photo: Historical Museum, Samokov

Portrait of Konstantin Fotinov in the boardroom of the High School, mb / sq.

There are various theories about how modern nations were created. According to popular belief, in order for any modern nation to emerge, newspapers and other publications are needed first to unite a group of people around a common idea and then to turn that same group into an inseparable community.


By this logic, it must be said that the modern Bulgarian nation was formed after Paisius, who was the first to name the obstacle - "because of which you are ashamed to call yourself a Bulgarian." After the rejection of the shame of "calling yourself a Bulgarian" come the calls for pride of Bulgarian origin. And these appeals were spread for the first time by the Bulgarian print media, whose role then was to unite the people. It became clear how important the first printed editions were for the patriotic feeling of the Bulgarian Revival.


Now we will tell more about the founder of our periodical press - the great educator Konstantin Fotinov. He is the person who laid the foundations of popular literacy with the help of the media.

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Konstantin Fotinov was born in Samokov somewhere between 1790 - 1800. In his early biography there are many white spots. It originates from a commercial genus. He was raised by his grandmother Fota, on whose behalf his surname Fotinov comes. She is a nun and wants her grandson to receive a cell education instead of being given an apprenticeship somewhere. After graduating from the Samokov cell, Konstantin studied at a Greek school in Plovdiv, and finally at a high school in Greece (in Athens or Kidonia). After 1825 he worked briefly as a merchant, and in 1828 he opened a private school and devoted himself entirely to educational activities.

The monument to Konstantin Fotinov in Samokov

Konstantin Fotinov was the first Bulgarian teacher to introduce into his practice the revolutionary mutual teaching method of the time. The Aprilov High School (1835), the first secular school in Bulgaria, functioned by the same method, but in this way Fotinov taught his students in Smyrna seven years earlier. In his school Fotinov teaches "Slavo-Bulgarian spelling" and church singing. In a letter to a friend, he shared about his teaching: "I had the care and I practiced constantly in my strength and abilities for the enlightenment of our poor Bulgarian people."


In addition to his work as a teacher, Konstantin Fotinov engaged in intensive literary work. He compiled Bulgarian and Greek phrasebooks, "General Geography" (Geography), "Psychology for teaching children" (1852) and others. Fotinov's General Geography (1843) contains interesting facts about Bulgarian towns and villages. He draws attention to Sliven and its famous factory: "This city became memorable because of the needlework", which is done with the assistance of "the experienced G. Athanasius" and "prudent and witty Mr. Dobri Zhelyazkov." Veliko Tarnovo is called "the predominant city of the Old Slavic rule, significant for many ancient times." Sofia, on the other hand, is "the leading city of the old Bulgarian government." And Gabrovo and Kotel are "significant among the great villages, both as glorious as they are for the doctrine, so glorious and worthy of imitation for trade."


But the work with which Fotinov remains forever in history is the editing of the first Bulgarian magazine - "Lyuboslovie" (1842). The fact that in 1840 the British Bible Society supplied A. Damian's Smyrna printing house with Slavic letters was of key importance for its publication. The magazine is initially published with a proof sheet. In it, Fotinov addresses his readers: "Other magazines are published once and at once a person can take away his sweetness, and this (" Jealousy ") is renewed every month and there are various new and diverse stories and minds that can enjoy human being and renew it to the everlasting curiosity… “


As he did not find the necessary funding, after the test sheet from 1842, the first issue of the magazine "Lyuboslovie" was published only in April 1844. The only sponsor was the Constantinople merchant (a native of Shumen) Hadji Rali Mavridi. The articles that fill the pages of the publication are mainly of moral and religious content, of a pedagogical and educational nature or in the field of history, geography and agriculture. Fotinov borrowed materials from the Greek periodicals. The main collaborators with their own materials are the revivalists Gavrail Krastevich and Vasil Aprilov.


The name of the magazine is a literal translation of the Greek "Philology" as "Lyuboslovie". This presupposes that the problems of the Bulgarian language be discussed in it. At that time they were especially relevant. The editor-in-chief Konstantin Fotinov stands on very conservative positions, mainly solving the question of what our literary language should be. According to him, the so-called benevolence should be formalized: Bulgarian writers should adhere to the benevolence - the Slavo-Bulgarian (Church Slavonic) language, and not to the vernacular (the vernacular). He even believes that it is not necessary to have several Slavic languages, but "all Slavs to use the Church Slavonic language and adhere to a common Slavic grammar." In the end, Fotinov's view finds no support among the majority of writers.

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Lyuboslovie magazine was published until 1846, when in April Hadji Rali Mavridi wrote to Fotinov: “I am tired of this burden. Did I just find myself insisting on the enlightenment of the people? Empty work… “


The Revivalist Konstantin Fotinov will remain in the history and memory of generations as the founder of the Bulgarian periodical press, as a great educator and pedagogue, as a companion for transformations in Bulgarian schools and the first defender of women's education in our country.

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