PARISH "NATIVITY of the
BL. VIRGIN MARY"

SANCTUARY of the bl. Eugene Bossilkov Bishop and Martyr Belene

Activities

Eugene Bossilkov returned to his beloved Bulgaria as a Doctor in Theology. He had a high spirit of working among people. The Bishop of Rousse Mons. Damian Theelen appointed him his secretary and a parson of the Rousse Cathedral.

In 1934 Bishop Theelen appointed him a parson in the village of Bardarski geran in the North – Western part of Bulgaria. There the Doctor in Theology had a lot of spiritual, sport and social activities with the young people. He was a member of the municipal council of Bardarski geran. According to his merits the village became center of an independent commune in 1936. With a lot of paternal love the priest shared his international experience in all the fields of life, including the agriculture. He finished the construction of the new parish church and apart from this he built a big parish house which could accommodate the parish groups.

Bossilkow was a wonderful preacher. His broad knowledge, his soft and moving voice together with his human sensitivity, kindness and persuasion made him a highly appreciated lecturer. He was wanted for lections from the near and far parishes out of the eparchy.

His parishioners were never tired of listening to him and following him. Orthodox Christians respected him and appreciated his magnanimous behavior and his candid desire for dialog. They were attracted by his kindness and spirit of communication.

He created good contacts with the cultural and governmental circles in Bulgaria. Because of his popularity in 1938 he was chosen to officiate the memorial ceremonies for the 250th Anniversary of the Chiprovtsi Uprising. On November 7 and 8 father Bossilkov made two public speeches that were published in almost all the Bulgarian newspapers. He made another big speech on December 21, 1941 on the occasion of the gala day marking the release of the first printed book in Bulgarian language – “Abagar” by Philip Stanislavov.

In 1941 Bulgaria was dragged into the World War II and occupied by the German army. The public life was paralyzed. For the next three and a half years father Eugene had to minimize his pastoral activities but he spared no efforts defending the Jews. When the conflict was coming to an end Bulgaria asked for signing a truce with the Allies but on September 9, 1944 the Soviet Union declared war to Bulgaria, invaded the country and established Stalinist – Communist regime. Very soon after that persecutions started against the Catholic Church. Colleges, religious houses and land were confiscated. All the foreign missionaries were extradited. In Bardarski geran father Eugene prepares people to be strong and keep their faith and in his letters to his friends he was asking them to pray for the predicted time of big persecutions. Our sufferings – wrote Bossilkov to his Dutch friends – came after the war and will last until we have the power in this party. We miss the feeling of being free that you have.