understandings, mostly they are based on the orthodox understandings about Christ and God, but some things are just mine :). I will pray both ways. As a matter of fact I've already started. My biggest problem is that my father was a military officer and things like prays are considered as foolish and ... you get the idea. But I'm strong willed and will pray no matter what :).

    Thank you guys, I will start searching for a community and priests in my city. Internet have failed me in finding, I'm sure the world of God will not. :)

    I'm happy I joined you guys, I will tell you what happened ... when it happens :D.

    God bless you all.
     
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