It has already been said that the Bulgarian people are being created around the Bulgarian church, where worship is in their native language. Thus, abandoning paganism, Slavs and Proto-Bulgarians, united by the common faith, set the beginning of the Bulgarian people. This is done in two stages: Christianity is first imposed (Baptism - 865), then Greek is replaced with Bulgarian (Old Bulgarian / Church Slavonic) when performing the services (Preslava Cathedral - 893). Thus the work of the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius is crowned with success - the trilingual dogma, glorifying God only in Greek, Latin and Hebrew, is a complex end. In the decades that followed, the Bulgarian Church was elevated to the rank of Patriarchate, thereby recognizing it as equal to other Orthodox Patriarchates and becoming the first national church in Europe (One People Church). These simple facts, I have noticed, are very often overlooked even by intelligent Bulgarians. They ask themselves today:
What is a people? Has this Bulgarian people ever had it, or is it some invention of modern times? (to Catherine the Great, Earl Ignatiev, etc. nonsense) Here's how long ago it has existed - IX century, and thanks to what it is still today. The same Bulgarian Church (with the rank of the Patriarchate) has it today, and the liturgy is still in Church Slavonic (Old Bulgarian) today as it used to be. The tradition has been respected. And the peoples live for the tradition and with a duty to continue it in the time after.
Let us mention a little more about a troubled period full of upheavals, during which the Bulgarian people, deprived of their church, almost risked being depersonalized. After its fall under Ottoman rule, Bulgaria continued to exist as an autonomous Ohrid Bulgarian archbishopric. It has existed in this form since the conquest of the First Bulgarian Kingdom by Basil II Bulgarian Slayer. So Bulgarians are not deprived of their own spiritual representation, even in the difficult times when they are under foreign political (Byzantine and Ottoman) rule. How do we know this? Three certificates of Basil II (from the period 1018 - 1025) have been preserved concerning the settlement of the status of the Archbishopric of Ohrid. They refer to the "Holy Archbishop of Bulgaria" - as he was called the Archbishop of Ohrid, and the "Holy Archbishop of Bulgaria" as he was called the Archbishop of Ohrid. This archbishopric of Bulgaria continued to exist until the 1767, when it was destroyed at the insistence of the patriarch Samuel Hangers. From this 1767 year, since 5 years since the writing of Paisii Hilendarski's History of Slavic Bulgarian (1762), the struggle for the national survival of the Bulgarians in the suffocating Greek-speaking spiritual environment began.
Without any exaggeration, this struggle is a life and death for the Bulgarian people. He either had to regain his own church and be an independent nation, or to become Greek and disappear. The fight at first sight seems futile and prejudiced in favor of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which enjoys protection from the High Gate (the Ottoman government). And in spite of the logic, the Bulgarian Church gained its independence in order to prove again the righteousness of the work of the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius and their fight against the trilinguals. "Doesn't God send rain equally for everyone? Also, isn't the sun shining at all? And don't we breathe all the air equally? And how can you not be ashamed of recognizing only three languages and commanding that all other nations and tribes be blind and deaf? ”- a talk against the heathen, of Constantine - Cyril the Philosopher.
First of all, let us say that the Church struggle of the Bulgarian people, from the point of view of the clergy who participated in it, is a struggle according to the canon of the Orthodox Church. It is based on the principle that one language (Greek) cannot be more valuable than another, and that of one's native language (Bulgarian). The foreign in worship should not be preferred because it is "more cultural" or "more civilized." To understand this is not enough to explain that the Bulgarian Church is only useful in so far as it "preserved the people through the ages." Because:
"The church was not designed to strengthen social ties between people, and cathedrals were not built to attract tourists." (Davila). The meaning is deeper!
The native church seeks its autonomy (autocephaly) in confirmation of the Symbol of Faith, without breaking away from other Orthodox churches, and seeking equal communion with them. These conventions are important because usually the history textbooks insist and explain the church struggle of the Bulgarian people as a revolution, and the Bulgarian church and clergy as some irreconcilable fighters for rights and freedoms. In fact, revolutionary rhetoric is irrelevant when it comes to clergy (Hilarion Makariopolski, Neophyte Bozveli, etc.). From their point of view, something canonical is being done, not revolutionary and heretical. Bulgarian society manages to defeat "Greekism". The Bulgarian people survive the struggle.
The Bulgarian Church was restored on 28 on February 1870. Thus, after more than 100 years, the struggle for survival has ended successfully. One of the most distinguished in this fight, one of the most risky and hardest hit in it is Hilarion Makariopolski. Let's say a little more about life's journey and its merits.
Hilarion Makariopolski was born as Stoyan Stoyanov Mihailovski in September 1812 in the town of Elena. His lineage is native to southern Russia. He is the brother of the journalist and statesman Nikola Mihaylovski, Vice-Chairman of the State Council of Bulgaria during the regime of powers under Prince Alexander I Battenberg (1880 - 1881). The uncle is of the famous Bulgarian poet and philosopher Stoyan Mihaylovski (son of Nikola Mihaylovski) and his big sister is the grandmother of the banker Atanas Burov. As a kid, he was enrolled to study at the Greek school in the village of Arbanassi. He then practiced the craft for a short time, but after worshiping in the Holy Mountain in 1831, at the age of 19 he decided to accept monasticism. Near 10 he studied at the famous Greek schools in Korea on Mount Athos and on the island of Andros, with his brother Nicholas, at Theophilos Cairis, and at the Athens High School (1838). Hilarion, in general, is one of the Bulgarians who received a very high Greek education, similar to the Miladinovi brothers, but remained unwavering in his patriotism.
In 1842 he was produced to the degree of a priest in the Holy Mountain, after which he went to Constantinople, in the neighborhood of Kuruceshme, where he attended the local Greek school. He completed his education in 1844. From this year he began his active work for the benefit of the Bulgarian, in which his close associate is Neophyte Bozveli. He has been known of this since his first visit to the Holy Mountain.
It should be noted here that Constantinople was growing as a center of struggle for Bulgarian church independence. The reason is that Constantinople has the largest Bulgarian population (paradoxically it may seem). Bulgarians around 1870, there are about 40 thousand people. Most of them are wealthy tradesmen and craftsmen. The patriotic people among them attract Hilarion in their ranks. This is no secret to the Patriarchate, which is why his exile on Holy Mountain (1845 - 1850) and his separation from patriotic aspirations come from there. In 1848 he was ordained a deacon and a monk respectively. He became a clerk of the Patriarchate, translating church books from Russian. In 1850, he was released from his exile, and he returned to Constantinople to continue what had begun. He was appointed Primate and Clergyman at the Bulgarian Church of St. Stephen in Constantinople (the Iron Church). In 1858 he was ordained a bishop at St. Stephen's. At the same temple during the Easter liturgy of 3 April 1860, Hilarion Makariopolsky did not mention the name of the Ecumenical Patriarch, as was done until then, which is symbolic a call for the creation of the autocephalous Bulgarian church.
It is difficult from a contemporary point of view to grasp the audacity of such a case. But we must know that this action by Hilarion Makariopolski provokes a huge enthusiasm among Bulgarians not only in Constantinople, but also from different parts of the Fatherland. The response of the Patriarchate is a new exile in the Holy Mountain (1861 - 1864), together with two other Easter clergy supported by priests - Aksentiy Veleshki and Paisii Plovdiv.
After the recognition of the Bulgarian Exarchate on 27 February 1870, the case of Hilarion Makariopolski was brought to a successful conclusion. The Bulgarian Church secedes from the Patriarchate and gained independence. The clergyman participates in the First Synod and is a member of the Interim Joint Exarchate Council. In 1872 he was elected Metropolitan of Tarnovo. His fame among the people is enormous. After his election as Metropolitan of Turnovo, he was welcomed everywhere in his homeland as a hero. A huge delegation was waiting for him at the border of his diocese. The people in the villages greeted him with the exclamations: "Hilarion Turnovski lives!"
Three years later the great Bulgarian priest and guardian of the Bulgarian, who gave his life of faith and homeland, ends his earthly journey. In the words of Petko Rachov Slaveykov about Hilarion Makariopolski, this one is "to whom the voice has made a whole nation aware."