Citywide cross procession marks Family Day in Varna

Varna, November 24, 2014

Residents of the Bulgarian port city of Varna have celebrated Christian Family Day with a procession of the cross, carrying copies of two wonder-working icons: “The Queen of All” (“Pantanassa”) Icon of the Mother of God from the Vatopedi Monastery on Holy Mount Athos and the Moldovan Icon of Holy Great Martyr George the Victory-Bearer from the Bulgarian Athonite Zograf Monastery,1 reports


The procession of the cross proceeded through Maria Luiza Avenue and Slivnitsa Avenue and stopped at the entrance to the famous Sea Garden (Morska Gradina) public park, where Metropolitan John of Varna and Veliki Preslav performed a prayer service for health and prosperity.


“It makes us happy that the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the city council of Varna once again managed to combine their efforts for the better future of our young people, Bulgarian families, upon whom our nation depends,” said His Eminence Metropolitan John in his address.


1 There are three icons of St. George in Zograf Monastery. The history of the second one is as follows: early in the 16th century, after plundering by pirates and the Roman Catholics’ invasion, the monastery was renovated by Stefan IV, Prince of Moldavia, who fought much against Turks. Huge hordes of Mohammedans gathered together for one of the battles against Stefan, and the Christian commander became frightened. But Holy Great Martyr George himself miraculously appeared to him: the saint promised his help and asked him to renovate his monastery on Holy Mount Athos. The Turks suffered a crushing defeat, and Stefan, as a token of his gratitude, not only restored Zograf Monastery but also sent there the icon that is venerated to this day; it can be seen on the north-west column of the church.
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