May 9, 2012

The New Martyrs of Novo Selo Holy Trinity Monastery in Apriltsi (+ 1876)

During the April Uprising against Turkish rule in 1876, the Novo Selo Republic existed no less than nine days, after which it was ruthlessly suppressed. Almost the entire area of the present-day town of Apriltsi (then the villages of Vidima, Ostrets, Novo Selo and Zla Reka) as well as the Novo Selo Holy Trinity Monastery were burnt to ashes by the Turkish troops. Most of the nuns, together with priest Georgi Hristov, who led the defence of the monastery, were slaughtered, while the church was plundered and set on fire. After Bulgaria’s liberation from Turkish rule, the monastery and the chapel were restored with the help of volunteers’ labour and donations by people from nearby villages. The chapel behind the church was transformed into a small museum that still keeps the bones of those killed.

On March 3, 2011 the Bulgarian Orthodox Church canonized the martyrs from Batak and Novo Selo, massacred by the bashi-bazouk troops led by Ahmed Agha after the failed April Uprising of 1876 against the Turkish oppressors. The people slaughtered in Batak are honored by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church on May 17 and the day is called Convocation of the Batak martyrs. The newly canonized martyrs from of the Novo Selo Holy Trinity Monastery in Apriltsi are honoured on May 9. Between 4,000 and 5,000 Bulgarians from Batak and about 700 from the uprising in Novo Selo, Batoshevo and Kravenik have been canonized.