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On Saint Dimitar’s Day in the village of Teshovo in Pirin Mountain

Oh, wise Demetrius, do not forget us, pray for us...!‎

Photo: Facebook /Teshovo
The Orthodox Christians look today at the image of St. Demetrius (Sveti Dimitar in Bulgarian) with ‎faith in his heavenly intercession. On October 26, the Orthodox Church honors the great Christian ‎martyr born in Thessaloniki.

The name of Saint Demetrius is connected with the ‎history of the Bulgarian people. In 1185, during the two centuries of Byzantine oppression, the boyar brothers Asen and Peter announced in Tarnovgrad that they ‎no longer recognized the Byzantine authority. This happened on October 26 - the ‎holiday of the St. Demetrius Church that they built. With the help of the ‎saint, the struggle for independence had a successful end - in the spring of ‎‎1187, the Byzantine emperor signed a peace treaty that recognized the authority ‎of Assen and Peter over Northern Bulgaria, which put the start of the history of the ‎Second Bulgarian Kingdom.
The respect to St. Demetrius of Thessaloniki is ‎widespread in the Balkans, as many churches in Bulgaria bear the name of ‎the saint, depicted in the icons as a warrior on a red horse, piercing with his ‎spear the general who was destroying the believers in Christ.‎

The church of Saint Demetrius in the village of Teshovo, hidden among the ‎southern slopes of Pirin, welcomes the faithful believers for the holiday with shining ‎frescoes, after a long restoration and conservation.‎

The church complex was built in the period 1843-1844 on the site of an older ‎Orthodox temple which probably existed from the 8th-9th century. The ‎consecration of the church took place on Saint Demetrius Day in 1871 and to this day ‎the holiday is the most important event in the life of the village. ‎


The Saint Demetrius Church is a three-nave pseudo-basilica with a semicircular ‎apse. The built dome visually increases the interior space ‎and the light entering ‎it, and the acoustics of the church is remarkable.‎


The rich wall paintings are interesting in terms of drawing and plot - apart from the ‎traditional biblical scenes, they depict historical memories of the former ‎greatness of Bulgaria. It is the work of the painter Mino and his two sons ‎Marko and Teofil from the Bundovtsi family from the village of Karakoi ‎‎(today's Greece). ‎


The monumental iconostasis is in three orders - royal, festive and prophetic. ‎The wood carving impresses with fine figures and braids, masterfully ‎carved from walnut wood. The built-in icons are of exceptional artistic value - ‎most of them are the work of Dimitar Molerov-Molera, a prominent ‎representative of the Bansko School of Art. ‎

The iconostasis of Saint Demetrius Church in Teshovo

The magnificent church plays a decisive role in the preservation of spirituality ‎in Teshovo. And although the village is located in one of the most remote ‎corners of Bulgaria, and the remaining some 100 Teshovo residents living there today are elderly, ‎the church enjoys great attention and care.‎


Every year on October 26, Saint Demetrius Day attracts guests from the entire South-‎Western part of Bulgaria, but also from more distant corners of the country, ‎even from neighboring Greece. According to the legend, whoever is sick and ‎spends the night in the temple before the holiday, is healed by Saint Demetrius and ‎the trust has been preserved to this day.‎

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Photos: Elena Karkalanova, Facebook/Teshovo

Editing by Elena Karkalanova


Published by Rositsa Petkova

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