Sofia, March 26, 2021
In Bulgaria, the feast of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos is also celebrated as the Christian holiday of women and mothers. On the occasion of the double feast this year, the Metropolis of Sofia honored a number of women health workers for their “dedicated care for human health and life … in the fight against the coronavirus.”
With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Neofit, Sofia clergy distributed red roses and icons to all the women working at the Pirogov University Hospital and the Military Medical Academy in the capital providing round-the-clock care for the sick, reports the diocesan press service.
The clergy conveyed the gratitude and well-wishes of Pat. Neofit, emphasizing that the Church appreciates their work and prays for them daily. “On this day, we decided to express our gratitude for the flowers in our lives, such as women. We wish you to be alive and healthy, loved and appreciated,” said Archimandrite Siluan, abbot of the St. Petka Monastery in Bistristsa, just south of the capital.
“We heal the bodies, and you heal the souls! Thank you!” said Dr. Snezha Bakharova, head of one of the COVID departments at Pirogov Hospital.
In his epistle for the feast of the Annunciation, in addition to expounding upon the theological and spiritual meaning of the day, Pat. Neofit also drew attention to the heroic Christian struggles of mothers:
For the holy Orthodox Church, this day is also a day of paying homage and respect to the woman, to the Christian woman, who with love and zeal for God and God’s house builds her family up as a little church of God and raises and educates her children in the spirit of Christ ‘s love and of the virtues bequeathed to us by Christ the Savior, guided faithfully by the example of the holy family of the Most Holy Virgin and of her own, in her obedience to God’s will. Let us pay tribute to those around us who every day imperceptibly combine prayer with their motherly care for us, who are a true support to their families and to our entire Church community. Let us greet them from the bottom of our hearts by repaying their love with love, care with care, devotion with devotion. Let us be inspired by their zeal, patience, and self-sacrificing devotion, and give them what they deserve and not begrudge them any time and attention.