photo: Historical Museum - Haskovo

If we are interested in History, who is a foreigner, what has he done for Bulgaria and what he has given for the well-being of the Bulgarians - we will find that the list is the exceptional Yuri Venelin. Probably Bulgaria does not know a more ardent Bulgarian lover, born far from its borders. Professor Ivan Shishmanov will appoint Yuri Venelin as the genius, idol and oracle of the Bulgarian people. In the face of Venelin, the Bulgarians find their fierce defender in Europe for the first time.


Regarding Venelin, the founder of the first Bulgarian secular school, Vasil Aprilov, will write: "His dear name will remain indelible in the Bulgarian hearts: sooner or later the Bulgarians are obliged to erect monuments everywhere for him!" that "we owe all Bulgarians to knit wreaths for him."

Yuri Venelin


What is so impressive and memorable about this person?


Yuri Venelin is a typical Enlightenment: he appears at the same time as a historian, philologist, ethnologist, folklorist ... He is a polyglot. His relatives testify that he speaks ancient Greek, Latin, English, German, French, Romanian, Turkish, Hungarian, ". Let him add a few more words to his biography.

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Yuri Ivanovich Venelin was born by the name Georgi Hutsa in January 1802 in the village of Golyama Tibava, Northern Hungary. His father is a Ukrainian Orthodox priest who is very keen on his son following in his footsteps. Little Yurko, affectionately called Georgi Hutsa, was first a student at Uzhgorod High School and later became a scholarship holder at the Uzhgorod Seminary at the Sarmatian Theological Lyceum.


However, the young man did not dare to become a priest; instead he left the theological lyceum in 1822 and secretly enrolled as a student at Lviv University. In order to cover up his act, he turns to Yuri Venelin - the name by which he will become forever known in Bulgarian history, Slavic studies and Bulgarian studies. In 1823, he moved to Chisinau, where he was appointed superintendent and arithmetic teacher at the Theological Seminary. And two years later he went to Moscow, fulfilling his dream of living in a "Slavic classic", such as Russia.


There, Yuri Venelin ranks among the Slavophiles - the leading intellectual stream of the time. He became a private teacher of Sergei T. Aksakov's son, and became friends with professor at Moscow University, Mikhail P. Pogodin. Communication with the Slavophiles encourages Venelin's passion for ancient Slavic history, thus motivating him to write his capital scholarly work "The Old and Present Bulgarians in Their Political, Folklore, Historical and Religious Attitudes toward the Russians", dedicated to the Bulgarian people.

In connection with this work, the newspaper "Svoboda" (issue 19, 1869) writes: "Yuri Venelin is without a doubt the first who with his story" Old and current Bulgarians "taught the Bulgarian to appreciate his name and be proud of Venelin published his work in 1829, when he was only 27 years old. This fragile age suggests that his scientific work will not be too glamorous and academic. Indeed, in him Venelin expresses his emotions - his Bulgarian love is unadulterated because it is historically justified. And he defended him fervently.


It proceeds from the statement that the Bulgarian people are exceptional, so they must gain confidence in their own forces and in the bright future that awaits him. "If a nation does not believe that the truth is in him alone, if he does not believe that he alone is capable and called to resurrect all with his truth - he immediately ceases to be a great nation and becomes a ethnographic material, not a great people. ”(Fyodor M. Dostoevsky). Here is what is exceptional about the Bulgarians, according to Yuri Venelin. He believes that the Russians owe a lot to the Bulgarians because they have taken both the Christian faith and the script.


"It is permissible, because of ignorance and negligence, that foreigners have little to do with the Bulgarians. But it is even more unforgivable for us to forget those from whose hands we have been baptized, who have taught us to write and read, in whose native language our worship is performed, in whose language we have written for the most part. ”(Yuri Venelin )


Venelin gives an explanation of the slave present of the Bulgarians, which goes beyond the strictly scientific historical study and joins the ranks of the Bulgarian parents.
"If this people had not suffered significant losses from the long-standing iron yoke, from the murderous policies of the Gate and from the plague; if this nation remained so far dominant in all the lands inhabited by it, then it could safely be assumed that it could now be as numerous as colossal as the Russian. "


"This unhappy nation is for the Turks what the sheep is for man, that is, the most useful and necessary animal. It produces: milk, butter, cheese, leather (casing, cap), wool - ie. food and clothing. In this regard, the Turks value the Bulgarians very much, who give them money (extra taxes), everything to eat (one-tenth of all the acquired products), and finally - fulfill for them the heavy obligations to the state instead. Thus, if the Turks are deprived of the Bulgarians, they are deprived of their current way of life and their livelihood. "(Yuri Venelin)


After the first volume of "Ancient and Modern Bulgarians ...", Venelin was posted by the Russian Academy of Sciences to "make a scientific trip to Bulgaria, a country classic for Slavic philologists and historians." The researcher does not hide his excitement for his relatives. In a letter to Shevirov he writes: "The second day I go to a classical country - to Bulgaria, the homeland of our holy language."


"Speaking of the Bulgarian language, it is necessary to point out that the modern Bulgarian language is almost in relation to the old Bulgarian language (ie to our church language), as is the attitude of the modern Greek to the ancient Greek language. Therefore, Old Bulgarian is actually Church Slavonic literature. "(Yuri Venelin)


Venelin's trip to the Bulgarian lands is different than expected. He fails to traverse the entire ethnic land. Spends about three months here. During 1830 he visited Varna, Kavarna and Silistra, then went to Mangalia, Constance, Babadag and Hirsovo. And in 1831 he returned to Moscow, where he continued his work on Bulgarian history and philology until his untimely death in 1839.


"From all the searches I have made and from other reports about the manuscripts of the Bulgarians, it can be safely assumed that none of the Slavic tribes had as many manuscripts in their own language as the Bulgarians. This quantitative consideration is confirmed by the historical event, namely, that the Bulgarians began to write in their own language earlier than all their tribesmen. "(Yuri Venelin)


Venelin's occupations with the Bulgarian language give him the place of the first foreign Bulgarian, confirmed by the attempt to compile Bulgarian grammar. Through his analysis of the Bulgarian present, he comes to the conclusion of double slavery, which plagues the Bulgarians - the Ottoman political and the Greek spiritual.


Yuri Venelin is buried in the Danile Monastery near Nikolai V. Gogol. A marble monument commissioned by the Bulgarians of Odessa was sculptured on his grave. The dedication reads there: “Remind the world of the forgotten, but once glorious, powerful Bulgarian tribe. And he ardently wanted to see his rebirth. "

while traveling

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