Sofia, February 16, 2018
newly-departed Elder Dobri Dobrev, “The Saint of Bailovo,” who devoted his life as a sacrifice to the glory of God in His Orthodox Church. His touching reflection incorporates his own experience with the elder, as well as that of his friends.
“Pray to your guardian angel Guardian! He helps and prays to God for you!”
That's what Grandpa Dobri told me when I saw him once in the narthex of the St. Alexander Nevsky Church. My friend Georgi Germanov also wanted to meet him, and it happened in a marvelous way, again in the narthex of this largest church, whose largest donor was this old-fashioned grandpa.
He looks like he comes from another century, and he was from another age: from the future we all await. He is an example that we will never forget and gave advice that will be as carved on stone slabs in our hearts.
These days we’re all repeating that the memory of Grandpa Dobri will not be forgotten. Is it really so? When we think of this man who taught us the good, and not only because that was his name, but because his deeds spoke more than his words, which were sometimes incomprehensible.
Many people say that Grandpa Dobri is a saint, that he is prophetic, that he foretells things. Some have even experienced such things. My close friend told me once when he went to the service, and received Holy Communion at the Liturgy. Then, they left the church and went for coffee. Afterwards, they returned to the Patriarchal Cathedral to light a candle, and there was Grandpa Dobri, humbly standing by the entrance and collecting pennies. The boys gave him some money and kissed his hand.
“Read your after-Communion prayers! You have to thank God for honoring you,” Grandpa Dobri told my friend, without actually knowing that he had taken Holy Communion. These things happen sometimes.
They told me that when they asked Grandpa Dobri why he bowed to every man who met him. “Everyone has a guardian angel. I bow to his guardian angel and ask him to pray for the man,” Grandpa Dobri answered.
The old man from Bailovo walked on foot to Sofia, and then, in old age, he also went by bus. Now there’s no way to think about whether someone else will be born like Grandpa Dobri. I do not know. Perhaps. I know, however, that he will continue to be an example of kindness and sacrifice, because that is humility: to sacrifice yourself for others. God rest his soul!
And do not forget to say a prayer for us, for those who wanted to see and hear him. May be one day we will meet again and talk more. I hope.
Elder Dobri was buried yesterday at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church in his home village of Bailovo.