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August 16 - Commemorating life and work of St. Joachim Osogovski

Photo: pravoslavieto.com

The Bulgarian people have four heavenly protectors. These are hermits who spent their lives in solitude and left a mark in the spiritual life of people. For centuries, Bulgarians jealously guarded their relics and honored their memory. These are St. Ivan Rilski, Venerable Prohor of Pčinja, Gavril Lesnovski, and the Venerable Joachim Osogovski. We honor him on August 16, the day of his death at the very beginning of the twelfth century. It is not known where Joachim was born. He lived in the 11th century, when Bulgaria was under Byzantine rule.

The Osogovo Mountain rises southwest of Kyustendil. The border between Bulgaria and Serbia now runs along it and the place where Joachim Osogovski used to work is situated today in Serbia. From the life of this Bulgarian saint we learn that once as a stranger he came to pray in the home church of a local boyar in the village of Gradets. The boyar showed him a nearby cave where he could stay. Moving into this cave, Joachim spent the rest of his life in it in strict fasting and prayer. With prayer he helped random people who visited him. 50 years after the death of Joachim Osogovski, a priest came to the same place and settled there as a monk. Joachim appeared to him in a dream with a request to remove his incorruptible relics from the earth. The priest did so. On the site he built a monastery with a temple in the name of Joachim. The holy relics of St. Joachim Osogovski still lie in this monastery. Many miracles are attributed to them. The heavenly patron has more than once protected the property of his monastery from raids and destruction.