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Sycultour

Temple 'St. Archangel Michael'

“Archangel Michael” Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Description

The most important sight in the town of Strelcha is arguably the Bulgarian Orthodox * Archangel Michael Church. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Church with some 6.5 million members in the Republic of Bulgaria and between 1.5 and 2.0 million members in a number of European countries, the Americas and Australia. The recognition of the autocephalous Bulgarian Patriarchate by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 927 AD makes the Bulgarian Orthodox Church the oldest autocephalous Orthodox Church in the world after the four Eastern Patriarchates: those of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. This religous monument built in 1904 and dedicated to the citizens of Strelcha that were killed during the April Uprising of 1876. The April Uprising was an insurrection organised by the Bulgarians in the Ottoman Empire from April to May 1876, which indirectly resulted in the re-establishment of Bulgaria as an autonomous nation in 1878.The uprising was brutally crushed by the Turkish regular army and bashibazouk (Turkish irregular) bands. Some 29 thousand Bulgarians perished in the unequal struggle. On stone plates on the both sides of the church facade are inscribed the names of all victims who fought against foreign rule, starting from the April uprising in 1976 up to the World War II. The temple is functioning as an Eastern Orthodox Church where local people can go every day. Only on major religious holidays and when its patron day on Michaelmas (Archangel’s day) large celebratiuons are organised with solemn sermons and traditional cooking to give away to people who come to participate in the sermons.

Responsibility

Department of Religious Denominations at the Council of Ministers; Municipality of Strelcha

Role

The Day of Archangel Michael - Arhistrateg (commander) of the whole heavenly host of angels and archangels is the second largest patron's day after St.Dimitri autumn day of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Michaelmas protection is needed for believers in their spiritual and moral life and the fight against temptation. In many areas of the country on this day a sacrifice is offered to the saint and ritual breads are made the shape of which reminds that of bread prepared for funerals or memorial services. The oldest ritual is the ritual breaking of the bread, pouring red wine and giving blessings 'St. Archangel, St. Nicholas and all the saints, help us, we honor you and are breaking the 'kolach'(bread), for Rye to grow up to the ceiling!' Therefore, the monument is of local, regional and national importance as it summons believers from around the area and the country and preserves the religious rituals.

Potential usability

Still in our country the sites of religious / pilgrimage tourism are not sufficiently developed to offer integrated tourism products. The main opportunities that are currently used by tourists to exploit the potential of this cultural value are related to visits on weekends (spring, summer and autumn) and during the summer as part of their annual holidays where their main place of residence is different from the location of the religious sites themselves. Also, on the day of the patron of the church many people come to participate in the ritual for celebrating it. Funds to support these churches are insufficient, because government subsidies are distributed according to the number of religious believers.


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