January 3, 2010

Bulgarians Return Relics of St. Dionysios I to Greece

Today, 3 Januaray 2010, a festal Divine Liturgy with many hierarchs was celebrated at the Holy Church of the Twelve Apostles in the city of Drama, Greece. Representative hierarchs of the Bulgarian Church returned, as promised, the sacred relics of Saint Dionysios I Patriarch of Constantinople (15th cent.), who is considered the second founder of the Holy Monastery of Panagia Eikosifinissa in Paggaio. Receiving the relics was Metropolitan Paul of Drama, after many years of energy spent on trying to restore the treasures of Eikosifonissa Monastery, as well as a very large gathering of pious faithful.

Eikosifonissa Monastery

Many sacred relics, including that of St. Dionysios, and priceless treasures of the Eikosifonissa Monastery were looted in 1917 by Bulgarian soldiers. The majority of these sacred objects are still found in the National Museum of Sophia in Bulgaria. It is hoped that the return of St. Dionysios will mark the beginning of the return of the other treasures of the Monastery. The Monastery was looted on three separate occasions by Bulgarians - besides 1917, there was also one in 1912-13 and another in 1944.

The people of Drama and its regions are awaiting also a heartfelt apology from the Bulgarian government for the tragic slaughter of its citizens by the Bulgarians. The first slaughter occurred on 30 June 1913 when 350 men ages 15 to 50 were brutally massacred, and the second occurred on 29 September 1941. 650 censors commemorate their tragic martyrdoms.


More on the Monastery of Panagia Eikosifonissa.