On 10th of February Orthodox Christians celebrate the feast of st. Haralampy and st. Valentina.
Saint Haralampy is a patron of beekeepers, gardeners and fruit growers.
Six o’clock in the morning, 10 February 2019, Saturday. It’s a day off and Sofia is still quiet. The sun has not risen, the temperature outside is below zero. I’m asking myself why did not we go to sleep? Sometimes there isn’t a meaningful answer to the question of why do we do something. The amateur photography, like most hobbies, is a form of madness. So, we load the cameras, lenses, tripod, flash and so on in the car and my husband Bojidar, my son Dimitar and me, we leave for Blagoevgrad.
We leave Sofia, pass through the city of Pernik and Dupnitsa. Oh, what a view! In front of us is the Rila Mountain covered in snow and illuminated by the rising sun. The high peaks, the pale pink snow and the sunrise give an answer to the question why are we so early on the road!
At nine we arrive in Blagoevgrad. My husband park the car and we go to the temple “Presentation of the Blessed Virgin”. Every year, on 10th of Februrary, there is a feast in this church and a tradition that we have seen only in pictures. We enter the church wen we see many tables arranged side by side forming a big cross. A lot of jars of honey are left on the tables. Each jar is inscribed with a name and will bring health for the whole year. Between the jars of honey are placed many, many candles, which at one point will illuminate. The liturgy beguns. The temple is filled with the beautiful, tender song of the church choir.
Believers and journalists are beginning to fill the temple. Every year the interest in this event is getting bigger. Well, this year we are here too! By about ten-thirty, the liturgy ended, and the photographers take the place of the choir on the balcony. People start lighting the candles. Each candle is a hope for health. Strong light in the shape of a cross shines the temple. Beauty and faith gathered together! Amazing!