Freedom or Death. The Life of Gotsé Delchev

Mercia MacDermott



From the peaks of Pirin Mountain

In despair a voice is calling.

Macedonia is weeping,

She is sobbing, she is cursing,

She is cursing all of Europe:

'Now accured and thrice accursed,

Thrice accursed be thou, Europe,

O, thou Babylonian harlot,

Murderer of Macedonia!'

    Folksong. 1898.


O, Russia, O dear sister,

Come thou to mine aid,

For I am perishing:

The English and the Germans,

The Italians and the French

Want me under Turkey.

    Folksong. 1878.


As time went by, other influences, coming from outside the family circle, began to play their part in shaping Gotsé's character and outlook on life. Among these influences were the cataclysmic political events which took place during the first decade of his life. Gotsé was, of course, too young to take part in them and, in any case, most of them occurred without the direct participation of the people of Kukush, but they would have been a constant topic of conversation during his formative years.


Kukush itself was still absorbed in religious struggles over the continued occupation of the main churches by the Uniat supporters, even after the population had voted by an overwhelming majority to join the Bulgarian Exarchate.Indeed, owing to the terms of the firman, religious problems continued to occupy the attention of the most patriotic and energetic sections of the population all over Macedonia long after such problems had ceased to exist in northern and eastern Bulgaria. There the struggle with the Greeks had been won long before the firman creating the Exarchate gave official recognition to the victory, and rebellious spirits were already directing their energies towards the revolutionary struggle against Turkish rule.


The first steps towards an organized movement for national liberation were taken by Georgi Rakovsky (1821-1867), who was born in Kotel, in the eastern Stara Planina (Balkan Range), and had studied in Constantinople and Athens. He conceived the idea of uniting the hitherto scattered haidut bands into a national army, and, taking





advantage of the political differences between Serbia and Turkey, he organized a Bulgarian Legion in Belgrade in 1862. Among the many patriots who responded to Rakovsky's call were the Macedonian haiduti Hristo Makedonsky, Manol Nakov, and the veteran voivoda [*] Ilyo Markov, better known as Dyado [**] Ilyo Maleshevsky, from the village of Berovo in the Maleshevo Mountains. In 1868 Hristo and Manol, together with at least thirteen other volunteers from Macedonia, joined the cheta [***] which crossed into Bulgaria from Rumania under the leadership of Hadzhi Dimitŭr and Stefan Karadzha and won undying glory in unequal battles with Turkish regulars.


The weakness of Rakovsky's plan, however, was that he organized his legions and armed bands outside Bulgaria, and was therefore dependent on the policies and goodwill of foreign govenments which constantly let him down. Moreover, he assumed that the people would immediately rise in support of an armed band that crossed into Bulgaria from Serbia or Romania, whereas, in practice, being unprepared, they remained passive.


These weaknesses were overcome by Vasil Levsky (1837-1873), who, from his own experiences in Rakovsky's bands and legions, had reached the conclusion that revolution could not be imported, but must be organized on the spot, on a long-term basis, with the participation of the majority of the people. From 1869 until the end of his life, Levsky toured the country setting up a network of secret committees in towns, villages, hamlets and monasteries, and welding them into a disciplined organization, with a Statute, an elected Central Committee, a secret police to spy on the Turks and to punish traitors, and a secret courier service to carry letters and instructions.


Levsky was, however, something more than a brilliant and tirelessly audacious organizer: he was the angel of the revolution, a figure of purity and light who so captured the imagination and love of the entire Bulgarian people that long after he had perished on the gallows, the magic of his personality and example continued to influence and inspire each new generation of fighters for freedom and justice.


Like all his contemporaries, Levsky regarded Macedonia as an integral part of his country: "We, too, are human beings,' he wrote in Lyuben Karavelov's newspaper Svoboda, 'and we want to live like human beings: to be completely free in our land, there where Bulgarians live - in Bulgaria, Thrace and Macedonia. Whatever nations may live in this our Paradise, they shall be equal with the Bulgarians in every respect.' [1]


There is ample evidence to show that Levsky and his comrades



*. Chieftain.


**. Grandfather


***. Armed band





were working to include all Macedonia in their organization, and, if in Levsky's lifetime the network of committees was not as dense there as it was in central Bulgaria, this was due to the outlying position of Macedonia and to Levsky's untimely death. It is, however, certain that Levsky himself visited Mehomia (Razlog), [*] and that he was in touch with revolutionaries in Veles, Ohrid and Kriva Palanka. It is also certain that he intended to visit Shtip, Ohrid, Skopje and Veles, and even possible that he actually did. There are some memoirs which suggest that Levsky visited Kukush and Krushovo, but reliable corroboration is lacking. From the secret reports of Stefan Verkovich to the Serbian Government, it is clear that two of Levsky's comrades [2] from the Sofia Revolutionary Committee were carrying out organizational work in the Serres, Voden (Edessa) and Razlog areas. One of Levsky's comrades, Dimitŭr Obshti, who was born in Macedonia and had fought with Garibaldi, had asked for a mandate to organize committees in Macedonia, but Levsky had refused because he did not consider Obshti suitable for the task, since he was inclined to be rash and undisciplined, and was, into the bargain, illiterate. [**] Another of Levsky's comrades, Todor Peev, visited Kriva Palanka, and possibly other towns and villages in northern Macedonia.


Thus, in spite of distance and the continued preoccupation with Church affairs, Macedonia was not isolated from the mainstream of the Bulgarian revolutionary movement. In most areas revolutionary activity was underway, albeit in a limited, rudimentary form, and Macedonian volunteers were taking part in every undertaking - legions, bands, etc. - organized by their brothers in Northern and Central Bulgaria.


After Levsky's death in 1873, efforts were made to repair the damage suffered by the organization, and a new Central Committee under the leadership of the poet Hristo Botev, continued the preparations for an armed uprising. Unfortunately, nobody except Levsky seems to have appreciated the immense amount of preparatory work necessary for a successful uprising, if one was planning to win and not merely to make a despairing demonstration of one's readiness to die rather than live in bondage. Levsky, who abhorred violence and bloodshed, had no use for such romantic demonstrations. He believed in thorough, methodical preparation, with no premature adventures, until the whole people was ready, both psychologically and materially, for a swift seizure of power at a time of their own choosing. No one



*. The town which today is called Razlog was then known as Mehomia, while the name Razloga was used for the whole valley in which it stands.


**. Not long after Levsky's refusal, Obshti's undisciplined behaviour enabled the Turks to arrest many members of the organization, and eventually Levsky himself was caught and executed.





else in the leadership had his patience and understanding, and, in September 1875, following the outbreak of an uprising in Bosnia and Herzegovina in June of the same year, there was an all-too-hastily organized uprising in the Stara Zagora district of Central Bulgaria. The rising ended abortively almost before it had started, but the enraged Turks arrested and hanged a number of people.


In spite of this failure, preparations began for a new armed uprising aimed at bringing the Bulgarian question to the attention of the Great Powers - Russia, Austro-Hungary and Germany, who were due to discuss the future of the Slav provinces of the Turkish Empire at a conference scheduled for May 1876. Time was short and it was out of the question to prepare the whole country for revolt. Efforts were therefore concentrated on four regions: Tŭrnovo, Sliven, Vratsa and Plovdiv-Panagyurishté. One of the men entrusted with preparation in the Tŭrnovo region was Georgi Izmirliev, a Macedonian Bulgarian from Gorna Dzhumaya (Blagoevgrad), who had been a cadet at the Military School in Odessa and had been persuaded by Hristo Botev to come and help. The Razlog area, where possibly most organizational work had been done, was regarded as part of the Fourth Revolutionary Region (Plovdiv and Panagyurishté), and a delegate from Razlog - Georgi Cholakov - was present at the secret meeting held in April 1876 at Oborishte' in the forests near Panagyurishté to agree upon the date of the rising and the final details. Immediately afterwards, a special emissary, Kuzman Poptomov, was sent to the Razlog area to inform the local revolutionaries of the decisions.


The rising began prematurely in Koprivshtitsa (Panagyurishté Region) on April 20 (May 2 new style) 1876, but because of inadequate preparation, faulty tactics, treachery and other reasons, it failed to achieve mass proportions except in the so-called Fourth Revolutionary Region, i.e. in the Panagyurishté and Rhodope areas. It began with the joyous expectation that only a people that has waited five centuries for such a moment can feel; it ended in defeat and in massacres that appalled the conscience of Europe. And yet the ashes, tears and blood were not altogether in vain, for, in the following year, 1877, Russia felt obliged to declare war on Turkey, and the sorrow of five hundred years again changed into joy as the exultant people waited to welcome their liberators with flowers and the traditional offering of bread and salt.


Rumours and reflections of all these rapidly changing events reached Macedonia from the north-east. A few days after the April Rising had broken out, Macedonian rebels under Dimitŭr PopGeorgiev Berovsky, a teacher, and Pop Stoyan, a village priest, succeeded in taking power in the village of Razlovtsi on the upper reaches of the Bregalnitsa River. After the initial success of driving





the Turks out of the village, Berovsky set out with a cheta (armed band) to rouse the surrounding countryside. This he was not able to do, because of the quick reaction of the Turks. The cheta was badly defeated in an encounter with Turkish troops and Berovsky himself was wounded. The survivors managed to escape into the Maleshevo Mountains, but no further action was possible, and the Turks wreaked vengeance upon the helpless villagers.


In Kukush, a group of very young revolutionaries had been formed in 1875 on the initiative of Ivan Hadzhinikolov, who was himself only fourteen. In his memoirs [3] he describes what led him to take such action: 'Having grown up in the charshiya, and moving around in it, I was able to appreciate the bad behaviour of the adult Turks, of the administrative and judicial clerks, as well as that of the Turkish tyrants, towards the Bulgarians, who often suffered without being guilty of anything. All th ese impressions accumulated in my memory and soul, and little by little there grew within me the idea of revolt against the Turkish oppressors, and when, during April 1875, I read in Zornitsa [*] that an uprising against the Turks had broken out in Bosnia and Herzegovina, I said to myself, much excited, "Ha! Now is the time for all Bulgarians to rise and, together with the rebel Bosnians and Herzegovinians, to kick the Turks out of the Balkan Peninsula".'


The boy pondered over what action should be taken and decided that it was necessary to form a revolutionary organization which would prepare the people for revolt. He confided in several of his friends, and, by the beginning of 1876, there were eight young conspirators in Kukush, plus four from nearby villages. Hadzhinikolov's plan was that each member should persuade two or three other people to join, and when the total number of conspirators reached three thousand, they should go secretly to Salonika and seize the main fortresses there. Hadzhinikolov notes, rather ruefully, that the eldest 'conspirator' - twenty-year-old Dimitŭr Zankov - was inclined to regard their plans with sceptical amusement, but nevertheless the group prepared a banner with the inscription 'Freedom or Death', and marched up and down with it, singing The wind echoes, the Balkan Range groans. [**]


Although Ivan Hadzhinikolov's plans appeared naivelv Utopian to everyone out of their teens or with any experience of the realities of life, there was no lack of interest in what was going on in the rest of the Balkan Peninsula. The people of Kukush and all Macedonia followed with bated breath the course of the April Rising and the



*. A Protestant paper, published in Bulgarian in Constantinople by the American Bible Society.


**. One of the popular revolutionary songs written by Dobri Chintulov, who was born in Sliven.





Serbo-Turkish War of 1876. Hope and exultation alternated with despair as news filtered through, first of the outbreak of the April Rising and of its bloody suppression, then of the outbreak of war between Turkey, on the one hand, and Serbia and Montenegro, on the other, followed by Serbian reverses. The people of Kukush even crticized the Russians - the beloved elder brothers of all the Slavs - that they did not come to the aid of their Balkan brethren.


Then came the International Conference held in Constantinople in 1876, at which Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Austro-Hungary and Turkey discussed the future of the Balkans, and at which it was agreed that the Bulgarian lands should receive autonomy in the form of two vilayets, each with a Christian governor appointed by Turkey with the agreement of the Great Powers. The Eastern Vilayet would have Tŭrnovo as its capital and would comprise the sanjaks of Tŭrnovo, Tulcha, Varna, Sliven and Plovdiv, while the Western Vilayet with Sofia as its capital would comprise the sanjak of Sofia, Vidin, Nish, Skopje, Bitolya (except for the two southern kazas) and part of the sanjak of Serres (the kazas of Melnik, Demir Hisar and Nevrokop) and the kazas of Tikvesh, Veles and Kastoria. [4] The division of the Bulgarian lands into two parts was intended by Great Britain to prevent undue Russian influence in the Balkans, but Russia accepted the proposals since she was confident that the two parts would soon reunite. Agreement on the form for an autonomous Bulgaria had hardly been reached when the Sultan - secretly urged by Britain - suddenly announced that the deliberations of the Conference were superfluous since he intended to introduce a new constitution giving equal rights and freedoms to all Turkish subjects.


The Conference aroused great interest among the people of Kukush, for it was their future that was being discussed. 'At the same time,' writes Ivan Hadzhinikolov, 'it began to be rumoured that Russia was preparing for war with Turkey, and we said to ourselves: "As soon as Russia declares war, it will be all up with Turkey". We were worried because the declaration of war was delayed. At last in April 1877, we heard that Russia had declared war on Turkey, and we felt relieved... All of us rejoiced at the Russian successes, because we were confident that we would be liberated from the Turks, but, when there were reverses, we were seized with despair and fear. Up to the time of the fall of Pleven, we spent a generally anxious time, with an admixture of hope. After Osman Pasha [5] had been captured, we felt reassured and rejoiced, and after the capture of Veisel Pasha, [6] and the fall of Adrianople without a battle, we were completely reassured and regarded liberation as certain. We began to prepare to welcome the Russian army... The news that peace had been signed at San Stefano convinced us that our liberation was absolutely certain;





only, we were worried by the fact that Macedonia still had not been occupied by Russian troops.'


On March 3 1878, at San Stefano - a pleasant little village on the Sea of Marmora - Turkey and Russia signed a treaty by which the Bulgarian lands gained autonomy with frontiers more or less correponding to those agreed upon by the International Conference, but with the important difference that, whereas the Conference had divided the Bulgarian lands into two provinces, they were now to form one large autonomous Princedom. Other provisions of the Treaty improved the positions of Serbia, Montenegro, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina.


The Treaty of San Stefano was greeted by the people of all the Bulgarian lands with a joy and a relief that cannot be described. 'On such occasions an otherwise rich vocabulary lacks words to describe the truth. Joy! Joy flooded the Prilep charshiya, the houses, the courtyards, the fountains and the rooftops... From there, too, the children shouted and waved their arms... The word "joy" is weak and somehow colourless. This was mad joy, madness... People embraced each other on the streets, kissed each other, sang and wept...' [7]


The last few years had been particularly unbearable. In 1871 the construction of the Salonika-Skopje railway line had begun, and, shortly after, work commenced on a second line, from Salonika to Bitolya. For several years the peasants living on either side of the track had been forced to work on the permanent way and to cart materials without payment of any kind. The rising in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the April Rising in Bulgaria, (including the events in Maleshevia), had created new difficulties for the Turks, who intensified the burden of taxation to pay for the additional expenditure. Feelings of spite against the Christian rebels had inflamed Muslim fanaticism to new excesses of cruelty. In the Bitolya area, for example, in 1876, villagers were hung head downwards in order to extort taxes from them, and, in some cases, when the menfolk made themselves scarce, the soldiers who accompanied the tax-collectors set out to look for them, riding pickaback upon their wretched wives. [8] All over Macedonia Turkish extortions and atrocities multiplied as the political and military crisis deepened.


Then San Stefano came like a glorious sunrise after the darkness and the nightmares that had been the daytime and the reality of the Bulgarian people for so many weary years. All the Bulgarian political prisoners in Constantinople were released from their dungeons, [9] and later sixty of them wrote to the Protestant newspaper Zornitsa, wishing to thank the English philanthropist, Lady Strangford, for giving them each a gold lira so that they could travel back to their homes. The Metropolitan Bishop of Sofia sent letters to all the





Bulgarian church communes, asking them to collect signatures for an address of gratitude to the Russian Tsar, the draft text of which he enclosed, together with a drawing of the cross which, it was proposed, should be presented to the Tsar as a gift.


On March 31 1878, some sixty representatives of church communes gathered in Adrianople, and, a few days later, they set out for San Stefano to seek an audience with the Grand Duke Nikolai, brother of the Tsar. The meeting took place with great solemnity on April 10. The Bulgarian delegation was headed by the Exarch and the Metropolitan Bishops of Ruse, Plovdiv, Sofia, Preslav, Sliven and Ohrid, and the Exarch made a speech thanking the Russian commander and his troops for their bravery and asking him to arrange for the address to be sent to his brother, the Tsar, in St Petersburg. [10] The address read as follows:


'The Bulgarian people are today entering upon a new life; they have gained the right to call themselves free; already they can openly and with full voice praise the name of Christ; they hope that from now on they can freely develop and, in time, enter the ranks of the enlightened peoples. For all this they have to thank you, Sire, and your whole people. It goes without saying that to you songs of praise will rise for ever from the peaks of the Balkan Range, from the valleys of Thrace and Macedonia, and from the banks of the Danube, the Maritsa, the Vardar and the Bulgarian Morava.


'According to an ancient Orthodox Slav custom for the establishment of brotherhood, the brothers exchange crosses. With their entry into our land, our Russian brothers have bestowed this sign of their brotherhood upon us. Permit us, Sire, in exchange for this holy «ross, to offer you and all your comrades who took part in our liberation the accompanying cross - a symbol of the triumph of light over darkness.' [11]


The Grand Duke Nikolai received the Bulgarians graciously; he thanked them and urged the Bishops to teach their flocks to live well with the Muslim population and to respect their lives, property and honour. Then a delegation of eight laymen and four clerics was chosen to take the address to St Petersburg. [12]


But the sun of San Stefano had barely risen above the horizon when the clouds began to gather. At first they were only as big as a man's hand, just nagging doubts and rumours; still there were no Russian troops in Macedonia, and the Turks and Phanariot Greeks were doing eveything possible to secure a revision of the Treaty. The Greek Syllogos (Association) in Constantinople, for example, even raised the Red Bogy in defence of their claim to Thrace and Macedonia. In an address to the foreign representatives in the Turkish capital, they wrote: 'The landed estate of Thrace and





Macedonia is owned by Greeks and Mussulmans. The Bulgarians are only labourers. To place these latter in the position of masters is to introduce the principles of Socialism and Communism; to deliver up the proprietor trained in the virtues of civilization into the hands of a labouring class, needy and uninstructed - in a word, it means pillage, devastation and ruin; and the Communism thus established in the East would constitute a menace for all Europe.' [13]


The machinations of the Greeks and Turks were particularly obvious in Macedonia, where both still preserved their ancient power, and on May 20 1878, representatives of Bulgarian communities in many areas of Macedonia met secretly in Salonika and composed an appeal to the Great Powers: 'The whole world already knows of the age-long sufferings and torments to which the defenceless Christians have been subjected under fanatical Turkish rule. It is also well-known that the hellish tortures which the peace-loving Bulgarian people have, of late, endured through the unparalleled barbarism of the Turks all over their paternal hearth in Moesia, Thrace and Macedonia, aroused general indignation in the civilized world and finally provoked the Russo-Turkish War, which recently ended with the conclusion in San Stefano of a Peace Treaty between the two warring sides.


'The whole Bulgarian people rejoiced when they saw that their wishes had been fulfilled and their needs satisfied, and we, all the Bulgarians in Macedonia, by virtue of the San Stefano Treaty, were impatiently awaiting our liberation from the Turkish barbarism which still rages over us. But instead of this, we see with great regret that the local authorities, on the one hand, and the Greek clergy, on the other, have extorted signatures by various means from some of our innocent brothers, in order to misuse them, by alleging before the Great Powers that we are Greeks and want only an improved status quo and not unification with the newly formed Bulgarian Principality. This unpunished mockery of our signatures, indeed, of our name and feeling, has deeply grieved us all, especially since a false declaration of this kind from the Macedonian Bulgarians may have been presented to Your Excellency.' The writers requested the Great Powers to send a commission to investigate on the spot and to assure themselves that their 'wishes and needs are common with and inseparable from those of our brother Bulgarians who inhabit Moesia and Thrace.' [14]


The appeal was signed by the representatives of the following organizations and was confirmed with their seals: the Veles Parish Council, the Strumitsa Church Commune, the Skopje Bulgarian Society, the Bulgarian Commune in Bitolya, the Prilep Bulgarian Commune, the Negotino Bulgarian Commune, the Gevgeli





Bulgarian Commune, the Kukush Bulgarian Commune, the Salonika Bulgarian Commune, the Vatash Commune, the Tetovo Bulgarian Commune, the Kumanovo Bulgarian Commune, the Serres-Melnik-Drama-Nevrokop Teachers' Society, the Petrich Kaza Council, the Nevrokop Bulgarian Commune, the Demir Hisar Kaza Council, the Shtip Bulgarian Commune, the Serres Bulgarian Church Council and the Drama Bulgarian Church Council.


It was not only the Turks and Phanariot Greeks who objected to the terms of San Stefano. The Great Powers of Europe could not stomach an increase of Russian influence in the Balkan Peninsula, and therefore could not accept the creation of a large Bulgarian State that would undoubtedly be friendly to Russia. As early as March 6 1878, Austro-Hungary, supported by Great Britain and Germany, proposed that a conference be called to review the Treaty, and Russia, exhausted by the recent war, was in no position to refuse. The Conference began on June 13 1878 in Berlin, under the chairmanship of Bismarck, with Benjamin Disraeli - Lord Beaconsfield - as Britain's representative. The Bulgarian people were not represented. Nobody was interested in their national feelings, their sufferings, their hopes and fears. Everything was subordinated to the ambitions of the Great Powers. Their approach to the Balkan problem was summed up in a letter from Disraeli to Lord Derby, Britain's Foreign Secretary, criticizing Lord Salisbury's policy at the Constantinople Conference in 1876: "Salisbury seems most prejudiced and not to be aware that his principal object in being sent to Constantinople is to keep the Russians out of Turkey, not to create an ideal existence for Turkish Christians.' [15]


In pursuit of this 'principal object', the Great Powers dismembered Bulgaria in a way that took account of neither ethnic nor economic considerations, and which ignored the events of the past few years. Only the territory north of the Stara Planina, together with the sanjak of Sofia, gained autonomy as a vassal principality. The area between the Stara Planina and the Rhodopes, i.e. the area which had suffered most in the massacres that had followed the April Rising, became an autonomous province of Turkey under the name of Eastern Rumelia, with a Christian Governor nominated by the Sultan, while Eastern and Aegean Thrace, and Macedonia were simply left under direct Turkish rule, with vague promises of reforms.


The motives for this dismemberment were entirely political, and at no point did any opponents of San Stefano, including Disraeli himself, argue that the Slavs of Thrace and Macedonia were anything other than Bulgarians, or that the Slavs formed anything other than the majority of the population. The only ethnic arguments advanced were that the western border proposed at San Stefano ran through Albanian





districts, and that the southern border ran through districts compactly populated by Greeks and Turks. [16] Few, however, paid much attention to the fate of the Albanians or Turks, and it was the future of the Greek population along the Aegean littoral [*] that aroused particular concern - real or assumed - among certain compatriots of Lord Byron.


It is very hard to understand, however, what benefit those who opposed San Stefano out of sympathy for the Greeks thought they were bestowing upon their proteges by returning them to the despotic rule of the Turks, who were alien to them both in race and religion. The complete illogicality of this step was pointed out in a petition signed by several thousand Bulgarians and presented to the French and British Ambassadors in Constantinople: 'The separation of Macedonia, a grievous injustice to the population, was decided upon under the pretext of protecting the Greek element against pretended absor ption into the Bulgarian. A more unj iId not have been imagined. It has been found expedient to abandon a million and a half Bulgarians to groan under the Turkish yoke in order to save from an imaginary absorption the Greeks of about a hundred villages, all situated on the south-eastern frontier of Macedonia. We believe that the measure does not even protect the true interests of the Greek minority. Encircled within the Principality, that minority would have enjoyed the benefit of a Constitutional Government, which would secure to them in common with all the other subjects of the country equal rights before the law, while under Turkish rule the Greeks are condemned to remain indefinitely mere despicable giaours. But if the guarantees which the Bulgarian system would afford to the Greeks for the preservation of their nationality had been deemed insufficient by the Congress of Berlin, it would have been easy to place those villages outside the frontiers of Bulgaria. [17]


The Daily News, too, rejected the argument that San Stefano should be revised for the sake of the Greek minority along the north Aegean littoral. Their correspondent in Constantinople wrote that the fron-



*. The towns along the Aegean littoral were inhabited by Greeks as were some towns in the interior of Macedonia. In every case, however, the surrounding countryside was inhabited principally by Bulgarians. It is difficult to gain exact statistical ethnic data, because the Turkish statistics were classified according to religion, not nation ality, so that Christians in dioceses with bishops owing allegiance to the Patriarch, as opposed to the Exarch, are all classified as 'Greeks'. The Greeks did the same, and even where the people were clearly Slavs, they referred to them as bulgarophone Greeks, i.e. Greeks who speak Bulgarian. However, the accounts of all neutral observers give an identical overall picture: a rural community that is predominantly Bulgarian and an urban population that is, in some cases Bulgarian, and in others mixed, with Bulgarian or Greek predominating according to the town


It should be borne in mind that the rural population then out-numbered the urban population by about four to one.





tiers of San Stefano would do little injustice to the Greeks and that the fact they inhabited a narrow strip along the Aegean coast was no reason why they should have all the sea ports. The correspondent considered that Bulgaria had a right to the Aegean coast since the port of Kavalla and the mouth of the Maritsa were natural outlets for south Bulgaria, and he commented that, unless Bulgaria was allowed to have an Aegean port, 'the great mass of the Bulgarians - five million - would be cut off from the sea to satisfy a few thousand Greeks.' [18] In a subsequent article, the correspondent wrote: 'Bulgarian is the language spoken all over Macedonia, except in the towns along the coast... Now the ethnographical frontier between the Greeks and Bulgarians will in the south bring us within a very few miles of the sea. It is, therefore, manifestly necessary for the new state of Bulgaria to go to the sea.' [19] Earlier the correspondent had argued that a 'Big Bulgaria' did not necessarily have to be under Russian influence, and that trade with England through the Aegean ports could contribute towards a lessening of that influence. [20]


But the rights of Slav and Greek alike counted for nothing in the eyes of the Great Imperial Powers gathered at Berlin. Austro-Hungary grabbed Bosnia and Herzegovina. Britain grabbed Cyprus, as an additional bastion on the road through Suez to India, and, so that Russia might not come between the metropolitan country and the 'brightest jewel' in Victoria's crown, Bulgaria had to be torn apart and sacrificed to the Moloch of Imperialism.


Referring to Disraeli's speech at Guildhall, the Daily News commented: 'To do him justice, he never even professed to care what became of the populations of the Sultan's province, so long as the Sultan's power was upheld.' [21]


And as for Disraeli's famous catchphrase 'Peace with Honour' - was there ever so inaccurate a summing-up of the achievements of an international congress? To be sure, none of the Great Powers was disturbed by war for a number of years. But where was the peace in Macedonia? The Congress of Berlin made her the powder-keg of Europe, and 'by its artificial division of the Bulgarian race, created the difficult and perplexing "Macedonian" Question.' [22]


All over Bulgaria the news of the Congress of Berlin was received like a death sentence. In Macedonia, doomed to return to direct Turkish rule, the gloom and despair were even greater. In his memoirs, Simeon Radev, a native of Resen, recalls what his father, who was at the time in Constantinople on business, told him about his own reactions. His father said: 'During the summer we went to San Stefano to feast our eyes on the Russian Army. An officer started talking to us and asked us where we came from. When we told him, he looked at us with pity, shook his head and said: "Wretched Mace-





donians! You are again being left under the yoke." We still knew nothing, but his words pierced our hearts like a knife.' [23]


'When we learnt of the results of the Berlin Congress,' wrote Ivan Hadzhinikolov, 'we were thunderstruck. Our disappointment and despair knew no bounds. I cried inconsolably like a child...'


It was not only the sickness of hope deferred that brought 'pallor to the cheeks' and 'cold sweat to the forehead' [24] as the news spread. The decision of the Great Powers had given carte-blanche to the Turks to wreak vengeance on the Macedonians for their losses elsewhere, and they were not slow to begin. As the Russians advanced into Bulgaria, many Turks fled south into Macedonia and Aegean Thrace, where they joined refugees from Serbia and Bosnia. These so-called muhadzhiri (muhacirlar) were billetted upon Christian villages, which had to feed and support them, and often they were given land at the expense of the local population. These were no ordinary refugees, grateful for whatever charity might be forthcoming: rather, they were ravening locusts who used their privileged position to live as idlers, extorting luxuries from their almost destitute Christian hosts. Often the latter dare not leave their homes to carry on their businesses and earn a living for fear of what might happen to their families in their absence.


Marauding bands of armed Turks, Albanians and Circassians roamed the country robbing and murdering, while the authorities either could not or would not do anything to curb them. Indeed, the Plovdiv newspaper Maritsa, in a report on Turkish injustices in Ohrid, commented bitterly that, instead of taking steps to curb the disorders, the authorities were heating the irons with which the marauders tortured women and children to make them reveal the places where valuables were hidden. [25] Day after day, week after week, the horrors continued: cattle were stolen, shops were broken into, those who left their homes to work were beaten, mocked or even killed; [26] tooth-tax was extorted from householders; people were tortured with boiling oil and red-hot irons; [27] girls were raped or kidnapped. In the village of Bistritsa, peasants were beaten and imprisoned in a pig-sty for four hours, in mud up to their knees, because they could not pay their taxes. [28] In Vetreshko (near Veles) a girl of twelve was shot dead by a young Turk who wanted to try out his new Martini-Henry rifle. [29] In Skatsintsi (also near Veles), some Turks gouged out the eyes of a man named Petŭr Lazov, cut off his ears and nose and kept him in this state for several days before finally cutting off his head. [30] In Prilep, Turks kidnapped the son of a man named Petŭr Kapka, and sent his parents a severed finger with a ransom demand. Negotiations were conducted quite openly in the charshiya, but the unfortunate father could not raise the necessary money, and the mother went mad





with anxiety and grief. Then a severed ear arrived as a sign that the boy was dead. [31] These were not isolated incidents. Every village - every family, even, could tell of similar occurrences. Only the names and the details were different; everything else was repeated with hideous monotony, day after day, week after week, all over Macedonia.


At first, however, people remained optimistic about the future. Surely, they told each other, Russia will not abandon us; surely, the conscience of the civilized West will be moved if we make our plight | known; surely, the Great Powers will grant us freedom.


Deputations went to the Russian commanders, and appeals were written to the Ambassadors of the Great Powers. One such appeal read, in part, as follows: 'After the end of the War and the conclusion of the Treaty of San Stefano, the Macedonians believed for a moment that their sufferings were about to end and that better days were dawning for them. This hope filled our hearts with joy and gave us the courage necessary to endure the cruelties of the Turks, unendurable though they were. The whole world knows that among our brethren we have always had the most unenviable lot,because we were condemned to suffer not only the abuses of the Government and the misdeeds of the Turkish population, but also the disastrous consequences of a system of slavery similar to that in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the humiliating and bestializing oppression of the Phana-riot clergy. The rapid movements of the Russian army drove most of the Muslim population out of the occupied countries. A large part of these refugees have flooded into our country and our property is at the disposal of these people.


'When the Congress of Berlin assembled, we ventured to hope that the excellent men who sat in that supreme court, inspired by humane sentiments, would give European sanction to the Treaty of San Stefano and would thus confirm our final deliverance. But what was our sorrow when we heard the decisions of this Congress! We were condemned to endure still further - perhaps for many a long year - the domination of the Turks, and this was desired and determined by cultured Europe!


'This decision disturbs us all the more, because it flagrantly contradicts the decisions of the Conference in Constantinople. That Conference gave us administrative autonomy, whereas the Congress of Berlin subjects us to a regime which was solemnly condemned after the events in Batak, Perushtitsa, etc. [*]


'The work of the Conference could not succeed because the Turkish Government would in no wise give guarantees for the carrying out of the proposed reforms. The Congress of Berlin has



*. A reference to the massacres in 1876, which aroused protests throughout Europe.





decreed that regulations tor the administration of our wretched country are to be worked out by a Turkish Government commission, but it has laid down no guarantees in the event of non-fulfilment of this condition. Is not our experience hitherto sufficient to prove to Europe that the Turkish Government is not in the habit of voluntarily carrying out the reforms demanded of it?


The plight of the Macedonian population is becoming more unbeatable with every passing day. Your Excellency will be convinced of this from the enclosed report, [*] which we have the honour to present to you. For this reason, we, too, associate ourselves with the protests which have been handed to you by our brothers in Bulgaria and Thrace, in which they demonstrate that the Berlin Treaty is not only unjust to us, but will also be very difficult to enforce without provoking new conflagrations.


'Trusting in the humane sentiments which inspire the governments of cultured Europe, we venture to beg Your Excellency to be so kind as to inform your Government about our piteous condition and to plead for an improvement of our lot through the amendment of the Treaty of Berlin.' [32]


Not everyone in Macedonia placed much faith in the 'humane sentiments' of 'cultured Europe'. Bitter jokes began to circulate among the people: 'What is the difference between a chronometer and an English consul? A chronometer never lies, while an English consul always does. What is the difference between a calf and a French diplomat? A calf is led by its halter, whereas the English lead a French diplomat by the nose.' [33] Notes of despair could also be heard: 'What will happen to us, God alone knows; all have abandoned us, and Russia, our benefactress, has forgotton us...' [34] How can we face our new position which the Congress had decreed deliberately for our utter ruin and destruction?' [35]


To many death seemed preferable, and some bolder spirits joined outlaw bands which punished or exterminated those guilty of particularly abnoxious crimes against the population.


During the summer of 1878, a number of leading Bulgarians from Macedonia had gathered in Sofia to discuss how they might secure a revision of the Berlin Treaty, and they reached the conclusion that it was necessary to organize a massive armed uprising. The news of their deliberations inspired a group of patriots in Tŭrnov [**] to form a 'Unity Committee', with the aim of 'helping to improve the wretched condition of Bulgarians remaining outside the bounds of Danube Bulgaria. Ostensibly, it was a charitable organization, but this was



*. A report of outrages committed by Muslims in Macedonia.


**. They met in the house of the writer and revolutionary Lyuben Karavelov, Aug. 29, 1878.





merely a cover, since all the members regarded an armed uprising as the most efficacious way of securing an improvement in the condition of the Bulgarians in question.


During September 1878, similar 'charitable' organizations were set up in other towns, including Sofia, where the work of forming and equipping cheti [*] was directed by Meleti, the city's Metropolitan Bishop. Later in the same month, another leading churchman - Natanail, Bishop of Ohrid [36] - formed branches of the Sofia Committee in Kyustendil, Dupnitsa (Stanké Dimitrov) and Gorna Dzhumaya (Blagoevgrad [**]), with the agreement of the towns' Russian military governors.


The latter were in a somewhat delicate position. On the one hand, as soldiers who had won a hard-fought war at a terrible price, they felt that the honour of Russia, her people and her army had been slighted at Berlin, and, moreover, their sympathies were entirely with the Bulgarians. On the other hand, since their government had signed the fatal Treaty, they could not openly oppose it. Thus, for the sake of appearances, they issued written orders against the formation of cheti in areas under their jurisdiction, and then countermanded them orally. The Bulgarians, for their part, kept their preparations as discreet as possible, so as to avoid diplomatic repercussions.


Natanail, with his great authority as Bishop of Ohrid, was the overall leader of these preparations, while the 'Unity Committee' in Gorna Dzhumaya, [37] which was the nearest town to the frontier with Turkey, undertook the vital task of organizing and equipping the


The rising began on October 5 1878, when cheti led by Adam Kalmykov - a Cossack officer who had gone absent without leave - Dimitŭr Berovsky, hero of the earlier rising in May 1876, and Stoyan Voivoda - a veteran outlaw chieftain - supported by peasants from the villages of Kresna, Vlahi and Oshtava, attacked Turkish units billetted in inns beside the Struma, where the river passes through the narrow Kresna Gorge. The battle lasted for many hours and ended in victory for the rebels. Over a hundred Turkish prisoners, including some officers, were taken. Contrary to what one might have expected, the prisoners were humanely treated, and, after a few days under guard, they were released and told that they might return to their homes. One hundred and fifteen of them, however, together with four officers, expressed their doubts as to the quality of Turkish justice and asked to be allowed to settle in the Bulgarian Principality, "where now there is a rule of law and justice for all without difference of race or religion.' [38] The request was granted and they were sent to Sofia.



*. Armed bands.


**. These towns were close to the demarcation line between Bulgaria and Turkey laid down by the Armistice of Adrianople (February 14 1878).





Eventually, following diplomatic exchanges, they were repatriated to Turkey.


After the initial victory in the Kresna Gorge, the rising spread rapidly along both banks of the Struma and into the valley of the Mesta, until it embraced the districts of Melnik, Petrich, Razlog and Nevrokop (now Gotsé Delchev). Soon, however, the rising ran into sci ions difficulties. There was no lack of volunteers, for the peasants of Macedonia were eager to free themselves from their alien feudal lords, who loaded them with taxes and deprived them of the most fertile land, and there were plenty of young men willing to leave the freedom of the Principality to fight for their brothers still in bondage. But without adequate arms and supplies, these volunteers could not become an effective fighting force. Moreover, disunity among the leaders began to sap the rebels' strength. The rebels were a varied collection of people. Most of them were modest patriots - refugees from oppression, local peasants, veteran haiduti, like Ilyo Voivoda, and men who had fought as volunteers with the Russian Army during the war of liberation. There were also a number of foreigners, including Serbs, Montenegrins, Greeks, and others who wanted to fight the Turks, among them a fair sprinkling of adventurers and restless spirits, such as Adam Kalmykov, the ex-Cossack officer, and Luis Voitkewicz, a Polish teacher in Veles, who claimed to be a French officer, and - inevitably - a few spies. As the rising spread, a rebel General Staff was established, but it was soon rent by dissention and intrigue, as a result of which many of the best voivodi left the General Staff in disgust, together with their men, although they later returned when changes were made in the leadership. During the winter of 1878-79, when the weather made fighting difficult, efforts were made to strengthen the rebel forces and to improve their organization and discipline in preparation for the spring. This was done under the leadership of Bishop Natanail, assisted by a new foreign 'officer', the Herzegovinian Miroslav Hubmayer, and Stefan Stambolov, [*] an ambitious and energetic young man who had been sent to Macedonia by the Tŭrnovo Committee and who hoped to develop in Macedonia a committee-style organization similar to that created by Levsky. A Statute [39] laying down basic rules of conduct for the guidance of the rebels was drawn up and adopted. Hitherto it had not been thought necessary to have such a code, since the rebels had counted on a short campaign evoking a rapid response from the Great Powers.


All these efforts were, however, in vain. New quarrels arose; arms and money continued to be in short supply; the organizational links



*. As a boy, Stambolov had been sworn into the Bulgarian revolutionary organization by Levsky himself. Eventually he became one of Bulgaria's most controversial and dictatorial Prime Ministers, and was assassinated in 1895.





between the cheti weakened, as did the discipline, and, during the spring and early summer of 1879, the Turks, with their superior forces and with material assistance from Britain and the other western countries, were able to recover most of the liberated territory. In June they recaptured Kresna itself and the seventy or so villages of the Karshiyak, the area on thejright bank of the Struma, which had been a rebel stronghold throughout the vicissitudes of the fighting. With the fall of Kresna and the Karshiyak, the rising came to an end. In May 1879, in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty of Berlin, Russian troops withdrew from Gorna Dzhumaya, since the new frontier ran north of the town, and in July the Turks again took over.


Yet still the Bulgarians of Macedonia could not reconcile themselves to their fate. The fight continued until 1881 in the form of uncoordinated guerrilla warfare on the part of cheti, which, acting as 'people's avengers', killed those who tormented the villagers. In the Prilep area the cheta of Spiro Tsŭrné administered unofficial justice to oppressors; in Kichevo, it was Miyailé Todorov, while from Mariovo and Selechka to the Pelagonian Plain and Krushovo, the Chakrev brothers - Dime and Miyailé - struck fear into the hearts of greedy men who knew no pity.


Just such miscreants were Smail Aga and his son Zekir, who systematically robbed the villagers in the Demirhisar Mountains near Bitolya. Smail Aga would enter a peasant's house with a smile, claiming to have come on a friendly visit. He would politely inquire about the children and the cattle and would sit down to eat heartily of whatever the family could provide. When he rose to leave, however, he would say: 'That thing's taken my fancy - please give it to me... I need that badly... I'd like this as a souvenir of my visit...' until he had stripped the family bare of sheep, calves, copperware, rugs, etc. Tears and pleading were of no avail. He would take every thing of value, and then amiably wish the family good fortune and good health. Nemesis overtook him, however, after he had repeated this performance once too often: the peasants of Sopotnitsa complained to the 'people's avengers', and the combined cheti of Angel Voivoda and Iliya Deliya intercepted Smail Aga and his son as they were departing with their latest instalment of 'souvenirs' and shot them both dead. [40]


In the villages, all doors were open to the cheti, but they needed links with the towns, so Angel and Iliya began to hold secret meetings with leading citizens in Ohrid. There, inspired by the activities of the cheti, the younger patriots were collecting knives and pistols, and were meeting to sing the revolutionary songs written by Hristo Botev and Chintulov and the songs of the April Rising. Undeterred by the mass arrests and imprisonments which took place in Prilep and the surrounding villages in the autumn of 1880 following an unsuccessful





attempt by the Turks to wipe out the cheta of Spiro Tsurne, the bolder citizens of Ohrid, together with the voivodi, began to prepare for a new armed uprising. In January 1881, representatives from Ohrid, Kichevo, Krushovo and the villages in the Demirhisar Mountains, together with several of the voivodi, including Iliya, Angel and Miyailé Todorov, met secretly at the Slepché Monastery of St John the Baptist to discuss plans. Iliya Deliya was of the opinion that once the rising started, the Russians would supply the rebels with arms, so that the latter would present no problems. Bishop Natanail, who, though not present at the meeting, was fully in the picture, advised the conspirators to rely solely on their own resources and not to expect Russian help. The majority of the representatives, however, shared Iliya's optimism, and a delegation went to see the Russian Vice-consul in Bitolya, who shattered their illusions by informing them that no arms would be forthcoming, and he advised them against a rising. Ignoring his advice, they began to arm themselves on a local basis.


The meeting at Slepche' had been timed to coincide with the festival of the Monastery's patron saint, so that the presence of the representatives would pass unnoticed among the crowds of pilgrims. Unfortunately, the Abbot, who was not party to the conspiracy, was a secret supporter of the Greek Patriarchate. He began to suspect that something important was in the air, and, after much heart-searching, confided in the Greek Bishop of Debiir, who passed the information on to the Turks. The authorities began to search travellers, and, in March 1881, they caught one of the conspirators, Hristo Popov, transporting a load of guns hidden under straw in his cart. He was taken to the Turkish administrative head-quarters in Ohrid, where he was subjected to torture, but he steadfastly refused to give any information. At the same time, as a result of a chance encounter, another conspirator named Yané Samardzhiyata was arrested, but he proved a broken reed, and a few random punches were enough to make him reel off the names of Hristo's associates.


Then mass arrests began in Ohrid and the surrounding villages. Not only the actual conspirators, but also anyone who happened to be in their company at the time of their arrest, were thrown into prison and brutally interrogated. All the spite that the Turks felt against the absent Bishop Natanail was vented upon his unfortunate brother, Zlatan, who lost his reason as a result of the beatings he received.


In May 1881 the prisoners were marched to Bitolya - a pathetic procession of pale, exhausted men in chains, kicked and flogged by their guards every time they stumbled or slowed their pace. In Bitolya they were thrown into the cellars of the prison to suffer new interrog-





ations, for the Turks had insufficient evidence to convict them of illegal activity. Hristo Popov was incarcerated in a dolap - a tiny, grave-like cell, the low ceiling of which did not permit a man to stand upright. There was no window - only a small hole in the lower part of the thick iron-bound door - and the wretched man spent eight days and nights kneeling by the hole in his own filth, struggling to avoid suffocation. The condition^ under which the rest of the prisoners were kept were not much better. [41]


The trial created a sensation in Bitolya because the prisoners included not merely dare-devil youngsters who might be expected to kick over the traces, but also mature citizens respected by all: men such as the sixty-three-year-old Dr Konstantin Robev, scion of one of the richest families in Ohrid, and various, prosperous merchants, members of the church council, school governors, etc. The case for the defence was not helped by the fact that avenging cheti had recently wiped out a couple of predatory Turks, one of whom had killed over twenty Bulgarians at various times and in various places. Unfortunately, both were in the employ of Nazif Bey, the Bitolya Public Prosecutor, who then went round the villages with a unit of regular soldiers and a mob of bashibozuks, searching for the assassins, and robbing, raping and torturing as they went.


The case against the Ohrid conspirators was not a strong one. Those who had made confessions under torture and duresse retracted them in open court and all told of their appalling sufferings. New efforts to extract confessions were made at night in the cells, but with little success. Yet, though they were skilfully defended by their lawyers, the chief defendants, including Hristo Popov and the now insane Zlatan, were sentenced to life imprisonment, and most of the others received five years. Five were acquitted. These included Dr Robev, who was, in fact, totally innocent, and Yané Samardzhiyata who had throughout the affair displayed weakness, betraying his comrades and admitting his own guilt.


Thus ended the Ohrid conspiracy. The cheti, too, fell on evil days. In the same year Spiro Tsurné was killed near Kumanovo, while the Chakrev Brothers, who had come down into Prilep at Easter, perished in a burning house besieged by regular soldiers and bashibozuks. [42] One by one the other voivodi left the field: Angel and Miyaile' were killed, while Iliya Deliya returned to civilian life.


By 1883, a kind of peace prevailed in Macedonia: not 'peace with honour', not peace by any normal standards, but a relative peace measured by Macedonian standards, a peace that was merely the lull before a storm. And when that storm began to gather, a decade or so later, it was Gotsé Delchev who marshalled the winds and clouds, and held the thunder in his hand.


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1. Svoboda. February 13, 1871


2. Hristo Kovachev and Dimitŭr Nozharov. See: Ana Raikova: Dokumenti za Nationalnoosvoboditelnoto dvizhenie v Makedonia prez 70-te godini na XIX. v. Istoricheski pregled. XXIV. 1968. Book I


3. Ilyustratsia Ilinden. Book 7 - 8 (1935) pp. 7-9.


4. Conference de Constantinople. Reunions Préliminaires. Compte rendu No. 8. Scéance du 21 décembre 1876. Annexe III Bulgare. Règlement organique.


5. Osman Pasha was the Turkish Commander in Pleven, captured in November 1877.


6. Veisel Pasha was captured at the Battle of Sheinovo, below the Shipka Pass, early in January 1878.


7. Hristo Brŭzintsov. Vo Prilepa grada. Varna 1969, p. 123-124.


8. Hristo Hristov. Opus cit. p. 109


9. Zornitsa No 12. March 23 1878.


10. Zornitsa No 15. April 13 1878.


11. Zornitsa No 16. April 20 1878.


12. Zornitsa No 15. April 13 1878.


13. The Times May 15, 1878.


14. Yordan Ivanov. Bŭlgarski starini v Makedonia. Sofia 1931. p. 654-659. The appeal was published in the Bern newspaper Correspondence Balkanique November 29 1919, with facsimiles and in English and French translations. The present translation is ours (M. M.).


15. Letter dated December 28 1876.


16. The Times. Editorials, March 22 and May 8 1878, and the report of the Vienna Correspondent, March 23 1878.


17. The Times. November 6 1878.


18. The Daily News. April 11 1878.


19. The Daily News. May 4 1878.


20. The Daily News. April 27 1878.


21. In his speech Disraeli had said: 'The principal object at the Congress of Berlin was to establish the Sultan as a truly independent prince, with an adequate territory both in Europe and in Asia to allow him to become a member who would contribute to the maintenance of the political equilibrium.' The Daily News. Nov. 11, 1878.


22. The Encyclopaedia Britannica (Eleventh Edition). The article on 'Macedonia' was written by J. Bouchier, Balkans Correspondent of The Times.


23. Simeon Radev. Ranni spomeni. Sofia 1969, p. 119.


24. From the report of the Veles correspondent of Maritsa, August 25, 1878. (Report dated July 20 1878).


25. Maritsa No 5, Aug. 11 1878.


26. Maritsa No 5, Aug. 11 1878.


27. Maritsa No 6, Aug. 15 1878.


28. Report from Veles. Maritsa No 15, Sept. 15 1878.





29. Report from Salonika, dated Sept. 21, 1878. Maritsa No 20, Oct. 3 1878. Also, Memoire of Macedonians to the Ambassadors of the Great Powers, Maritsa, No 24, Oct. 17 1878.


30. Ibid.


31. Maritsa, No 24, Oct. 17, 1878.


32. Memoire of the Macedonians to the. Ambassadors of the Great Powers in Constantinople. Maritsa. No 24, Oct 17 1878. Protests against the Treaty of Berlin had been made separately by the Principality of Bulgaria, see Maritsa, No 23, Oct 13 1878, and by the population of Southern Bulgaria to the European Commission for the setting up of Easter Rumelia. See Maritsa No 24, Oct 17 1878.


33. Maritsa No 16, Sep. 19 1878.


34. From a report of anarchy and injustices in Ohrid, Maritsa No 5, Aug. 11 1878.


35. From a report of the Bitolya correspondent of Maritsa, dated Sept. 1 and printed in No 18, Sept. 26, 1878.


36. Natanail, Metropolitan Bishop of Ohrid, was born Nesho Boikikev, in the village of Kuchevitsa, in the Tsŭrna Gora Mountains to the north of Skopje, of 'pure Bulgarian parents', as he himself writes in his autobiography (see Sb. NUNK 25, 1909, Sofia. Zhizneopisanie mitropolita Ohridsko-Plovdivskogo Natanaila). He became a monk in the Zograph Monastery on Mt Athos, and later spent some years in Russia. He knew Rakovsky, Levsky and other Bulgarian revolutionaries, including Dimitŭr Berovsky, and he took part in both the religious and political struggles of the Bulgarian Renaissance. In Sept. 1872 he was consecrated bishop in the Bulgarian church in Constantinople (For a report of the service and Natanail's address, see the newspaper Pravo Nos 29 and 33 1872). His triumphal journey to Ohrid to take up his duties as Metropolitan is described in his Autobiography.


(The fullest biography of Natanail is: Natanail by Kiril Plovdivsky, who later became the Bulgarian Patriarch. The book was published in Sofia in 1952).


37. The Chairman of the Committee was Konstantin Bosilkov, the town's chief teacher, who was born in Koprivshtitsa.


38. The text of the petition, dated Oct. 12 1878, Kresna, can be found in Kresnensko-Razlozhkoto Vustanie 1878, pp. 118-119, published by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia 1970.


39. See Patriarch Kiril: Suprotivata sreshtu Berlinskiya Dogovor - Kresnenskoto Vŭstanie, Sofia 1955, p. 284.


40. Kosta Tsŭrnushanov: Ohridskoto Sŭzaklyatié. pp. 145-6.


41. Maritsa, July 31 1881. No: 307, p. 5.


42. Maritsa, June 5, 1881.