A letter from the inhabitants of Strumitsa to the Bulgarian representatives in Constantinople on the church issue, requesting them to submit to the Sublime Porte their complaint against their Greek bishop
October 31st, 1867
We, the undersigned inhabitants of Stroumitsa, Bulgarians by birth, have long cherished a desire to study in our mother tongue, but every time we tried to translate our desire into action we were invariably prevented from doing so by our spiritual leader Ierotei through his various intrigues in which he has been assisted by some of his supporters who have learned to live by the sweat of the people. This is being done despite the fact that His Majesty's Govern­ment has long since allowed each nationality under its rule to speak and write in its own language; we, however, are prevented from doing so through all kinds of perfidious devices from our spiritual leader and his henchmen. Exerting their influence three months ago they banished two teachers whom we had employed at our own expense, although we have the right to pay the people's teachers from the common funds, as the Greek teachers have always been paid and still are. Our teacher, having been expelled 15 days ago by Bishop Ierotei, our children run around the streets and since we have nobody else to complain to, we have no other choice but to address a petition to His Majesty's Government in Constantinople with the filial request that it graciously agree to issue a special decree allowing us freely and without let or hindrance to introduce the teaching of our mother tongue at our school. On the basis of this, we implore you, esteemed representatives, and accredit you with our signatures, to lodge this petition with His Majesty's Government on our behalf and to describe ver­bally our needs and our sufferings at the hands of our Bishop Ierotei who, in contravention of the Sultan's decree, persecutes our nationality and our language.

НБКМ, БИА, IIA, 4590; the original is in Bulgarian
A speech on the significance of Slavonic letters and on the
destiny of the Bulgarian people, delivered by Raiko Zhinzifov at the Slav Congress in Moscow

Dear Slav brothers! As a Bulgarian I ask you to allow me to say a few humble words on behalf of that Slav ethnic community or people, known as Bulgarians who inhabit a considerable part of the Balkan Peninsula. I admit that my speech is poor and lacking in lustre, but I can assure you that it comes from the depth of my heart and is addressed with sincere love and profound gratitude to the great Russian people who have established the only powerful and strong Slav state in the world! (Approval)

Here, in this place, above our heads and above us all, a sacred flag is waving! This is a sacred banner which after a long separation has, for the first time, thrown its light over all of us, brother Slavs; on this banner we see the portraits of the holy apostles St St Cyril and Methodius, enlighteners of all Slavs without exception. No one will be prepared to deny that this sacred banner belongs to all Slavs. It does! Nevertheless, we should not forget that our Slav enlighteners and inventors of the Slavonic script, the St St Cyril and Methodius, were born in Bulgarian or - which is just the same - Slav Macedonia; that they lived and grew up among the people whose forebears spoke the same language which the Slav enlighteners studied in depth and into which they translated the Gospel.

From their hands all the Slav peoples, including the Russians, have received the Holy Gospel in a language comparatively accessible to all the inter-related Slav peoples. They and their faithful followers planted in the great Russian land the seeds of Slav knowledge and of the sacred and true Christian faith, which is the cornerstone of all the past, present and future historical development and enlightenment of the Russian people.

Brothers! This is not the occasion, neither do I have the time to unfold the annals which have recorded the historical destiny and deeds of the Bulgarian people. Nor can I now describe to you the role which the Bulgarian people has played and is playing in the historic development of the Slav peoples, nor can I explain how it created the foundations for the development of Slavonic-Russian letters on Russian soil through the works written in Slavonic or Old Bulgarian. But I think it is my sacred duty to tell the Russian people that the whole Bulgarian people is now suffering under the unbearably heavy yoke of the Asian barbarians! Russian brothers! Surely you who are strong and powerful in mind and in body, will not forget the long-suffering Bulgarian people which for more than five centuries now has been under the hateful yoke of the ferocious and blood-thirsty Turks! (No, we shall never forget!) Surely you, on whom God has bestowed all blessings in the broad sense of the word, will ex­tend a helping hand to the suffering Bulgarian people! (Yes, yes, we shall!) Brothers! The Bulgarian people is convinced that when the hour strikes and that hour is not distant the whole Russian people will hasten to its help in order to deliver the Bulgarian people from the age-long heavy yoke! ...

Here we heard the sounds of the mighty Russian language and of the Czecho-Slovak and Serbo-Croat languages. Allow me to say a few words in Bulgarian. I propose to raise a toast in Bulgarian. What a pity there is no wine! Mr. Zhinzifov was handed a glass of wine and holding it in his hand he read a poem entitled ‘A Toast,’ written by himself:

With sparkling native wine,
let us fill three glasses,
let us raise them in turn, brothers,
let us raise them all together!
We are Slavs like Moscovites,
like the Serbs, the Czechs, the Slovaks,
Montenegrins and Croatians,
Bosnians and Herzegovians.
Let the free word of the people,
let it sound, let it be carried,
in Bulgaria, upper, lower,
from the Vardar to the Danube.

Райко Жинзифов, Публицистика (Raiko Zhinzifov, Publicises), vol. 2, Sofia, 1964, pp. 201-202, the original is in Russian
‘Faith and nationality’ - text from Bulgarski Boukvar (Bulgarian Primer)
by Kouzman Shapkarev

Question: What is most sacred for Man?

Answer: His faith and nationality.

Question: What is your faith?

Answer: I am a Christian.

Question: What is your nationality?

Answer: I am a Bulgarian.

Question: Why?

Answer: Because my parents are Bulgarians and I speak Bulgarian.

Question: Cannot man change his faith and nationality?

Answer: There are such people who change their religion and nationality but they are committing the gravest sin and they are considered traitors by the world. They are dear to no one, everybody hates and despises them and that is why I shall never think of such things and I shall always try to help such deluded people to find the true path.

Кузман Шапкарев, Българский буквар, Част А или взаимноучителни таблици на наречие по вразумително за македонските българи. Цари­град, (Kouzman Shapkarev, Bulgarian Primer, part A mutual-teaching tables for the Macedonian Bulgarians), Constantinople, 1868, p. 45; the original is in Bulgarian



From an article by D. T. Touninski1 concerning the ethnographic boundaries of the Bulgarian people
February 13th, 1868
Bulgaria occupies the largest part of the ancient Moesia, Thrace and Macedonia. The Bulgarian dialect is spoken from the mouth of the Danube to Salonica and the Lake of Kostour, from Zhelegrad to Ohrid. The line of the an­cient Roman road Via Egnatia2 and mainly that part of it which links Salonica and Ohrid, may be taken as an ethnographic boundary, although it leaves some Bulgarian lands to the south and some Greek settlements to the north of it...; in Thrace Adrianople can be considered as the first frontier town in relation to Greece.

В. „Видовдан", Белград (Newspaper Vidovdan, Belgrade); No. 33, February 13th, 1868; the original is in Serbo-Croat
1 D. T. Touninski, a Croat, a participant in Garibaldi's movement, and a journalist, connected with the Bulgarian revolutionary movement through L. Karavelov
2 The ancient Roman road from Dyrrachium to Thessalonica
A letter from the Bulgarian commune in Nevrokop, to Stefan Verkovic, Seres, in which gratitude is expressed for the assistance rendered by the latter
March 19th, 1868
We have the honour to answer your letter and at the same time to thank you very much for the help you're rendering to the Macedonian Bulgarian peo­ple. Therefore, be assured that we do not at all think of abandoning you. To reassure you further, the teacher told us in detail what you spoke about, so rest assured, we would have done it this week and would have sent you encourage­ment and assurances, but since the teacher could not arrive we left the letters to be dispatched to Constantinople until next week. So, we reassure you in good faith.
The consignment from Constantinople will come through you, that is why we ask you to do your best for us, as we do.
Please, accept our cordial greetings in our answer.

БАН, НА, ф. 14, on. 1, a.e. 288, л. 17; Документи за Българското възраждане от архивата на Сте­фан И. Веркович. Съст. и подг. за печ. — Д. Веле­ва и Т. Вълов, под ред. и с предг. чл. кор, Хр. Христов (Documents of the Bulgarian Revival Period from the archives of Stefan Verkovic. Compiled and prepared for publication by D. Veleva and T. Vulov, edited and prefaced by H. Hristov, Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences), Sofia, 1969, p. 328, the original is in Bulgarian
A mandate issued by the commune of Nevrokop to Stefan Verkovic, to help hi their communal activities
March 19th, 1868
The undersigned, as we ourselves are not in a position, due to our private affairs, in our eagerness to supply an answer as regards our Bulgarian affairs, and to preserve the integrity of our nationality, for better progress and com­munication, we appoint as supervisor and representative Mr. Stefan I. Verkov for our peace and comfort, we empower him to represent us, because he, as a man endowed with the best of qualities, a prudent man of common sense, will submit written or personal reports. Depending on the time, as a sign of sincerity he will report on what he has done about the Bulgarian nationality, for the con­cord of our people.
We are granting him this certificate, confirmed by our self-affixed signatures and as proof of public trust, to enable him to do his work freely and to supply an answer in all cases concerning our Bulgarian affairs. The acknowledgement that we shall recognize all his acts as beneficial to the people.

БАН, НА, ф. 14, on. 1, a.e. 288, л. 18; Документи за Българското възраждане от архивата на Сте­фан И. Веркович. Съст. и подг. за печ. Д. Велева и Т. Вълов, под ред. и с предг. чл. кор. Хр. Хрис­тов (Documents of the Bulgarian Revival Period from the archives of Stefan Verkovic. Compiled and prepared for publication by D. Veleva and T. Vulev, edited and prefaced by H. Hristov, Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences); the original is in Bulgarian
An editorial note of newspaper Makedonia reports on the violence and intrigues of the Bishop of Ohrid and the arrest of Grigor Purlichev
December 14th, 1868
Letters as well as travellers arriving from Macedonia confirm the scan­dalous and dishonest practices of the Greek bishop1 of Ohrid. Not only is he making the rounds of villages accompanied by Turkish gendarmes to collect his imaginary taxes by force from the poor people, but also his black intrigues have succeeded in closing the local Bulgarian school. On top of this, by means of his infernal artifices he succeeded in having the teacher Grigor Purlichev chained and imprisoned in the town of Debur. Poor Macedonia! Exposed most of all to the fury and malignancy of the Hellenic fanaticism, she has struggled and is stil struggling to assert the sacred rights of the Bulgarian nation with great perseverence but how many misfortunes and how many martyrs has the land с St Cyril and St Clement so far produced! Is there no end to the violence and malpractices of the Phanariots in these parts of the country? Is this the grace benevolence by means of which the Great Church wants to assert its rights over the Bulgarian people? What can its supporters - the Greek newspapers
say to this? Are our cries in vain? Let them go and see what ruination has been wrought in these parts by the heirs of St Basil, St John and St Mark, as they like to call themselves.

В. „Македония", Цариград (Newspaper Makedonia), Constantinople, No. 3, December 14th, 1868; the original is in Bulgarian

1 Meletius
A report from Bitola to the newspaper Makedonia about the advance of schooling
and the spiritual
awakening of the Bulgarians in the town

January 27th, 1869

Bitola today looks like a new Bulgarian town in every respect. If, however, we had cast even a superficial glance at its outward appearance, we should have long ago found it to be a Bulgarian town, because out of all the population of Jewish, Turkish, Wallachian, Greek and Albanian origin there is not a single person who does not know Bulgarian. Of all the languages spoken in the market, the most wide-spread is Bulgarian; but, if we look beneath the surface, we shall discover that the Bulgarian spirit is being suppressed in favour of Panhellenism.

Today, after a Bulgarian school for young ladies has been established, we have the honour to see it improved and provided with a new headmaster. The Bulgarian spirit is gaining ground. The St Nedelya church is Bulgarian in the full sense of the word. The local authorities already recognize the Bulgarians as a separate community. The noblest and most influential persons in the town are the leaders of the Bulgarian population in the town; they are constantly working for the education and enlightenment of their compatriots, and they represent the people before the Turkish authorities.

Many people have said that Bitola is the key to Macedonia. This is true. How the heart of any Bulgarian would throb with joy if he learned that this key was Bulgarian! I assure you, that as the local Bulgarian leaders are taking great care not only to improve the internal affairs of the town but are also endeavouring to help the neighbouring villages and towns with advice and material assistance and thus to awake the spirit of the Bulgarians there, Bitola will indeed become the key for unlocking throughout Macedonia the great idea of Bulgarianism, which has long been kept under lock and key.

Being inspired with joy as I see things flourishing here, I cannot help saying a word or two of praise of these noble people who have undertaken this highly commendable and valued cause worthy of their nobleness. Their names will be inscribed in bold letters in our national history, just as the names of the brothers Robev, Dimko Radev, Todorcheto, Dr. K. Meshaikov, etc., have been.

В. „Македония" Цариград (Newspaper Makedonia\ Constantinople, No. 12, Feb. 15th, 1869; the original is in Bulgarian
A letter from Georgi Dinkov, Salonica, to Stefan Verkovic, Seres, on the church question and about his decision to marry a Hellenized Bulgarian woman on the condition that she learned 'written and spoken Bulgarian
February 5th, 1869

I received your valuable letter dated 5th of this month only yesterday by the Austrian post, because it was marked ‘Poste restante' and, as my sister Slavka was very gravely ill until four days ago, since when, thank God, she has grown better, I could not go to look for the letter, neither did they bring it to me.

I was glad to read and understand the contents of this letter of yours, and today, as I have time, I am pleased to answer you.

Expressing the deepest gratitude of the people, I thank you for the joyful news you are sending me about the efforts you have made in order that a letter of gratitude be signed by our compatriots there, too, addressed to His Royal Majesty, our just sovereign and master, beloved by the people, Sultan Abdul Aziz, about the draft of the Honourable Government regarding the solution of our national Church question. I wish you could also give me joy through the accomplishment of this undertaking. However, I can assure you that it will be far from what you think, not unsatisfactory but extremely fruitful. As for how much praise of men and heavenly reward will be given to such pious under­takings, I am confident that, of this, you have no doubts.

I am happy to learn that your description of the lands is ready, and that only the districts of Salonica and Ber are missing. I am ready to send you infor­mation about the former, because I have not yet been able to find the descrip­tion of the second district. Because of moving my various notes around many times, I cannot yet remember where I have put it. But one of these days I shall specially shake out all my books in the hope of finding it, and also the one about Pazar, but I fear that it has been lost, having fallen into the hands of those, who broke into my office in 1863. If I do not find it, however, it is not difficult to provide a new description of both districts. Do not worry about this.

You have been erroneously informed, that I have already become engaged to a virtuious maiden. If I remain of the same opinion till the end of my life, rest assured that I shall never, for any reason, become engaged either to a maiden or to a woman, because, as I know that even the Devil himself cannot serve women, how could I possibly do this! The truth is that I made an arrangement with one maiden, and God knows what will come out of it. Her mother is pure Bulgarian from your Volovishta and on her father's side she is half-Bulgarian but Hellenized. I have an explicit written agreement; if she learns written and spoken Bulgarian, she will be my betrothed, and only when she proves in prac­tice that she has indeed renounced the Greek nationality, and has joined the Bulgarian community, only then will she be wedded to me to be my Bulgarian wife for life, in compliance with the rules and requirements of the interests of the Bulgarian nationality, without any right whatever on our children, without her relatives having any rights on her or on her possessions. Now she shows a great desire to join the Bulgarian community; she has already learnt to read and write in Bulgarian; she has got as far as the pronouns in her studies and has now started to translate a little from Bulgarian into Greek. It is surprising! For she has learnt by heart the diminutive and flattering adjectives and verbs. And so I shall convey to her the good wishes of yourself and of your family only when she is worthy of them, as a Bulgarian. The other week another similar arrangement was made by a zealous Bulgarian with a Bulgarian girl completely Hellenized up to now, on the same conditions.

I cannot send you today what you asked of me in the previous letter, because I am writing from the home of my betrothed, Evka, who greets you and your family. As far as I am informed, Hilferding has gone to Europe. Father is preparing to become a Bulgarian bishop.

Please, accept and convey to all your family, each one personally, greetings and good wishes for the New Year from me and my whole family.

БАН, НА, ф. 14, on. I, a.e. 200, л. 37-38; Доку­менти за Българското възраждане от архивата на Стефан И. Веркович. Съст. и подг. за печ. Д. Веле­ва и Т. Вълов, под ред. и с предг. чл. кор. Хр. Христов (Documents of the Bulgarian National Revival, compiled and prepared for publ. by D. Veleva and T. Vulov, edited and prefaced by H. Hristov, Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences), Sofia, 1969, pp. 371-372; the original is in Bulgarian
A letter from Raiko Zhinzifov, Moscow, to Marin Drinov, Prague, about the circulation in Macedonia of the books
of the Origin of the Bulgarian People and the Beginning Of Bulgaria's History and
Historical Review of the Bulgarian
Church from Its Beginnings to the Present Day

April 1st, 1869

My dear Drinov,

I should have written to you a couple of words long ago, but our wretched Slav laziness did not allow me to discharge this duty; incidentally, you should also know that every single day I work unceasingly from 7 in the morning till 5 in the afternoon. I learnt from your letter to Bonchev, and even earlier from your announcement in Makedonia1 that you have prepared two Bulgarian books for publication. You must be praised for it! I wish, I very much wish, to have one copy of each and I impatiently look forward to receiving them. I also wish, my dear Drinov, to give away as presents several copies of your book, which will soon come out in Macedonia; so, on my behalf, take the trouble to send (will you publish the names of the contributors) 15 copies as follows: 4 books to the Bulgarian school in Veles; 4 books to the Bulgarian school in Prilep, 4 books to the Bulgarian school in Bitola where my old father is teaching, and another 4 books to the Bulgarian school in Kroushevo (not far from Bitola). I am sure that you will do it. In your letter (which I will expect at any rate) you will tell me the price of these 15 copies and in what manner I should send you the money: shall I send it by post, only it will not be in gold but in notes of credit, or do you wish me to hand it to Bonchev, and when he passes through Prague he will give it to you personally. I advise you to address my copies, as well as those you intend to send to Moscow, in the following manner: To the Administration of the Imperial Moscow University. Professor Nil Alexandrovich Popov. First, the books will arrive at this address quicker, and secondly, no censorship or customs officials will seize them.

If you want news, there is plenty, but I'll leave it for later because now I am tired as a donkey loaded with wood, coming home from the forest. The school holidays will be upon us in two weeks' time and then I shall have leisure to write you a long and detailed letter, after I have no doubt received your answer. Take care of yourself!

П. Динеков, Македония в преписката на проф- М. Дринов, Македонски преглед (P. Dinekov, Macedonia in the correspondences of professor M. Drinov, Macedonian Review), Sofia, XIII, 1942, book 2, pp. 70,71; the original is in Bulgarian

The author has the Makedonia newspaper in mind
A report from Belgrade to the newspaper Makedonia about the attempts of the Serbian propaganda
convert the Macedonian Bulgarians into Serbs

April 15th, 1869

In my last report from this city I told you something about the attempts of Serbian propaganda to make Serbs of the Bulgarians in West Bulgaria -Macedonia, and of the Bulgarians near the frontiers of Serbia; I also reported that this germ has not affected the heads of all the Serbs, and that most of the younger people are free of this sin, because they know the situation in their country and its attitude towards neighbouring peoples, and in confirmation of this I send you the following reliable facts received from a young Serb, a man of excellent reputation and proven honesty.

‘Recently I was called by Milos Milojevic,1’ says he, 'who took me to a house and recommended two children to me whom I had to teach (these children are from Kroushevo, West Bulgaria). There we found a woman, ob­viously a Bulgarian, because she spoke Bulgarian. After the greetings, the woman, a simple artless creature unaware of Milojevic's intentions, began to tell me how, until lately, they had only one church in Kroushevo, which they shared with the Tsintsars, but now they had established a Bulgarian church with a Bulgarian priest. While she told me this, Milojevic nudged one of the children and the child began to cry: 'We are not Bulgarians, we are Serbs,' in Serbian, but his very speech showed what he was. But how can we blame an in­nocent child who is like a young sapling that you can bend at will?

Then Milojevic began to discuss the fee for the lessons and stipulated that in a short time they should forget every word of Bulgarian and that I should cultivate in them hatred towards the Bulgarians, because they would later serve as active tools for our aim - to convert all the people of Macedonia into Serbs. When I saw what Milojevic wanted from me, which was something contrary to humanity and my character, and something which would create discord between Serbs and Bulgarians, I refused to undertake such a Jesuit's job and I left him/

Let those who insist that what you have heard from a friend of yours about Veles and Sima is not true, let them, I say, tell you that this case, too, is not true, and it will not be long before I show them both the house and the man. This is all for the present and, if there are other things, I shall inform you in due time.

В. „Македония", Цариград (Newspaper Makedonia), Constantinople, No. 22, April 26th, 1869; the original is in Bulgarian

1 Milojevic (1840-1907), an extreme Serbian chauvinist
A letter from Raiko Zhinzifov, Moscow, to Marin Drinov, Prague, in which he again writes about the books,1 and tells him that he has translated works by Taras Shevchenko into Bulgarian and that he has written a biographical study about the Miladinov brothers
April 16th, 1869

Dear Drinov! I hasten to write to you a few words in response to your latest letter, whereby you tell me that both your books have already been published. Naturally, you have to send also 16 copies of the other work to the schools I named in my previous letter. In a word, I am a subscriber to both books. Have you collected many subscribers up till now? Don't you want some more? Here they are: on behalf of K. Bonev, send ten copies of each book to Turnovo and Elena. Also on behalf of K. Stanishev send ten copies to Salonica and another ten to Koukoush. Do not expect any further assistance from here! What about Peter Teodorov? Well, yes, he can answer you himself, if he wants to. I shall take pains to send you the money, the cost of all these 72 copies, if Bonchev decides to pass through Prague (he is hesitating because he fears the Balkan Mountain). I shall ask him to bring you the money, if not, I shall send it by post. As for the names of the contributors, use your own judgement.

I'm impatiently awaiting your Church History; it is of greater interest to me. The manuscript that has been forwarded has not yet reached Popov. I must tell you that one of the professors at the Moscow Theological Academy has also been working for a long time on A History of the Bulgarian Church, but I do not know when he will publish it. As for your church history, I shall publish a review in „Православное Обозрение" (Christian Orthodox Review) and „Современная Летопись" (Contemporary Annals),and I shall also prepare a review of both books for the Bulgarian newspapers. Let God give you good health and long life to work for the benefit of our people. This summer I shall not come to Prague either, because I have firmly made up my mind, if I do not die by that time, to make a long journey in the summer of 1870 to see Prague, Vienna, Belgrade, Bucharest, Braila, Athens and Constantinople; but quite a lot of gold is needed for this. I shall do this in order to settle the following problem for myself: can I find and is there a permanent job in Russia for me or will have again to teach in the Moscow high school? I would like to know about your future plans.

I've translated the greater part of Shevchenko's works into Bulgarian and this summer I intend to translate almost all of them, except his prose articles. I have already written a detailed biography of the Miladinov brothers, as well as some other small things. I do not know what to do with them, because I am not inclined to publish them, for as the proverb goes, 'once bitten, twice shy.' It would be the saddest thing (God forbid), if your books were not to cover their publishing cost. In fact, there is hope, because your books are quite different in nature from mine.

Take care of yourself!

Я. Динеков, Македония в преписката на проф. М. Дринов, Македонски преглед; (P. Dinekov, Macedonia in the correspondence of Professor M. Drinov, Macedonian Review), Sofia, XIII, 1942, book 2, pp. 71-72; the original is in Bulgarian.

1Cf. Document No 104, April 1, 1869
A letter from some citizens of Nevrokop to Stefan Zahariev in connection with their transfer
to the spiritual authority of the Bulgarian bishop of Nevrokop

June 11th, 1869

Since we have not received a letter from you lately we deem it necessary to inform you about the following:

From other people we learn that you have sent us several numbers of the newspaper Pravo, together with a letter, but we have not received them as yet and that is why we beg you not to send letters by chance people because they don't reach us. It is true that we have not written to you lately, to inform you about .the girl's departure for Odessa together with our teacher and Mr N. G. Mandoushev; this delay was caused solely by the absence of our teacher. It is true we have a man to assist him, but we don't confide in everybody bearing in mind the proverb: 'He who has been stung by nettles is afraid even of the tassel flower.' Now they've come back, everything is in order.

We are pleased to inform you that we have also become members of the Bulgarian nation because it was determined by the Commission in Constan­tinople, headed by His Highness Ali Pasha, that, together with the villages around Melnik and the Northern part of the region, we are under the protection of the Bulgarian bishop in Nevrokop, being ourselves Bulgarians. Thank God we have received what we desired, and we are now expecting only a firman from our august king and father - Sultan Abdul Aziz.

We send you our sincere best wishes and remain your faithful brethren the Bulgarian Commune of Nevrokop.

Iliya Doukov
Georgi Angelake
Stoitse Dimitre
Stoyo Atanasov
Ile I. Georgiev

НБКМ-БИА, IIA, 1206; the original is in Bulgarian
A report in the newspaper Zastava1 about a clash between Bulgarians and Greeks in Bitola
November 14th, 1869
According to a dispatch from Press,2 a bloody clash took place in Bitola between Bulgarians and Greeks, because the Bulgarians attempted to introduce the Bulgarian language into the church, and this was opposed by the Greeks.

В. „Застава", Нови Сад (Newspaper Zastava), Novy Sad, No. 135; November 14th, 1869; the original is in Serbo-Croatian

1 Progressive newspaper where L. Karavelov collaborated
2 Presse Vienna newspaper
A newspaper report from Salonica about the arrest of the teacher Agapi Voynov,
who founded a Bulgarian school in Voden

November 22nd, 1869

Our information from this town concerns Father Agapi, who opened a Bulgarian school in Voden not very long ago. But the malice of the Phanariots did not allow the school to function in peace, because they immediately slandered the teacher before the authorities in Voden, who in their ignorance sent the arrested Father Agapi with bound hands to Salonica where His Highness Sabri Pasha ordered his release as being innocent. We are assured that the teacher will receive all the necessary guarantees from the authorities, so that he may work peacefully and safely for the cause of education in this so far completely neglected, purely Bulgarian town, where the citizens after vainly attempting to defend him and secure his release from the local authorities ac­companied him with tears in their eyes even beyond the town, and later thirty people went with him to Salonica.

We are informed that some malicious people are spreading false rumours to discredit Father Agapi. But the teacher of Voden is well-known in our town and so far his reputation among our citizens has been spotless. This is the reason why we are warning our compatriots not to lend an ear to such rumours which are entirely groundless and which are being spread purposefully by ill-wishers.

В. „Македония", Цариград (Newspaper Makedonia), Constantinople, No. 3, Nov. 22nd, 1869; the original is in Bulgarian
A report from Ohrid to the newspaper Makedonia states that in the churches of Resen and of some other bishoprics
the name of the Bulgarian Synod is mentioned instead of
the name of the Greek bishop

December 9th, 1869
On the 9th of December this year on St. Ann's Day, the priests of all the churches in Resen and thirty-two villages in the neighbourhood gave up men­tioning the name of the Greek bishop Meletius and instead they decided to mention in church and introduced forever the canonical name of the Bulgarian Synod in Constantinople. So today the name of our holy Synod is mentioned in the following Macedonian Bulgarian dioceses: Ohrid, Bitola, Skopje, Veles, Strumitsa, Kyustendil, Samokov, Polyanin and Moglena, thus there are now only three dioceses in Macedonia where the name of our Synod is not men­tioned solemnly: Salonica, Voden and Kostour, and some districts in the neighbouring dioceses, but they are also ready to omit the names of their Greek bishops and introduce the name of our Synod. So Greek Macedonia is now publicly proclaiming that it has been and is Bulgarian and not Greek, as some of the Greek fanatics would have it. We have always wanted and still want the real truth to come from the Macedonians themselves, so that it will be proved that the infallible Great Church made a mistake in deceiving the whole world that Macedonia and Thrace have been populated with Greeks ever since the time of Pericles, and so that it will be proved that the pseudo Bulgarian representatives (as they call them) do not act on their own initiative but on behalf of the whole Bulgarian nation, which recognizes them as their own and the holy Synod as the Synod of their canonical church, whose name they now mention in their churches.

В. „Македония", Цариград (Newspaper Makedonia}. Constantinople, No. 13, Dec. 31st, 1869; the original is in Bulgarian
A letter from the Bulgarian commune in Kratovo to the Chairman of the commune   in Kyustendil about the letter's joining the movement against the Patriarchate
December 15th, 1869
We have received your letter dated 13 December sealed in an envelope and we understood what you explain to us. Thank you for your solidarity, which we consistently sought from our brothers. Then some of our priests were not here and this was the reason for our silence to your detailed answer. However, in 5 or 10 days' time expect a more detailed answer as to how we shall follow the instructions contained in your two letters. And so we remain your compatriots united with you by cordial love. The Bulgarian com­mune of Kratovo.

НБКМ, БИА, IIA 5926;the original is in Bulgarian
A letter from the Russian Consul Nikolai Yakubovski (Bitola), to the Slav Committee (Moscow) about Western religious propaganda and the educational work of the   Bulgarians living there
January 23rd, 1870

In response to your letter of September 26, 1869, No. 4,464 regarding the supply of information for the Committee on the activity of Western propagan­da agencies, on any charity establishments organized in the region of the Bitola Consulate, as well as on public education, I have the honour to inform you that in the region of the Consulate entrusted to me, there is only one Lazarite school in the town of Bitola, which was opened 15 years ago headed by the Abbot Le Paveque.

And yet, during all this time, Catholic propaganda has not scored par­ticular successes, in spite of the fact that using different methods, Le Paveque had succeeded in v/inning over to the Uniate several poor Bulgarian families from the regions of Veles and Tikvesh, but last year they all returned to the Eastern Orthodox religion, while their children, who studied in the Lazarite school in Bitola, left it and returned to their parents. As a result, Le Paveque was recalled to Paris, while Abbot Cassani, appointed in his place, has for the time being restricted his actions to expressing readiness to give lessons in French only to those children whose parents agree to pay him 30 (talers) a month. On this condition, five children of Bitola citizens are attending the Lazarite school.

Twice has Protestant propaganda tried to gain ground in Bitola, but both attempts were a complete failure, and, therefore, for three years now it has abandoned this district. As for the other charity establishments of Western propaganda, there are none in Bitola district.

Regarding the education, I consider it my duty to inform you that due to lack of funds for its development, its progress is very slow. Until very recently, little attention was paid to national education. With the exception of the regions of Prilep, Veles, Tikvesh and Kurchovo, church services and teaching in the schools were everywhere conducted in Greek, and a large number of the Bulgarians wrote in their mother tongue, using Greek letters. Church services in the Slav languages recently started in Bitola, Ohrid, Resen and Kroushevo. Although, at present, purely Bulgarian schools have already been opened in all the above-mentioned towns, since they are supported by church revenues, which, with the exception of Veles and Prilep, are scanty, these schools often need funds and, therefore, their results cannot be satisfactory.

Only in Bitola, Ohrid and Veles are there girls' schools.

There are nowhere schools in the villages, and only the village priests, who, in their overwhelming majority, know how to read and write, teach the letters to the village children.

In general, both types of schools - the boys' as well as the girls' schools, could be said to need trained school masters and school mistresses.

ЦГАОР, ф. 1750, on. 1, ед. хр. 72, л. 83-84 об. the original is in Russian
A letter from the commune of Novo selo (Stip region), to Archimandrite Pavel, Lesnovo Monastery, about the development of the people's church struggle against the Phanariots
January 25th, 1870
After filial greetings, we come to inform you of the developments you are interested in. As for the people's movement here, now it is in full swing, even though the hireling of the /Greek/ bishop is in our town. And still, he is like a foreigner to a priest's house. He also tries to interfere with the affairs of the peo­ple and of our local administration with his Phanariot treachery. In everything he has been exposed. We, however, have sent two telegrams to the /Bulgarian/ representatives in Constantinople, and a petition to the Vali in Prizren, against his cunning, and, when we receive the answer, we shall inform you of it. Nevertheless, we, the citizens of Stip, are in a pitiable position, because walnuts have grown scarcer in the market, as the good son of the black-capped clergyman has a passion for them, and because he has influence and great power only over walnuts. In all other matters he is neutral. (Willy-nilly). Ecclesiastical tides have been given to the priests everywhere. There are only two priests who have not received ecclesiastical titles, but these have been left without bread. Our church is very rude, because the bishop has been expelled from it (like a wolf from the flock). Consequently, the people's movement is thriving in our town, and marriage licences are being issued, and all. You often write to us about the book from the manciple priest. We ordered him to give it to your man. Semkata is in Salonica, and we shall write about Seizut later. About Strumitsa: Father Ierotei was expelled from Tikvesh, and there are in Constantinople representatives with his accounts from the monasteries. As for Bitola, Kostour and Skopje, just as in our town, these towns adhere to and make progress towards a sense of nationality. And things are going well. Veles and Samokov received circular letters from the Greek Patriarch in which he invites them to send representatives on the First of May to attend the council at Phanar, which is intended to discuss the Bulgarian question. But these gentlemen sent him back the letters rejecting the invitation, and protesting against the contents of his letter, because they had /their/ own representatives in Constantinople and /their/ own shepherds. As for the Patriarchate, they say, we have long forgotten and rejected it completely, and we do not know what name it bears (Ruined!!! Wonder of wonders!!!) As for the priests in our town and in our villages, they belong to the people, and the people follow them. They recognize the People's Spiritual Administration as their spiritual leader, and re­main unvanquished by the Phanariot and his blows. We make dust of his cun­ning. Apart from two Phanariot sychophants from among our priests, the rest belong to our people's Church with the exception of 5-6 manure-carriers and tar merchants!!! They go to visit him1 to ask his blessing. And yet, naturally, we shall not fail to inform you about all the news. And so, we muster courage to call ourselves your spiritual children.2

НБКМ, БИА, IIA, 189; the original is in Bulgarian

1 The Greek bishop
2 The letter is signed by nine representatives of the commune, among whom are D. Zhivkov, H. Apostol, H. Mirkov, Temelko Karafil and others, and bears the seal of the commune; a postscript about a letter sent to Kratovo has been deleted.
A letter from the members of the Bulgarian commune in Nevrokop (now Gotse Delchev) to the Russian Ambassador to Constantinople about the efforts they are making for the spiritual advancement of their fellow townspeople and asking for material support from Russia
February 3rd, 1870

We are submitting our present petition to your Excellency for the first time, daring to address you with filial respect, as children address their father, to greet you and inquire after your precious health (let God give you long life and good health), to kiss your strong hand with sincere reverence and, in short, to describe our needs. We do not doubt and we are fully confident that you will satisfy them perfectly and bring them to a happy conclusion in time.

So, encouraged by our compatriot, Mr. Spass Iliev, who is a member of our community, to address a petition to Your Excellency to ask for assistance and support for our nationality all over Macedonia, we express our heartfelt and sincere gratitude for the sympathy you feel for us, your dear brothers of blood kinship, and for your wisest parental counsel, oh, you dearest protector and patron! Therefore, kneeling, we beg for your powerful protection and assistance, that you may be the instrument that will save such a numerous Bulgarian Macedonian people from Greek perfidy and attacks.

Protector! We are making efforts, but we have no funds; we have the desire but we do not have the weapons, and therefore we beseech Your Excellency to help supply us with the things we lack so badly now. For in­stance, in our town we have two churches: Dormition of the Holy Virgin and The Holy Archangel Michael, but we have only one set of religious books. We leave it to you to realize how difficult it is to hold church services. We have no church vestments at all, we would like to install a bell, because bells have been installed in all the surrounding places, but we have no funds. We have a school, but it is inadequate in terms of a syllabus. We beseech Your Excellency to make efforts and present all those things to your co-religionists, and we shall glorify, honour and remember your illustrious name for ever and ever.

We cherish the hope and we submit to your wishes.

Your most obedient servants, the Bulgarian commune of Nevrokop1.

Архив внешней политики России, ф. Славянский стол, (1862—1874) (Archives of Russia's foreign policy), 1862-1874, g. 3988, л. 147; the original is in Bulgarian

1 The petition is signed by Priest Konstantin, Iliya Doukov, Stoyan Dimitri, Spass Iliev, Iliya Georgiev, Georgi Kostov, Nikola G. Mandoushev, Ivan Anastassov, Nedelcho Hristov, Stoil Ivanov, Yovan Georgiev, and another four whose names are not legible
The Firman for the establishment of a Bulgarian Exarchate
February 28th, 1870
All the loyal subjects and citizens in our Empire, enjoying complete and constant security in religious matters, as well as in all others, live together in peace and understanding, as it becomes fellow-countrymen and enlightened people. Our most cherished desire has always been that they contribute in this way, as far as possible, to the efforts which I am indisputably making to ensure the well-being of the country and the advancement of culture.

But in spite of all this we observed with regret the disputes and controver­sies which contrary to our good will, have lately arisen between the Bulgarians of the Orthodox faith and the Greek Patriarchate, i.e. concerning the relations between the Bulgarian archbishops, bishops, priests, the Bulgarian Church and the Patriarchate.

The following articles, the result of many discussions and much thought about the best solution of the difficult problem were formulated as follows:

1) A special spiritual jurisdiction shall be established under the name of Bulgarian Exarchate, which will include the below mentioned archbishoprics, bishoprics, and others; the Exarchate shall be authorized to manage all the church affairs of this religious faith.

2) The highest rank of the archbishops in this jurisdiction shall be the title of Exarch, and the Exarch shall be the canonical head of the Bulgarian Synod, whose permanent seat shall be close to the Exarch.

3) The internal spiritual management of this Exarchate shall be subor­dinated to the sanctions and approbation of our Sublime Porte; it shall be regulated by a special Statute, which must be in conformity, under all cir­cumstances, with the basic canons of the Eastern Orthodox Church, as well as with the principles of the Orthodox faith. The Statute shall be worked out in such a way that it will not allow the direct or indirect intervention of the Patriarchate in spiritual affairs, especially in the election of bishops and of the Exarch.

Immediately after the election of the Exarch, the Bulgarian Synod shall in­form the Patriarchate, and the latter shall as soon as possible issue all the necessary letters of confirmation, required by the Orthodox rites.

4) This Exarch, appointed by our Royal Decree, must mention in the liturgy, according to the canons of the Church, the name of the Patriarch of Constantinople.

Before any steps are taken, according to the instructions of the faith, for the election of a person worthy of the rank of Exarch, the opinion and the ap­proval of my Government shall be asked.

5) In all matters the solution of which (according to the existing laws) depends on him and which are concerned with places under his spiritual domi­nion, the Exarch may address the local authorities directly and if need be, our Sublime Porte; the decrees given to the clergy depending on him will be issued at his request.

6) In all matters concerning the Orthodox faith and requiring joint discus­sion and collaboration, the Synod of the Exarchate shall apply to the Oecumen-cial Patriarch and his Synod and they shall hasten to give their support or to send the necessary answers.

7)  The Synod of the Bulgarian Exarchate shall ask the Patriarchate of Constantinople for the chrism used in churches.

8) The bishops, the archbishops and the prelates subordinated to the Patriarchate of Constantinople shall freely pass through the territory subor­dinated to the Bulgarian Exarchate; the same refers to the Bulgarian bishops, archbishops and prelates in the bishoprics of the Patriarchate of Constantino­ple. They shall be free to go to the main towns of the district or to any other places where the local authorities are. But they shall have no right to convene their Synods outside their spiritual jurisdiction; they shall not interfere with the affairs of the Christians, who are not under their spiritual authority and they shall not conduct holy services in any other place of sojourn, without the per­mission of the local bishop.

9) As the Convent of Jerusalem in the Phanar suburb of Constantinople depends on the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and is under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, so the Bulgarian convent, situated also there, together with the Bulgarian church, shall depend on the Bulgarian Exarchate.

The Exarch has the right to stay at this convent whenever his affairs require his presence in Constantinople; either when he comes on business, or to conduct a holy service there. While in the capital, he must submit to and observe the same church canons observed under the same circumstances by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Alexandria and Anthioch.

10) The spiritual jurisdiction of the Bulgarian Exarchate shall include the bishoprics of Rousse, Silistra, Shoumen, Turnovo, Sofia, Vratsa, Lovech, Vidin, Nis, Pirot, Kyustendil, Samokov, Veles, Varna (with the exception of the town of Varna and about 20 villages on the Black Sea coast up to Constanta whose population is not Bulgarian), the district of Sliven without the towns of Anhialo and Mesemvria; the county of Sozopol without the villages along the coast, the bishopric of Plovdiv without the city of Plovdiv, the town of Stanimaka and the villages of Kouklen, Voden, Arnaoutkyoy, Panagia, Novo Selo, Lyaskovo, Alhan, Bachkovo, Belashtitsa, and the monasteries of Bachkovo, St Bezsreburnitsi, St Paraskeva and St Georgi.

The quarter of the Virgin Mary in the city of Plovdiv shall be included in the Bulgarian Exarchate, but those inhabitants who are not willing to submit to the Bulgarian church and Exarchate shall have full liberty in this respect. The particulars of this shall be settled between the Patriarchate and the Exarchate according to religious traditions, principles and rules.

If all, or at least two thirds of the Orthodox Christian population in other places, besides those enumerated above, are willing to accept the supremacy of the Bulgarian Exarchate in religious matters and, if this is duly proved, they will be allowed to do so, but this shall happen only by the will and with agree­ment of all or, at least, two thirds of the population. Those, who try by these means to create trouble and disturbances among the population, will be persecuted and punished according to the law.

11) The rules which, according to the canons, govern the position of the monasteries dependent on the Patriarchate but situated on the territory of the Bulgarian Exarchate, must be kept and observed as before.

Since the above-mentioned regulations were found sufficient to satisfy the lawful demands of the population and to put an end to the unfortunate dis­cords, our Government approved them; they shall in future be respected as laws and the present firman was issued to make it known that our definite will is that they shall not be violated and there shall be no departure from them.

Христо Христов, Николай Генчев, Българско въз­раждане (Hristo Hristov, Nikolai Genchev, Bulgarian National Revival), Sofia, 1969, pp. 212-214 the original is in Turkish


A letter from Stefan Verkovic in Seres to the Serbian government about the appearance of rebels in the district of Nevrokop
March 3rd, 1870

I have safely received the 45 ducats.

I learned from a reliable source that from St Demetrius Day up till now no movement of military detachments has been observed along the line between Salonica, Skopje and Bitola.

According to the assurances of the merchants, all the troops concentrated along the frontiers with your country and Montenegro were transported there by sea through Sutorina and Antivari. So far, complete calm reigns both in our district and the district of Drama, and there are not the least signs of any move­ment of the military forces in the near future. But if I detect anything, I shall in­form you immediately.

Today I was informed by a reliable man that from St Demetrius Day onwards about ten suspicious strangers with Russian, Italian and German passports have been seen in the area of Nevrokop. My friend told me that these strangers were Bulgarian, Italian and Wallachian by nationality. He managed to learn the name of only one of them - 'Bandiera'. They all try to pass as merchants, but they buy nothing and only wander from village to village. The contradictory explanations which they have given about their activities so far have made the local authorities suspicious of them, and the head of the police in Nevrokop has received a secret instruction from the local pasha to watch them carefully at every step. One of them with a Russian passport but born in the district of Nevrokop - came to Seres but the Turks arrested him and in­terrogated him from morning till night, trying to learn the reason for his arrival here. The man who told me about them assured me that the local people con­sidered them to be secret emissaries of the Bulgarian Committee in Wallachia and were afraid that the strangers intended to organize a revolt in this area at the beginning of spring like the Greeks in Epirus. The Bulgarian who was arrested here has lived abroad for 25 years, and was recently in the Russian ar­my. I shall inform you immediately about everything I learn of the activities of these emissaries.

The day before yesterday a dispatch from Constantinople was received here with the cheering news that the Sultan has confirmed the independence of the Bulgarian church with a firman. This cheered the Bulgarians very much and the Graecomanes received it with astonishment. This is clear from the fact that the latter are visiting all the Turkish officials here and are frightening them with the rumour that the Bulgarians desired an independent church because they wanted unification with Serbia. I learned this from the local bimbashi who is a friend of mine.

Архив Историског института, САНУ, Збирка Joвaнa Ристиhа, инв. бр. 12/283, сигн. ХП/5; (Archive of the Historical Institute, Collection Jovan Ristic) See Ана Райкова, Документи за националноосвободителното движение в Македония през 70-те години на XIX в., Исторически преглед; (Ana Raikova, Documents on the national liberation movement in Macedonia in the seventies of the 19th c.), review Istoricheski Pregled, Sofia, 1968, vol. I, pp. 128 129; the original is in Serbo-Croatian.
A report from Seres to the newspaper Makedonia speaks of the desire of many villages to establish their own Bulgarian schools
March 17th, 1870
Seres. This town has really been contaminated by Greek mania. No one here dares say even a word about his real nationality. Alas! You Graecomanes, pure Bulgarians from Seres, you are trying in vain to pass as Greeks, something which even oxen do not do. Repent, you brothers, this road is a blind alley, come to your senses again, put your right hands on your hearts and ask yourselves: 'What are we, who were our fathers and what was the milk we sucked, what were the songs that our mothers sang to us in our cradles, and the golden words of comfort with which they soothed us?’

How dare you, gentlemen, forsake your fathers' names, despise your mothers' milk, and will you not feel them weighing like a heavy burden on your hearts, even after you have forsworn them?

There is nothing in the world more despicable than a self-deceiving man. Don't deceive yourselves and don't hinder your brothers - the peasants, who with great eagerness and deep feeling of reverence are willing to listen to the words of God in their own mother tongue. Look, they have already started opening schools, where they are taught mostly in Bulgarian.

Here in the district of Seres there are already more than 20 villages which have purged their schools and churches of the pernicious Greek language. The principal village of Brode (Vroundia) in this district, consisting of 630 houses and situated at 6 hours' walk to the north of the town, has omitted the name of the Greek bishop and now they mention the name of the Bulgarian Synod. A notable from that village, Mr G. Hadji Dimo1, is in Seres today where they are trying him for some petitions against the Greek bishop. The cunning bishop and his supporters here are trying to induce the peasants not to join their brothers and not to introduce the Bulgarian language into their schools and churches by deceiving them into believing that all who do these things will be compelled later to pay 30 million grosh - the debt of the Bulgarian represen­tatives to the church for the last 12 years. Some of the poor peasants are willing to introduce the Bulgarian language, but they are at a loss what to do and are afraid that what the agents of the bishop say may be true.

What about Melnik? The village of Levovo there, together with 9 other villages, insist that their own language be introduced. They started collecting signatures and appointed one of the notables of Levovo - Mr. Theodore - as their representative to go either to Seres or to Salonica to ask for permission from the officials for the establishment of Bulgarian schools in their villages When the Bishop of Melnik was informed about that, he denounced them to the local Turkish authorities as rebels. The Turkish Governor considered it his duty to send for Theodore and investigate the case, but, while the zaptiehs were bringing him to Seres, the bishop managed to arrange things in such a way that the poor slandered man was immediately imprisoned without any hearing or sentence, and 24 hours later he was sent under guard to Seres, where he is still in prison. But note, that he was brought to Seres on foot and they did not allow him to take any clothes. When he was first brought to Melnik, the Governor told him that, had he known beforehand about the collection of signatures, he would have gone and shot him on the spot. In Nevrokop the Governor com­pelled the Bulgarians to appoint their representatives for the Synod of the Patriarchate, as we were told by the representative from this town who had come here this morning to complain to the officials.

The Governor of Seres released Theodore from Levovo but, as we have heard, he did not rebuke either the Governor of Melnik or the bishop for their illegal proceedings.

В. „Македония", Цариград (Newspaper Makedonia), Constantinople,  No.   34,    March 17th,   1870;  the original is in Bulgarian

Father of the eminent Communist Dimo Hadjidimov
The minutes of the establishment of a Bulgarian  commune in Voden and recording the fact that the citizens
renounce the Patriarchate and want Bulgarian bishops

May 7th, 1870

We have received a report from Voden about the publication of the following document concerning the establishment of a Bulgarian commune in this town:

Record of proceedings at the session of the commune and the church wardens confirming the unanimity of our population.

We, the undersigned citizens of Voden, of the Eastern Orthodox faith, of Bulgarian origin, and loyal subjects of His Imperial Majesty Sultan Abdul Aziz, our benevolent father and Lord, who had lately bestowed on us his most magnanimous and long-awaited royal mercy, for which we are profoundly grateful, and we pray to God for the prosperity and long life of his kingdom, we, unanimously and in concord, relying on the royal firman and the laws of our country, duly and legally appointed the members of our people's commune and our church warden whom we authorized with the seal of the commune to work and act on our behalf and to represent us whenever necessary before the honourable Government and to be our mouthpiece. The members have three obligations:

1) As pure Bulgarians, we do not recognize the Greek Patriarchate and its bishops and authorize them to bring us a bishop from our national Bulgarian Church.

2) In our schools we want our native Bulgarian language to be the prin­cipal one in the education of our children, then Turkish, and, after it, any other language if there be time, desire and need.

3) In our churches we want to hear the services and the word of God in our own language, like our brother Bulgarians throughout the Empire. For this reason, we authorize our church commune to work out a Statute and a list of regulations as basis for its activities, according to the existing laws of the Government, and that this commune represent our citizens everywhere and keep a regular record of all its proceedings in a special record-book, duly signed and sealed, while the decisions of the board will be accepted by us as valid for everybody. Also:

We bind ourselves by our own free will to assist and support them by word, deed and a helping hand, whenever it is necessary, and all the above-mentioned points we confirm by our own signatures.

В. „Македония", Цариград (Newspaper Makedonia), Constantinople, No. 54, May 30th, 1870; the original is in Bulgarian
A letter from the members of the Voden commune to Archimandrite Pavel in the Lesnovo Monastery,
in connection with the national church struggle

May 11th, 1870
We received via Mr. Georgi Toshev, your highly respected paternal letter of May
3, and, having carefully read and understood its contents, we were in­describably comforted. Our failure to answer your previous letters was due to the fact that there was as yet no concord among us, something, from which we have been cured.

As for Mr. G. Toshev's work, he himself will inform you, that we, like him, would like to have you here; as for Mr. Georgi Chyangov, he is in Port Said in Egypt, and his mother went to fetch him, but we do not know for sure when he would be back. We have not at all forgotten your melifluous conversation with us held the year before last, and have even been diligently spreading it, and it has so much strengthened and struck deep root, that all over the diocese the idea is greatly thriving, and it itself is the source of our national feeling and con­sciousness: we give thousands upon thousands of grateful prayers to the Lord above, who has distinguished us with a priest of our own people as worthy as you, who have been selflessly roaming becoming a willing victim to the development of your deeply sleeping homeland, which, however, is now in a perfect position to recognize and appreciate its benefactor; it only is sorry that it looks at him from afar! Holy father, the hour has struck! All obstacles have been eliminated! We uprooted Nikodim and did everything possible so that the new bishop would not receive a mandate and await the hour when we would chase him away... There is nothing to fear! Enough foreign oppression! Come and get some rest from your hard labours in our wide open hearts; yes, Father, wide open hearts, and there is no pen capable of describing our ardent desire to have you here. Fulfil this desire of ours! As we brought in a capable teacher in Slav-Bulgarian, Greek, Turkish and French, almost the whole town, with the exception of a few people who are still deluded and who mourn and bewail waning Hellenism, came and embraced their natural and literary mother tongue; and after we had written down the houses in the chronicle, we elected and organized a commune and inspectors, whom, by a public seal, we em­powered to represent the people everywhere.

15 days ago, when we were about to expel Nikodim, we learnt that the Greek Patriarchate was sending, without asking our opinion, another one in Nikodim's place; therefore we telegraphed to the Great Vizir that our diocese, being inhabited by pure Bulgarians, according to the Sultan's firman, does not recognize the Greek patriarchate, nor the bishop it is sending us without asking us, but that we want a Bulgarian bishop from the Bulgarian Church. The Sultan's Vizir answered us that we, as a diocese, had to present a petition and then our wish will be fulfilled, therefore we set out openly round the diocese for seals, then we shall go to announce this, so as to be able to join our people's Bulgarian Church and take a priest who would be Your Reverence. But so that our church affairs may be in good order and so that what is weak may be consolidated, we decided to call you now, and chose two people to come to you and bring you here, so that you may be employed as a priest until we join the Bulgarian Church. But we decided to postpone their departure until we had received an answer to our request from Your Reverence.

So, we humbly and filially beseech you, holy father, not to refuse us with any excuse or disregard our wish. Let us know your decision an hour ahead by a telegram from Veles, or anywhere else, addressed to Icho Dimitriev Sanezh and Georgi Gogouv, and we shall promptly send people to meet you...

So, begging you to agree and to send us one or two of the school mistresses in Veles, we remain, respectfully and filially kissing in our minds you holy paternal hand...

Your obedient spiritual children. Members of the Bulgarian commune in Voden.

НБКМ, БИА, IIA 157; the original is in Bulgarian
Letter from the commune of Kavadartsi and Vatasha to the Church Synod in Constantinople,
demanding that the district of Tikvesh be put under the spiritual authority of the Bulgarian Exarchate

May 16th, 1870
To the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Church Fathers in Constantinople

Holy Shepherds and Fathers!

After expressing our great respect and prayers for your prayers and blessing, we desire to submit our humble letter to the attention of your worships and express the great joy and satisfaction which has filled our hearts ever since we learned from the dispatches to our neighbouring towns and from the national newspapers that His Imperial Majesty, our merciful tsar, Sultan Abdul Aziz, Khan, guided by justice and fatherly concern for the Bulgarian people, has deigned to issue a high firman for the final solution of our church problem and the recognition of an independent Bulgarian church and national hierarchy un­der the official name of the Bulgarian Exarchate.

After thanking God for his gracious mercy in freeing our people and our Church from the foreign and alien clergy, immediately after the church service on Annunciation Day, we gave voice to our warm, unanimous prayers and heartfelt thanks to the Almighty Creator for the long life and health of his Imperial Majesty, our tsar, Sultan Abdul Aziz, our Lord, who was so kind as to confer so great a bounty upon his loyal Bulgarian subjects.

But although, like true Bulgarians, it was our greatest desire to see the final solution of the Bulgarian church problem and the recognition of our in­dependent Church, - we were prevented by the enemy of our people, the Phanariot Ieroteus1 and his supporter priest Petros from expressing freely in a letter our eager desire to the glorious Government of our kind tsar - Sultan Aziz as was done by other Bulgarian bishoprics.

So now, after the final solution of the problem, when all fears have vanished from our hearts, fears caused by the threats and intrigues of the Greeks, we met at the school in Kavadartsi and Vatasha and, with the knowledge of the local authorities, wrote a prayerful petition, full of gratitude, to His Imperial Majesty the Sultan, imploring him to put under the spiritual dominion of the already recognized Bulgarian Exarchate our district of Tikvesh, which fortunately is populated only by pure Bulgarians Orthodox Christians and Moslems. We end our petition here and humbly beg you to sub­mit it to the Government of His Majesty.

We also implore your worships to receive the Orthodox population of Tikvesh into the bosom of our already independent Church and Exarchate and to be so kind as to instruct us by letters in matters of faith and law, and to direct our priests in the full and proper execution of their services and duties.

For this reason, we beg you to send us if possible about 150 marriage-licences through your representatives in Prilep.

Relying on your prayers and blessings we kiss your holy hands and re­main forever your faithful, humble and obedient spiritual children: the parishes of Kavadartsi, Vatasha and all the citizens of Tikvesh.

(The signatures follow)
P. S. Dear patriotic editor of Makedonia. We beg you sincerely to remind all patriotic Bulgarians there, the Bulgarian Library Club Blagodetel, the frater­nity society and the patriotic and charitable commune there that we badly need Bulgarian books and publications, so that we shall appreciate it if they send us (as they have already done for other places), for our poor people, kept in ig­norance by the Greek malice, free copies of your and other newspapers, because, as you know, no newspapers reach our district and we shall be very grateful and obliged to you forever.

В. „Македония", Цариград (The Bulgarian newspaper Makedonia) Constantinople, No. 50, May 16th, 1870; the original is in Bulgarian

Greek bishop of Strumitsa
A letter from the Bulgarian commune in Strumitsa to the Kyustendil commune,
asking for financial
aid to build a school

July 14th, 1870

Offering our respects to the Kyustendil commune, patriotism, in the present letter we hasten to ask its indulgence, if the rumour we have acted on proves to be false.                                          

We have heard that after the end of the conflagration in Strumitsa, the Kyustendil commune,  guided by its patriotism, offered to render some assistance, the size of which is unknown to us, to our poor burnt native Strumitsa.

Consequently, if this rumour should be true, we humbly ask the patriotic commune to send its voluntary aid to Mr. Tashe Ranenikov, a man specially sent on our behalf for this purpose, and to recommend him to the commune of Doupnitsa.

Thus far we have had no need to ask for aid from the patriotic communes. We awaited the time when they could help us build a Bulgarian school and a church, and now that the long awaited moment has arrived, we have decided to start building the school, but since our money is scanty, we're asking the people for aid and charity. Relying on your patriotic sentiments, we remain loyal com­patriots of the Kyustendil commune, which we, the members of the Bulgarian commune in Strumitsa, highly respect.

НБКМ, БИА, HA 3054; the original is in Bulgarian
Report from Kriva Palanka to the newspaper Pravo about the expulsion of the priests of the Patriarchate from the town
September 26th, 1870

There are four priests here, catspaws of the local Greek bishop, who, after the failure of all their efforts to re-instate themselves in our churches and parishes from whence they were driven away, finally tried to achieve their aim by violence, i.e. by forcibly conducting the service in our churches, as was the wish of their master, Bishop Paissi. But how ashamed they were when this attempt also failed, and when, what is more, it led to their being forbidden to serve in the churches and even to enter them.

They made this attempt on the 14th of September, and in particular for the rite of the consecration of water, which is a church holiday usually celebrated with great solemnity. So, the surprise of the people in the church when the four priests trying to enter together with the people's priests, with the obvious intention of reading prayers, was beyond description. It was exactly as the proverb says, 'They don't want him in the village, but he wants to live in the parsonage/ Immediately some of those present went to tell them that they should leave because their service -was not desirable, but when the people saw that they took no notice of those warnings but pursued their course, everybody present surrounded them with such obvious signs of anger and indignation that if they had not taken the hint and left the church at once, I assure you they would have been torn to pieces that very minute even within the church.

After the church service was over, all the people who were in the church, went directly to the office of the local governor and lodged a complaint against the four priests to Saffet bey, the governor, who summoned these sworn minions of Paissi at once and ordered them in most severe terms not only to refrain from reading in church against the will of the people, but also never to enter it again.

Saffet bey be praised for his prudence and wisdom in thus divining the cunning and intrigues of these villainous supporters of the bishop and ridding the people from them! Praised be our respected commune for its perseverance and prudent proceedings in crowning our endeavours with success! Praised be our judicious peasants, who did much to help during the expulsion of these despised tools of the bishop - thanks to such people as Hadji P. Alexi, Priest Ivan, the former church warden, Priest Ivan Kratovski and Priest Stoycho, whose behaviour on this occasion was most commendable! Honour and praise to all patriotic Bulgarians who struggled zealously to rid our people from the Greek-Phanariot Patriarchate, its agent Paissi and his followers! Long live such Bulgarians!

В, „Право", Цариград (Newspaper Pravo), Constantinople, No. 34, October 19th, 1870; the original is in Bulgarian
A letter from Nikolai Popfilipov (the village of Dolen, Nevrokop region) to Stefan Zahariev (Pazardjik) about the decision of the inhabitants of Nevrokop and the Nevrokop region not to pay the bishop's tax
December 6th, 1870

I received your honourable letter dated the 30th of last month; and thank you very much for your useful advice. I was greatly hurt by the unpleasant situation in which my kind friends, the cantor Mr. Zheko, and Mr. Hristo, your son, have found themselves, and I convey to them my cordial greetings. For your sake, I shall make efforts hoping to secure him a place as teacher. The messengers who were sent, one to Constantinople and two to Salonica, came back several days ago and brought from there a Sultan's decree; however, the kaimakam (district governor) said it was not valid and forced the inhabitants of Nevrokop and the aldermen of all villages in the county to pay the bishop's tax. He also arrested several of them for this and kept them for 2-3 hours in jail, but all inhabitants of Nevrokop gathered in the konak (town-hall) and told him: 'Either set free these people or imprison us, too, because not one of us will pay the bishop's tax,' and he let them out. The same people from there told the cap­tain then and there in the konak, that they would kill the bishop and pay the blood money. That is why the governor had to send police to see him home and, ever since, for several days, the bishop has not dared go out, either to take a walk or on the road, but has been staying like one under house arrest, because the Bulgarians had organized their wives to stone him to death wherever they saw him.

Now they think of sending people from the district (kaza) to Seres again to send a telegram to the representatives in Constantinople about this matter; and if a telegram fails to do the job, they will again send representatives there.

The inhabitants of Dolen say that if all villages from the district pay the bishop's tax we shall pay it, too; if not, we won't either.

Now I, even after the Ascension of the Virgin, went back to my village and there found Father Makarius —the Archimandrite of the Samokov diocese, inviting electorate from our district to go to Samokov and there elect represen­tatives to be sent to Constantinople to examine and confirm the decree. Three people from our district went to take part in the election in Samokov. That archimandrite had a letter of recommendation from Samokov, and another one from Constantinople from the mixed council, as well as a printed booklet with instructions as to how to elect representatives.

I convey greetings to your whole family.

Here in the Nevrokop district, people are wondering why no represen­tatives are sought from them and are in doubt as to whether they are not still thought to be Greeks, although they renounced the Patriarchate so long ago.

Your sincere friend.

НБКМ, БИА, IIA, 5784; the original is in Bulgarian
A dispatch from Voden to the newspaper Makedonia on the struggles of the local Bulgarians against the followers of the Patriarchate
February 1st, 1871
The following excerpt is from a friendly letter describing some incidents which recently took place in Voden involving patriotic Bulgarians and Bulgarian Graecomanes, when the former attempted to introduce the Bulgarian language in one of the churches.
There are people who will inform you of what is happening in Voden at present. I shall only tell you about something I myself witnessed. Two days ago some Bulgarians decided to pray in their own language in one of the churches, but the Graecomanes attacked them and a violent clash followed. In the confu­sion the Graecomanes got hold of a Bulgarian woman called Ilitsa the Grocer, who was crying aloud: 'I was born Bulgarian and I will die Bulgarian.' They dragged her to the well-trough in the churchyard intending to wash her from her 'blasphemous words' as they considered them, but she continued to repeat them louder and louder until finally some of her brothers arrived and saved her. From another letter from the same town we take the following: 'Dear Brother, what can we do now when the local authorities are not able to understand the righteousness of our wishes and are very severe and harsh to us? It can be said that the local authorities respect the orders of the Greek bishops more than those of the government of His Majesty. To pray to God in our own language is forbidden and the church is always surrounded by Turkish zaptiehs to prevent any word in Bulgarian being said. Nevertheless, we don't despair and will never give up our lawful demands, because we know that the day will come when even the local authorities will understand the legitimacy of our desires and they will act in the same right way as the government of His Majesty, who was merciful towards the demands of our people in the glorious Firman which is as firm as the Balkan Mountains and not something temporal like what one of the Turkish high officials in Salonica said to some of our notables, trying to persuade them to submit to the Greek bishop.

В. „Македония", Цариград (Newspaper Makedonia), Constantinople, No. 5, February 1st, 1871; the original is in Bulgarian
A letter from Vassil Levski1 to the newspaper Svoboda2 concerning the necessity of liberating the Bulgarian lands:
(Moesia), Macedonia and Thrace

February 13th, 1871

Like an honest and free Bulgarian journalist, as it is evident frofn the publications in your newspaper Svoboda, you support without discrimination every nation that shows its desire to live in liberty.

We, the Bulgarians, were fortunate at last to have a newspaper, which freely gives the right to everyone to express the opinion of our people before the world. We too are human beings and we want to live as such: to be entirely free in our native land -- where Bulgarians live -• in Bulgaria, Thrace and Macedonia. Whatever the nationality of the people living in this paradise of ours, they will enjoy equal rights with the Bulgarians in everything. We shall have a banner bearing the words: 'Pure and holy republic'. We wish the same to our brothers: Serbs, Montenegrins, Romanians, etc., and they must not lag behind. It is time for a final effort to achieve what our brothers in France have fought and are still fighting for, i.e. for Young France, Young Russia, etc. At what price and at what losses? To have brother killing brother, father killing son or son killing father? Now is the time to prevent such a disaster! Why fight a second battle? It is easier now and it is possible with less sacrifices to rid ourselves from the repulsive and treacherous tyranny, a hundred times our in­ferior in everything. Its cannons and its rifles are in our hands. We need only some time, a few years, to be ready. But only after such a preparation, dear Mr. Karavelov,3 as I have already written in my letters with our brothers Marin /P. Loukanov/ and Ivan /Drassov/, with God's help, we will be able to destroy the corrupt and cowardly Turkish state and build a new lasting one in its place. To destroy, I say, this corrupt and lawless state, but not the people, not the women and children. If they will only submit to the above-mentioned sacred laws of humanity, they will enjoy equal rights with the Bulgarians.

Dear Editor, through your newspaper, or as you think best, we want to ask our brothers-Serbs: are they ready to lend us a helping hand against our common enemy some time, or not? Let them be sincere in their answer so that we can arrange our affairs, and they - theirs in a way to prevent much bloodshed. It is shameful for us to compare our strength with such blockheads as the Turks... When my enemy is more stupid than I, he will play into my hands.

We ask: now that we want to pursue the road to justice and liberty, who can stand in our way, unless he is not willing to lend at least his voice for the good cause? I think that nobody will dare to do it.

Justice should be done to every nation and even to every man who wants to live in honesty and liberty. And we, the Bulgarians, have been trying for a very long time to cry out to humanity and liberty. The everyday murders of our people, the conversion to Islam of our kidnapped children, the rape of our girls and women by the Turks, have been daily lamented by us with bloody tears before the consuls of the European countries. To our voice of despair there is no answer and no help coming, on the contrary - they assume the role of stern tutors towards us. Where then is their boasted education and humanity? And shall we complain to them and rely on their lies forever? No, instead of shed­ding tears, we are now casting bullets and our entire hope is in Providence and in our muscles. So we have come, Mr. Editor, to express through your newspaper, the opinion of the people before the whole word.

Димитър Т. Страшимиров., Васил Левски. Живот, дело, извори (Dimiter Т. Strashimirov Vassil Levski. Life.Work, Sources), vol. 1, Sources, Sofia, 1929, No. 107, pp. 209-211; the original is in Bulgarian

1 Vassil Levski (1837-1873), ideologist and organizer of the Bulgarian national revolution. Together with L. Karavelov, he founded the Bulgarian Revolutionary Central Committee (BRCC)
2  Organ of the BRCC, published by L. Karavelov
3 Lyuben Karavelov (ca. 1834-1879), born in the town of Koprivshtitsa, revolutionary democrat, one of the ideologists of the Bulgarian revolutionary movement, chairman of the BRCC.
A letter from the Bulgarian commune in Strumitsa to Stefan Verkovic, Seres,
asking for funds in order
to build a school

February 22nd, 1871

With the present letter, we wish to complain to Your Worship of the plight of our Bulgarian school in our town, which is badly suffering, and is on the point of expiring. This illness has not been caused by any negligence on our part, but by a terrible conflagration which has exhausted all our strength and has rendered us incapable of re-building our school. Furthermore, our expenses are high and we have no sources from which to draw further strength. Consequently, as we have no choice and as we do not know what to do, we're turning to our dear fellow-Slavs whom we implore to be charitable to our school; their charity will cure our school which is cruelly suffering. We humbly ask Your Worship to make some efforts for the benefit of our suffering school. We shall never forget your kindness to our homeland.

Since now merchants who are our brothers in race, have come to Seres from different places for the fair, among whom, no doubt, there are many kind-hearted and excellent patriots, be so kind as to acquaint them with the poverty in which the conflagration has left us. Since our school is in a sorry state, please request their aid for the sake of our school, for which we and our children shall be eternally grateful to them. With the same end in view we have also written to the P. Shoulev brothers, whom we also greet through you.

Relying on your patriotic sentiments, we remain.

БАН, НА, ф. 14, on. 1, a.e. 290, л. 1; Документи за Българското възраждане от архивата на Стефан И. Веркович, Съст. и подг. за печ. Д. Велева и Т. Вълов, под ред. и с предг. чл. кор. Хр. Христов (Documents of the Bulgarian Revival Period from the Archives of Stefan Verkovic. Compiled and prepared for publishing by D. Veleva and T. Vulov, edited and prefaced by H. Hristov, Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences); the original is in Bulgarian
The organ of the revolutionary organization, the newspaper Svoboda,
calls upon the Bulgarians to hold a memorial service for the brothers Miladinov

March 13th, 1871
In   memoriam
Among the first Bulgarian martyrs, who gave their lives for the Bulgarian people and its liberty, were the brothers Dimiter and Konstantin Miladinov. The two brothers were imprisoned because they taught their people to love their na­tion and advised the people to drive out the Greek clergy and to demand from the Sultan an independent Bulgarian Church. The Miladinov brothers were born in Strouga, Macedonia, and, like our first apostles Cyril and Methodius, they taught our brothers, the Macedonian Bulgarians, to love and respect their nationality and faith. The Miladinov brothers fell victims to the Phanariots. On March 25th, /1862/ they were poisoned in one of the dungeons of Constantino­ple. We call upon the Bulgarian patriots to hold a memorial service on Annun­ciation Day for these holy Martyrs.

В. „Свобода", Букурещ, (Newspaper Svoboda), Bucharest, No. 11, March 13th, 1871; the original is in Bulgarian
A report about the Church Assembly in Constantinople published in the newspaper Jedinstvo
May 7th, 1871
Constantinople, May 7th. We consider that it will be of interest to your readers to tell them the names of those Bulgarian representatives who came together after 450 years, on March 15th, 1871 in the capital of the former Byzantine glory and splendour, to discuss in a fraternal atmosphere the affairs of their Church, which about ten years ago was in danger of falling under the domination of the Phanariots and is still suffering from them everywhere in the wretched Macedonian lands.
The representatives, whose names will be given below, will probably appear to your readers to be very few in number, if we take into account the statistics concerning the Bulgarian people. This is indeed so, but it is not at all surprising, because among the numerous assembly, our brothers the Bulgarian representatives - appointed only 32 from among the best, and, in order to prevent additional expenses, authorized each of them to represent 3 or 5 communes. All of them are loyal to our cause, some of them having already distinguished themselves in the field of letters, others as teachers and there are even those who have done much to drive out the Phanariots. I shall tell you the names of all except the royal commissioners and the bishops: the representative of the bishopric of Ohrid - Manoilo Kyurkchi, Bitola - Todor Kouev, of Veles - Konstantine Shoulev; of Skopje - Priest Georgi and Stoyan Kostov; of Strumitsa - Priest Todor and Konstantine Pop Goutov; of Voden - Georgi Gogov; of Nevrokop - Kosta Sarafov; of Kyustendil - Dimiter Angelov and Priest Apostol; of Samokov - Hristo; of Sofia - Hadji Mano and Hristo Stoyanov; of Nis - archimandrite Victor; of Pirot and Nishava - Kosta Daskalov; of Vidin - Nikola Purvanov; of Vratsa - Nikola Zankinov; of Lovech - Miro Pavlov; of Turnovo - Peter Angelov, Kuncho Kesarov, N. Mihailovsky and H.Savov; of Rousse - Priest Peter Arnaoudov; of Silistra -Dimiter Todorov and Sava Dobroplodni; of Varna - H. Ivanov; of Preslav -Velichko H. Savov; of Sliven - Chintoulov and Stefan Stefanov from Bourgas; of Edirne - Yakov Gerov; of Plovdiv - Georgi Grouev and M. D. Balabanov.

В. „Jединство", Белград (Newspaper Jedinstvo), Belgrade, No. 102, May 19th, 1871; the original is in Serbo-Croat
Petition from the notables of the village of Berovo
to join the Exarchate and to join the bishopric of Kyustendil
June 1st, 1871
Dear   patriotic   members   of the  municipality   of  Kyustendil,   your honourable representative Mr. Dimiter Angelov in his letter to our com explains that the people's Church Assembly1 decided to improve the order in the bishoprics by merging neighbouring small communes with the larger ones in order to manage their church affairs better, and we consider this an opportune moment for achieving our long desired aim to join your Kyustendil bishopric. But in order to do this it is necessary to send a petition to the Assembly and we preferred to inform you in advance by a telegram. For this reason we beg you to be so kind as to send a telegram to the Respected People's Assembly in Constantinople, saying that it is our desire to join the diocese of Kyustendil and that in a few days’ time they will receive our petition for which favour we shall be greatly obliged to you. Sending you our best wishes and deep respect we remain yours for ever. Your brothers:
June 1st 1871
P. Atanas P. hadji                    Kostadin Dvoyakovitsi
P. Mihail P. Georgi                  Dimitri Kostov
D. P. Georgiev                        Alexia Popov
Petre Nikola                            Nikola Trenev
Dimitri Risto

НБКМ, БИА, IIA, 570; the original is in Bulgarian
1 The Church Assembly took place after the establishment of the Exarchate on the 23rd of February 1871 in order to work out the statute of the Exarchate
Information about the number of the counties and villages in the Macedonian dioceses
acquiring the right to join the Bulgarian
Exarchate after a plebiscite

October 3rd, 1871

Courrier d'Orient1 makes a general survey of the Bulgarian dioceses which the Patriarchate considers Greek and which are not mentioned in the Firman but have the right to join the Exarchate whenever their inhabitants desire it. We have taken from this newspaper what follows below:

Skopje. This diocese consists of 4 districts with 462 villages, all of them Bulgarian.

Debur. Two districts, 178 villages, of which 16 Albanian and all the rest -Bulgarian. The Bulgarian language is used in the churches of all the villages, both Bulgarian and Albanian.

Ohrid. Four districts, 206 villages, all Bulgarian except 6 Wallachian and one with mixed population.

Pelagonia. The diocese of Bitola has 2 districts with 206 villages, all of them Bulgarian except 3 Wallachian. The principal town is of mixed population.

The Greeks have spread the rumour that the Bulgarians in Bitola have made their peace with their bishop, this is a false report based on intrigues.

Moglena. Three districts with 130 Bulgarian villages.

Strumitsa.    Three districts with 178 villages, all of them Bulgarian.

Kastoria. 304 Bulgarian villages and 16 Wallachian.

Polyana. Three districts with 105 villages - all of them Bulgarian.

Drama. Three districts. The population of the district of Nevrokop is en­tirely Bulgarian; the citizens of Drama and of two other counties are of mixed origin, predominantly Bulgarian.

Melnik. Three districts; all villages are Bulgarian, only the town has mixed population.

Voden. Two districts with 80 villages - all of them Bulgarian.

Edirne. We spoke about it in the previous issues of our newspaper.

В. „Турция", Цариград (Newspaper Turtsia) Constantinople, No. 37, October 30th, 1871; the original is in Bulgarian

1 Le Courrier d'Orient a newspaper which came out in Constantinople in French
The Bulgarian commune in Kroushevo, to Stefan Verkovic, Seres,
about the collection of aid for the church,
damaged by a fire

February 21st, 1872
We offer your Patriotic Worship our deepest gratitude for your recommendation to the Veles commune of two of our villagers, sent from our village to collect donations for our burnt-down church, of which, no doubt, you will be a special donor, and with the present letter we venture to ask you again to be kind enough to recommend with a special letter to the Plovdiv municipali­ty and other friends of yours there Mr Hadji Tasyu h. Hristov and Atanas Zahariev to collect donations for our church, explaining the great misfortune that has befallen our village, and that we strongly adhere to the Bulgarian nationality. You know that we have also signed a written application for the uni­fication of our commune with our national Exarchy and, if need be, we are again ready to act for our liberation from the Phanariots.
Hoping that you will again respect our request on the above-mentioned suggestion, we remain with the greatest of gratitude and sincerity.

БАН, НА, ф. 14, on. 1, a.e. 289, л.2; Документи за Българското възраждане от архивата на Стефан И, Веркович. Съст. и подг. за печ. Д. Велева и Т. Вълов, под ред. и с предг. чл. кор. Хр. Христов (Documents of the Bulgarian National Revival from the Archive of Stefan Verkovic. Compiled and prep, for publ. by D. Veleva and T. Vulov; edited and prefaced by H. Hristov, Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences), Sofia, 1969, p. 491; the original is in Bulgarian
A letter from Stefan Verkovic (Seres) to the Serbian government about the intention of the Bulgarian Revolutionary Central Committee (BRCC)
 to set up revolutionary
committees in Macedonia

March 21st, 1872

There is a possibility of my getting in contact with the secret Bulgarian Committee. I hope to achieve this through a certain Dimiter Petrov, an excellent merchant of Sofia. He was born in Nevrokop but for the last twelve years his permanent residence is Sofia. He has come here especially to meet me. He assured me that the above-mentioned committee has established wide con­tacts both south and north of the Balkan Range, but, as far as Macedonia was concerned, it had so far not been able to find a suitable person to entrust with its affairs. Since they needed such a person very much and after long con­siderations, they came to the conclusion that there was not a better person than I. I accepted the proposal with readiness, saying that I would do my best to satisfy the committee.

The same man showed me 2 revolutionary documents a brochure and a letter, at the bottom of which there was a seal with a lion and around it the in­scription 'Bulgaria, Provisional Revolutionary Government'. It is intended to be sent to different people for the collection of money .There are threats in it against all who do not comply with its demands, or dare take the said letter to the Turkish officials; the brochure, on the other hand, explains how to act in order to achieve the desired aim. The brochure is written entirely in your spirit. I asked him to give me the said documents but he gave me only the brochure and kept the letter, saying that he needed it.

To my question as to when the work would begin, he answered that he hoped it would be soon, but without first securing the consent of Russia and without the agreement of Serbia and Montenegro, there would be nothing. He said that the mountainous area between Rila and the Rhodope mountains had been appointed as centre of military operations. This was due to its natural in­accessibility, which, with further strengthening, should become impregnable. For this reason, it was necessary to begin the transportation and storing of food supplies and ammunition in deep secret gorges of the said region, so that they could stand a long siege by the Turks, if the latter managed to surround them completely, and cut off all communications with the central forces of the revolt. He mentioned also that, after Easter, a man from the committee1 would come to inspect the mountainous region, and especially Pirin Mountain and others. So he asked me to assist him with advice to ensure the fulfilment of his mission. I assured him that I would do my best to help him to succeed in his mission, which concerns us all. The person in question had fought for a long time under the command of Garibaldi and this makes me suspect that he may be trying to test my loyalty.

Архив Историског института, САНУ, Збирка Jована Ристиhа, инв. бр. 26/491, сигн. XXVI/7; (Archive of the Historical Institute, Collection of Jovan Ristic); срв. Ана Райкова. Документи за националноосвободителното движение в Македония през 70-те години на XIX в. Исторически преглед; (See Ana Raykova, Documents on the national liberation movement in Macedonia in the seventies of the 19th c., Bulgarian review, Istoricheski Pregled), Sofia, 1968, vol. I, pp. 133-135; the original is in Servo-Croat.

Reference to Dimiter Obshti (1835-1873) born in Dyakovo, district of Skopje, one of Levski's assistants
In a report to the newspaper Makedonia the population of the village of Bobishta, Kostour district,
its happiness at the election of the Exarch and declares that it recognizes the Bulgarian Exarchate

May 24th, 1872
The undersigned members of the village of Bobishta, in the district of Kostour, want to congratulate you on your ascension to the throne of the Bulgarian Patriarchate which up till now had been suppressed, and to express our great and indescribable joy at God's mercy in providing us with a shepherd, who will tend us and protect us from wolves. Your Holiness! Our village, not knowing what to do, took its fate into its hands and solved our problem in its own way; relying on Art. 10 of the firman, which says that every village has the right to choose its church; we refused to pay tribute to Phanar and the name of its bishop was omitted from the holy service on September 14th last year. So, joining our Bulgarian brothers, we recognized from that day the supremacy of the high church authorities of the Bulgarian Exarchate in Constantinople for which purpose we sent notice to the newspaper Makedonia, but whether it was published or not we do not know because here in the villages of Zagorichane, Blatsa and Bobishta where it is most necessary (because we have Bulgaria teachers and schools) to receive some of our patriotic publications - rarely any newspaper reaches us. The regular post for these places are the merchants wh< go to Constantinople and other towns only four times during the year. Otherwise the arrival of anything coming from other places is seldom safe. Because, now that our diocese together with the other Bulgarian dioceses is no longer under his jurisdiction, the Phanariot bishop here is constantly on the alert to catch us in a trap, all the more now that we have begun building a new Bulgarian school without his permission. He is constantly boasting and threatening us, saying that we shall never be able to finish it. For this reason we are awaiting permission from Your Holiness and, if necessary from the Govern­ment, because otherwise we shall be the most miserable of all Bulgarians. We had great expectations at the establishment and the recognition of the Bulgarian Exarchate/ but what have we seen so far? Being still without patriotic teachers and priests in the village, without national spirit and development after the final and fortunate solution of the Bulgarian problem, we found ourselves at once without an Exarch, without a bishop and without protection, exposed to the bitter attacks and whims of the Phanariots. It is true that we are making a se­cond attempt to solve this problem but, being still very ignorant, God only knows how many more misfortunes will befall us, if your holy right hand is not stretched to protect us from the awful claws of the Phanariots.
Forgive for the liberty we have taken, though we have the honour of calling ourselves the servants of Your Holiness
From the members of the parish board on behalf of the whole village. (Follow signatures and the seal of the village)

В.  „Македония", Цариград (Newspaper Makedonia), Constantinople, No. 12,  June 13th, 1872; the original is in Bulgarian
A letter from the Greek Metropolitan of Seres, Neophyte, to Neophyte of Derkos, informing of the great number of Bulgarians i
n the diocese of Seres and of the danger they represent to the town of Seres

October 13th, 1872

I was filled with joy beyond description on hearing the news that Your Grace was already a member of the holy Synod. And because I know well both your inborn and acquired qualities, and your patriotic feelings which are a credit to you I am firmly convinced that you will contribute a great deal to the improvement of our national and church affairs which are in a very pitiful state at present. This is the reason why I write to your Grace, with fraternal sincerity to express my complaints.

You probably know that two fifths of the population of this diocese are Bulgarophones. Six months ago the panslavonic propaganda there sent a Bulgarian teacher here. After my resolute opposition to his gathering any pupils» he, being in utter despair, dared slander me in a newspaper report sent from Seres to the panslavonic organ Courrier d'Orient saying that I struck a bargain with Mr. Michael effendi and that we hired a Greek named Yanaki Djelep to kill him but that the latter, before committing the crime, had gone to a Turk named Bekir effendi and told him his intention, but the Turk had dis­suaded him. Immediately after I read this report in Courrier d'Orient I sum­moned the said Bekir effendi and took a testimony written and signed by him in which he declared that not only Yanaki Djelep had not said such things, but that he had not even heard of such a thing from anybody else. On this occasion I wrote to His Holiness the Patriarch of Constantinople to insist that offenders gave me satisfaction. But because I got no answer to my first letter, I wrote a second one to obtain permission to address the offenders directly and demand satisfaction, but unfortunately I have received no answer yet.

There is a quarter at the upper end of this town called Dolna Kamenitsa. Its inhabitants, although mostly Bulgarian-speaking, lately settled here, built a new Greek mutual-teaching school. And because they were not able to attend church at the monastery church of Gorna Kamenitsa, because it is small and is a long way from their quarter, they asked me to procure for them an Imperial firman to build a new church in their borough. This firman, after being granted, should have been sent directly to me by the Patriarchate, as I had asked, and I had even sent money for the рифове, but instead it was sent to the Abbot of the local monastery of the Holy Precursor. On learning this, the inhabitants of Dolna Kamenitsa grew very angry with me, because they considered it as an offence on my part. After many flatteries I managed to persuade them at last that I would get the firman from the Abbot and hand it to them. Although I wrote officially to the church 15 days ago explaining that it was necessary for the Abbot to give me the firman, and although the people of the said quarter also sent a telegram to the same effect, there was no answer to my letter or to their telegram. Taking advantage of this situation the members of the pan­slavonic propaganda promised them not only to procure a firman within 15 days, but even to build a church for them at the expense of their organization. Today members of the said quarter came again and informed me officially that they had no need of my firman, nor did they recognize the bishopric any more.

Moreover, they asked me to give them back the money they had given me for their firman. After begging them with tears in my eyes for about 3 hours, I persuaded them to wait just a few more days, but I am not sure whether they will keep their promise. So, on top of all the sorrows and troubles I have to en­dure from the Bulgarian-speaking villages, which are in a complete turmoil at present, owing to the panslavonic propaganda after the announcement of the schism, I now have to cope with this unpleasantness in the town itself, which is the centre not only of this diocese but of seven neighbouring districts as well.

As for the local monastery mentioned above, I have already informed the church that it is the stronghold of panslavonic propaganda here, but my war­nings remained unheard. And I inform you for the last time that if the church does not take the necessary measures to curb the activities of this monastery, our people will not only lose an ancient and very rich monastery, but it will spread the contamination to all the settlements here, owing to the close connec­tions of the monks with the local population. For a proof of this, you may ask for further information from the bishop of Drama, who narrowly escaped fall­ing victim to his ardent zeal last Sunday.

I implore Your Grace, after reading my letter, confidentially to inform His Holiness about its contents, because, so far, I have managed to thwart the plans of the local panslavonic propaganda but in the future I beg the Church to take my letters seriously into account and give me the necessary support.

Hoping to receive a favourable answer from you, and, after inquiring about your precious health, I remain the youngest brother of your Grace in the name of Jesus Christ, and ready to execute your orders.

Йорд. поп Георгиев и Ст. Н. Шишков, Българите в Серското поле (Yordan Pop Georgiev and St. N. Shishkov. The Bulgarians in the valley of Seres) 2nd ed., Plovdiv, 1958, pp. 6-7; the original is in Greek
A letter from Stefan Verkovic in Seres to the Serbian government
concerning the preparations for an uprising in the area between the mountains of Pirin and Dospat

and the desire of the Bulgarians in the region of Nevrokop and Melnik to join the Bulgarian Exarchate
September 12th, 1872

At the beginning of spring this year, during the visit of the last caravan here I informed you that I met a merchant from Sofia, who is in contact with the members of the Bulgarian Secret Committee. He told me that he had not been able to get in touch with the people in Macedonia. Recently, after much discussion as to the people they could confide in, he and some other people said that they were not able to find a better man than I in whom they could have full confidence, without doubts and fears, because they had heard many people praise my principles and honesty, which could satisfy even the most scrupulous patriot, because they were founded on a firm basis and on strict justice. So he had been ordered to find me and entrust me with his confidence. I told the said man that I would try to justify their confidence, which they had expressed in so wonderful a way, and that my faith was stronger than stone. To which he answered that a person1 who had fought under Garibaldi had been appointed by the Committee to come here and inspect the locality and the passes in Pirin and the other mountains. He informed me further that the mountainous area between the mountains Dospat and Rila where the district of Razlog is situated had been appointed as the central base of the uprising because this region was surrounded by mountains, where, he told me, for a very long time the transpor­tation and storing of all necessary stores for the said purpose had been going on: ammunition, wheat, cheese, butter and other provisions. Similar things in similar quantities would be stored in the secret gorges of the same region, so that if communications were cut off and no supplies could come, these resources would enable them to endure a longer siege. To my question as to when he thought the actions would begin, he answered that he did not know exactly, but he hoped the time would not be long in coming and that since everything was being done on the suggestion of Russia, nothing would be undertaken without her explicit consent.

The person he mentioned has not come yet. The same merchant came here again on business a few days ago and told me that the reason for his not coming was as follows: after his return the same merchant met the said person and told him all about me. To this, the man told him not to confide in me because he had just learned from a most reliable source that I was the worst enemy of the Bulgarians and the sole reason for my being in Seres was to lead and direct the Serbian propaganda, with the sole object of persuading the Macedonian Bulgarians to change their present Bulgarian language for the Ser­bian language. I was very much surprised to hear such a black intrigue and most solemnly declared that I had not even dreamed of such vile and villainous actions and intentions, at the very idea of which my soul recoils as at the name of Hell, because, if it were so, this would benefit only the enemies of the Slavs, who are constantly praying: ‘Do not unite the Giaours, oh Lord!’ - And I said that I was all for Slav solidarity and that time only would show how unjust these slanders were. The merchant told me that he had spoken to the same effect concerning my loyalty but that he had not been able to convince them. As to the said person, the merchant informed me that, from time to time, under the guise of carrying on business, this person travelled from the Danube to Kyustendil, where he stayed till June the 1st. Then he departed for Romania to attend the general meeting of the Committee due to take place in June.

The local pasha went to Constantinople 20 days ago and has not returned yet. His fanatical support of the Graecomane interests is due to his inveterate hatred of the Bulgarians as Slav people. He does everything to prevent the Bulgarians here from preparing and sending a petition expressing their desire to join the Bulgarian Exarchate. The districts of Nevrokop and Melnik have managed to send their petitions for the third time, but to this bishopric belong also the districts of Demir Hissar and Petrich, so that, if they want to succeed, petitions from the two latter districts must be also sent to Constantinople. The district of Petrich has managed to ensure seals, and the person entrusted with the sending of the petition from this town by post has gone to the village of Chereshnitsa in the district of Demir Hissar where he had been told that the Demir Hissar petition was, in order to take it and then send both petitions to the proper destination. But the spies of the Graecomanes heard about that and bribed the Governor of Melnik to arrest the man and take away the petitions, for the possession of which the bishop had promised 50 gold pieces. The Governor sent 2 zaptiehs to the village, to arrest the man from Petrich. But luckily, the petitions had been left with the village priest, who, that same night, managed to send them to Nevrokop and then to Constantinople. When the man from Petrich arrived in Melnik the Governor swore at him and threatened him with prison if he did not give him the petitions, but the man explained that they were not with him, but had been sent by another person to Seres, from where the post was to take them to Constantinople. After keeping him in prison for one day, the Governor released him and ordered him to go to the pasha and bring a letter from him certifying that they had the right to make petitions and told him that if he failed to bring such a letter, he would be imprisoned for three months for causing disturbances among the population. The man has been waiting here for the letter for five days and he says he will wait until he receives it, because, if he returns without the letter, he will be put in prison immediately and God only knows how long he will remain there.

Ten days ago, the Bulgarian community here received a letter from the Exarchate informing them that, in answer to their demand, the Chief Justice has sent telegrams to all local magistrates here forbidding any coercion on those Bulgarians who are unwilling to recognize the authority of the Greek bishop.

Архив Историског института, САНУ, Збирка Joвaнa Ристиhа,инв. бр. 26/491, сигн. XXVI/7; (Archive of the Historical Institute, Collection of Jovan Ristic); срв. Ана Райкова. Документи за националноосвободителното движение в Македо­ния през 70-те години на XIX в. Исторически преглед. (See Ana Raykova, Documents on the national liberation movement in Macedonia in the seventies of the 19th c., Bulgarian review Istoricheski Pregled), Sofia, 1968, vol. I, pp. 133 -135; the original is in Serbo-Croat

Reference to Dimiter Obshti
A letter from the Church Board of Trustees in the village of Plevnya, Drama district, to Jeremiah,
Abbot of the Monastery
of St St Peter and Paul, apologizing for having delayed Father Partenius of Razlog
December 10th, 1872

Your Holiness Father Abbot Jeremiah!

In the Monastery of St St Peter and Paul

Although we have been delayed, we have come kissing your hand to beg Your Reverence to excuse Father Partenius of Razlog, because, as you may have realized from our letters to the Pazardjik commune, we have kept His Reverence here for our own needs, to serve as our priest, because without him our village would have had no holy liturgy.

Hoping that Your Reverence will not take him to task for his absence from Your Monastery, but that you will appreciate his rendering us a great ser­vice, we greet you respectfully and remain faithfully yours.

НБКМ, БИА, IIA 3180; the original is in Bulgarian.
A paper presented by Stojan Novakovic1 and Milan Kujundjic
 to the Serbian Literary Society against Milos
Milojevic's fabrications
February 1st, 1873

In the foreword to these songs, on page 9, it says that the Serbs throughout the world are 11,750,000! Oh, these are nice figures if they were only true...

But Mr. Milojevic is in general distinguished for knowing everything to be just the opposite of what the whole world knows it to be...

Open 'Itinerary of Real Old Serbia', part I, and you will find (page 31) that Samokov is a Serbian border town...

From the ethnography of these folk-songs which we mentioned before, it is obvious that there scarcely are any Bulgarians on the Balkan Peninsula...

It seems as though Milojevic is satisfied with that without trying to penetrate deeper, and there are even passages where he denies the fact that the Bulgarians are Slavs and sends them to join the Mongols...

This is utterly unbrotherly and unpolitic behaviour towards the nation nearest to us to the East. As if it were not enough, that this kind of attitude as well as the policy of aggression brought us under Turkish yoke during the Mid­dle Ages, we are trying to revive the old evil through such behaviour towards the Bulgarians. It is our duty to eject from our literature every similar ignoble action.

... In other respects Milojevic's method of arguing in favour of the Serbs and against the Bulgarians is so shallow and fallible that it can equally well be used by the Bulgarians against the Serbs. The way he proves that the peculiarities of the Bulgarian language are Serbian can be quite safely used by the Bulgarians to prove similarly that there is no Serbian language at all, but that we here, in Belgrade, write in Bulgarian...

Гласник српског ученог друштва, кн. XXXVIII (Journal of the Serbian scientific society), Belgrade, 1873, pp. 331, 334, 342, 346, 347, 348; the original is in Serbian

1 Stojan Novakovic (1842 - 1915), an eminent Serbian scholar, who at first held correct scholarly positions, ridiculing the chauvinistic pretentions of Milos Milojevic as regards the Bulgarian people, but later became the first ideologist of 'Macedonism'
From the speech of Z. Petrova, schoolmistress in Veles,
delivered as a message of welcome to the Bulgarian
bishop Damaskin
April 1st, 1873

Great is the joy of all present here in this sacred place - the school! Yes! It is really great! At this bright, solemn and long awaited moment when the people are full of joy and their joy is vividly expressed on their faces, this joy encourages me, too, to meet Your Grace and greet you with this short speech welcome!

But today our joy is not only ours, this spiritual festivity is not enjoyed by a few compatriots only, but by millions of Bulgarians. The Bulgarian people living in the land from the White Danube to the Aegean Sea, and from the Black Sea to the boundless lands in the vast Ottoman Empire, know and rejoice at the present solemn reception of our spiritual father the Right Reverend Mr. Damaskin.

It is true, brothers! The present generation is fortunate because many before went to Heaven and cannot witness this sublime moment for our people while we are alive and are able to see the realization of our dear dream in­dependent Bulgarian Exarchate with its full hierarchy. Let us always thank our Lord Jesus Christ, because he delivered us from the detestable yoke of the Phanariots, showed us the right way to achieve the independence of our Church.

This day is memorable for us because, after the long night which covered us with darkness, it is only now that there are some faint glimpses of light above us. This day, I say, will remain in the history of our people, because after the long period during which we were as nothing, we are at last celebrating a vic­tory of our people. For this reason, this is the most appropriate moment to say a word or two about ourselves what we were, what we are, and what we can be if we take advantage of the experiences of the past.

History teaches and tells us that at one time we were a glorious people! After that many circumstances, but most of all the malicious Phanariots, in­flicted heavy and deep wounds upon us. The Phanariot bishops used all possi­ble means just to prevent the slightest progress on our part. And we, instead of being proud of our dear Bulgarian name, were ashamed of it, and in a word we sank into darkness and ignorance.

But today we can say, just as it is said in the Holy Writ about the prophet Daniel: 'In my simplicity I was saved from the mouth of the lion/ Our sincerity, honesty and justice saved us and helped us to see our way to progress. Having rid ourselves from our persecutors - the Greeks - forever, we can now enjoy hearing the Bulgarian language spoken in our churches. Everywhere there are Bulgarian schools and our youth is taught to respect our people and to sacrifice everything for its interests. Schools for girls were established where our maidens are taught to become educated mothers, able to bring up their children as true sons and daughters of Bulgaria, and other sacred establishments. Final­ly our mother - the Exarchate, provides each bishopric as soon as possible with a spiritual shepherd who knows the voice of his flock, thus enabling the people to come freely together, like children of one mother to their holy father, and reflect and consider how best to ensure the future of their country, and with what seriousness to start working for the enlightenment and the education of the people.

From this it follows that the bright light of the dawn has reached us, too, promising us a splendid day and even a more splendid evening. The Phanariots are sad and sorrowful, but we are happy and full of indescribable joy.

We have achieved all our rights solely by means of the constant perseverence and unity of all the people; it is this which has preserved us from the corrupt rule and abuse of power by alien clergy. Many attempted to drive us away from this road to salvation, but the Bulgarians pursued their way with a boldness that surprised the world; that is why we must follow the same road in the future and look forward to a greater advance. Therefore, let us throw ourselves into energetic work for our education and then nobody will be able to say that we are stupid and incapable of having our own Church, or that we are not even Orthodox Christians, but 'schismatics', as the treacherous Phanariots call us. Knowledge and only knowledge tells us and will tell us how to avoid the deceitful persuasions of our restless enemies, who desire to divert us from the true way.

This is the moment, brothers! This is the time when, provided with a proper shepherd by the Exarchate, our diocese will be led by him, as I said before, to our bright future. His Grace, as a Bulgarian, will be always close to our hearts and will work for the good and the success of his brother Bulgarians.

В. „Право", Цариград (Newspaper Pravo), Constantinople, No. 9, May 14th, 1873 (supplement); the original is in Bulgarian
The society Vuzrozhdenie (Revival) in Salonica appeals to the Bulgarian communes
and public library clubs to assist the people of Salonica to build a Bulgarian school and a church
May 1st, 1873

You know that for the last 3 or 4 years there has been a Bulgarian school in our town, where the Bulgarian children of both sexes are being educated free of charge. But since our commune has not a single place suitable for this pur­pose, the school moves from one place to another, in rented houses and was even sometimes closed. This irregular situation compelled Bulgarian children to go to Greek schools to their own disadvantage and to the disadvantage of our nation. It is superfluous to say that this state of affairs is the source of the weakness of our nationality here and a very bad advertisement for us ourselves. That is why the Bulgarian society Vuzrozhdenie in Salonica decided to elevate the spirit of the Bulgarians here by building a new church and a new school for our town, a matter of great importance not only for the advance of the Bulgarians in Salonica but in Macedonia as a whole.

Richer in feelings than in silver, we, the few members of Vuzrozhdenie, do not feel able to conduct a matter of such importance to the desired end, relying only on our poor resources: we kindly beg all our compatriots from outside to help us in this enterprise, the success of which, we repeat, depends entirely on their patriotism and generosity. We were already fortunate to receive the help of our brothers from Constantinople, and the Macedonian society was so kind as to provide us in these difficult circumstances with a teacher, who has been working here for a year and who was asked by the same society to work in the future, too. But the needs of Salonica in this respect are constantly increasing. Salonica stands in great need of a well-equipped school with at least 3 teachers, and one girls' school, also well provided with the necessary equipment for the education of the future Bulgarian mothers in Salonica, with at least 2 well qualified schoolmistresses. If we rely solely on our own resources we will not be able, neither have we the strength to help ourselves and to meet these urgent needs, on which the good of the Bulgarian population in the town depends. We need considerable funds, especially now that the principal branch of the Hellenic Sylogos is holding its sessions in Salonica and has at its disposal enor­mous funds both to advance the Great Idea of the superiority of the Greek nationality and to demonstrate the generosity of the Greek donators, including Hellenized Bulgarians.

We want to believe that our appeal will be well received in every Bulgarian heart. We think that the 11th of May is one of the most suitable days for every Bulgarian soul to express its gratitude and respect for the great benefactors of our people - the patrons of our church.

Thus, if Salonica which gave birth to the unforgettable first pillars of our Bulgarian church, and nourished the founders of the Slav alphabet, which brought the word of God to all Slav people, if their birth place, we repeat, is worthy to be embelished at the time of the second revival of our national church hierarchy (thanks to the merciful eye with which our august king and father - the Sultan - looks upon the Bulgarians) with a monument - erected in gratitude for their inestimable services to the people, through voluntary donations from all the sons of Bulgaria, it seems that there can be no better monument than a splendid Bulgarian church in which the word of God will sound in the language of St St Cyril and Methodius, and a public Bulgarian school (Alma Mater) - in their honour and with their name, a school, which will serve to spread the seeds of education among new generations in their native town. Here, the initiative for this sacred cause must come from our peo­ple, and we hope that soon their example will be followed by all our brother-Slavs, who are able to appreciate the holy mission of our first apostles and they will readily sacrifice in their name whatever they can as their Christian mite, thus contributing to the glory of their names and their memory in Salonica.

Fully confident that the respected communes and library clubs throughout our country will understand our desire and will join us in our endeavours (we are speaking of Salonica), we hope that they will popularize the contents of this appeal among our compatriots all over the country, explaining, whenever necessary, its exact significance, and will collect voluntary contributions for the altar of the two holy brothers in Salonica. With feelings sincere love, we stretch out a brotherly hand to all the members of the communes’ library clubs, and societies, to all people working in the field of our public education, and congratulate them on our national holiday - the 11th of May, the triumph of triumphs for the Bulgarian people, in particular, and the whole Slav world in general, we venture to sign our names as their collaborators.

For the Board of Trustees of the Vuzrozhdenie society in Salonica: Record-keeper: М. К. Boubotinov1

В. „Право", Цариград; (Newspaper Pravo), Constantinople, No. 8, May 7th, 1873 (supplement); the original is in Bulgarian

1 Mihail K. Boubotinov, born in Sofia, a participant in the revolutionary movement
A report from the school board in Skopje about the solemn welcome accorded to the Bulgarian bishop of Kyustendil, Ilarion,
who passed through the town on his way to his diocese

May 25th, 1873
With great joy I have to describe how, on the 20th of May this year, we heard that the Right Reverend Ilarion — bishop of Kyustendil, was arriving to our town. As we had no exact information, we had not gathered there to welcome him, but, the moment the news of his arrival spread throughout town, all the people crowded in the school yard to meet him, and His Grace had already approached the walls of the school. When the people saw him, they all rushed to kiss his holy hand (the pupils were not there, as they did not know the news yet), and His Grace, after getting out of his carriage, made the sign of the cross, and began to bless arid instruct the people, telling them to be loyal to the government, since it had given independence to our church. When the people heard the instructive words of their bishop, and saw his kind behaviour to everybody (so unlike the former Phanariots, who always said that they did not want such bagpipers and simpletons to approach them), there were tears in almost every eye and they began to ask: when will Dorotei come, the bishop appointed to our diocese, according to article 10 of the Firman, because if we die we shall keep our eyes open, eager to see our wishes fulfilled, and others answered: he will come soon, because his mercy - our Father and Lord Sultan Abdul Aziz - God grant him long life - will soon fulfil the desire of the people. After that we took him with great ceremony to the appointed room in the school. All who had heard about his arrival came to kiss his hand, then a luncheon followed, and after it the people asked him to hold a service for St St Constantine and Hellen, but His Grace refused to do so, because it was contrary to the Regulations. Then he mounted his horse and, attended by two bodyguards and 4 priests, went to visit the myutesarif, who received him with great honours. On his return, he paid several other visits and finally was received at the house of Mr Yovo Skarich Boshnyak, where he spent the night. In the morning, on St St Constantine and Hellen's Day, accompanied by some notables from town, he visited the houses of several Bulgarian Graecomanes, and then he returned for lunch at the above-mentioned house. In the afternoon, accompanied by Mr. Yove K. Georgiev, he went by carriage to visit His Excellency Akif-Mehmed Pasha, on his estate, about an hour's ride from our town, where he was received with great honours. On their way to the Pasha, because there are no Greeks, and only a few Graecomanes here, they began to say: 'Oh, Thank God! We are free! He will go away!' After his return, he paid some more visits and all who met him on the road came to kiss his holy right hand, cap in hands and eyes widely opened. The above-mentioned people then said: 'Is he going to stay here, as he has come back?' In the evening, he was received at the house of Mr. Ikonomov, where he spent the night, and the people kept coming to kiss the holy hand of the bishop. In the meriting of the 22nd of May, he departed for his diocese through Veles, and was seen off with songs by all the pupils, and he was accompanied by horsemen as far as one hour's ride from the town, and such was the spectacle and the joy of the population, that pen cannot here describe it.
It is a pity, Mr. Editor, that sometimes false reports appear in the newspapers about such good-natured men and true shepherds of the people, like the Most Reverend Ilarion, who have suffered so much for our cause, and it is a pity that we do not appreciate their goodness.

В. „Право", Цариград (Newspaper Pravo), Constantinople, No. 20, July 30th, 1873 (supplement); the original is in Bulgarian

[Back]  [Index]  [Next]