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St. Antony church in Melnik and its miracles

Priest Nikolay: “Love forgives everything!”

They call it the church of miracles because it helps those who have lost hope of healing. The church was built in memory of St. Antony the Great in the small Bulgarian town of Melnik, famous for its nature sights and the fine wine produced from the oldest Bulgarian variety – Broad-leaved Melnik Vine.

The church is the only one in Bulgaria that bears the name of the saint-healer. The basilica was built in 1846 and the unique frescoes in it are among the cultural monuments of national significance, as part of the cultural and historical reserve "Melnik".

It was partly burned down but never fully destroyed, priest Nikolay from Melnik says and adds:

“Unlike the other churches in which one sees scenes from the Bible, the life of the saint, or icons, in the church of St. Antony the frescoes create a home atmosphere. One sees painted windows with curtains, flowers and angels seem to give the church a feel of coziness and peace. Treatment with colors and music exists nowadays but in the past these frescoes were also created by our ancestors for this purpose - to heal the soul.”

Re-creating home atmosphere and the presence of angels on the walls give people the power and security they need. It is not by chance that in the middle of the church there is a special plaque with the sign of St. John the Theologian - a two-headed eagle that symbolizes spiritual heights. That is why it is believed that people receive healing and relief of their suffering, looking at the miraculous icon of St. Antony. The iconostasis also differs from those in other churches:

“It is the work of a local craftsman," the priest says. “It is not wood-carved, but painted in bright colors. To the right of it you see the church icon of St. Antony. Indeed, its effect is very strong. However, in front of every icon, if we bow with faith and a pure heart, we will feel its effect. As people say, ‘Faith is a living idea of ​​what is not visible and what we hope for’. Everything comes from the belief in God, complemented by the prayer to St. Anthony. He was from Egypt and an important fact about him is that he is the founder of Christian monasticism. Because he pursued a godly life, God gave him healing abilities. His example shows us that, besides faith, deeds are also needed as faith without work is dead.”

"Illness is given to elevate the soul," the Church teaches us. According to an increasing number of doctors when we become ill, especially from a severe and incurable disease, the reason most often lies in one’s way of life or mental trauma. “God allowed them to exist for our soul-saving, so when we suffer severely let's turn to God, to guide us towards health,” priest Nikolay says.

He adds that on the night of January 16 the church is filled with believers praying for salvation and healing all night long. The next day, January 18, for the feast of St. Athanasius the Great, another service is held. “We know that St. Athanasius was a disciple of St. Antony, a follower of his work, and we really combine the two feasts with solemn worship.” Priest Nikolay has also shown us a path to spiritual peace and tranquility through his wishes addressed to all believers:

“Let’s love one another and forgive. Let’s do to others what we want them to do to us. Do not forget God and trust Him. When we are in need, we should first turn to Him. Love forgives everything!”

English: Alexander Markov

Photos: bg.wikipedia.org и ilindenpres.bg

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