Among the many known sacred places of the Bulgarian land is a sanctuary, still looking for its place in the recent history of Bulgaria, but has already found his place in the hearts of believers… Read the whole sermon
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About the "Holy Trinity" monastery
In the central Rhodopes, among richly nature and heavenly beauty, is located the "Holy Trinity" monastery - Cross forest, or as it is shown on the map of Bulgaria - Cross Peak.
Until the 15th century, "Holy Trinity" monastery existed with many monks and novices - approximately 200 people, who have dealt not only with the worship in the temple "Holy Trinity", but also with stock-breeding, using the rich pastures in the region. Here, the bells of hundreds of sheep's, goats and cows had rung, and from their milk, a tasty Rhodope white and yellow cheese was produced for the Bachkovo monastery. Back then the "Holy Trinity" monastery was under the rule of the Bachkovo's.
The legend tells that after the conversion to Christianity in Bulgaria by Tsar Boris the I-st, his son Kormisosh was rewarded to rule the Rhodope region for accepting among the first the Christian faith. And in his new domain, the Rhodopes, he built the Kormisosh fortress and probably the first monastery church "Holy Trinity" around 8th or 9th century. The whole area from Cross forest to the Belitsa village and to the south of it is still called Kormisosh. At this place is built the government residence "Kormisosh" as well, along with the breeding and hunting farmings.
The Fifteenth century is a dark period for the Rhodope natives, Bulgaria falls under Ottoman yoke in 1396. During the first years of the reign of the new ruler of Bulgaria, the Turkish enslaver had no interest in the religious traditions and the faith of the Bulgarians, but in the 15th century, he decided to convert the Rhodopean people to Islam, so they can be controlled more easier. From Belovo to Stanimaka (Asenovgrad) according to historical sources, more than 200 churches and 118 monasteries were burnt down. To harden the Islam's influence, the Ottomans did monstrous crimes against the Bulgarians. Anyone who didn't accept the Islam was robbed and beheaded. We can hardly imagine what humiliations and torture had suffered the Rhodopian natives. There's no coincidence why the Bulgarian Mohammedans' name in Bulgarian is 'pomak' - suffered people.
When the Ottoman hordes first came to Cross forest, they gathered the monks and the novices to convert them to Islam, but none of them agreed, thus they were all slaughtered. The monasteries were burnt down to the ground, the cattle and other valuables stolen. Those who "accepted" the Islam were given land, forests and property that once belonged to the monasteries. Others were appointed at positions of no importance in the local management so they could help in the strengthening of Islam in the Rhodope area.
Jordan Stoichev DrenkovJordan S. Drenkov
In 1933 the prophet Jordan Stoichev Drenkov came to the Rhodope region, he taught the Christians how to understand the word of God and to live wisely. He had the gift to find holy places and when he came to the Borovo village, and heard about a place called "the Cross" by the natives, he went to visit it. With God's help, brother Yordancho ( as the Rhodopean Christians called him), found on this place unusual power radiating from the bowels of the earth beneath the hill, as well relics from a large monastery. He began to send ill people to spend the night there, who through faith and God's blessing got healed.
At that time, Boris III reigned in Bulgaria, whose sister princess Evdokia got ill from incurable disease. The Tsar tried everything to help her, but it was in vain. One day he talked to brother Yordancho, who advised Boris to bring his sister to Cross forest. Accompanied by her court people, the princess went and spends the night there, and when she woke up in the morning she was completely healthy again."How can I thank God for this kindness?" - asked the Tsar. Brother Yordancho advised him to erect on this place a metal cross that should weigh 33 kilograms - the number of years of the Christ's age. It was decided a bigger metal cross to be made, that weighs 66 kilograms - twice as big. Thus in 1936, the cross was sent to Asenovgrad and accompanied by brother Yordancho in a carriage along with military and many Christians. The cross was brought into the Cherven village. On the morning, carrying the cross by hand, the people headed to Cross forest. They arrived there after midday. As they were wondering where to put it, brother Yordancho noticed that a Christian woman carried two pigeons as a gift to Jesus Christ. He took the two birds, prayed and let a pigeon to fly. It flied to east and landed on a nearby hill. They erected the cross there.
When he let the second pigeon, it flew to the west - in the opposite direction and stopped on a rock, past the meadow. They started to dig there and found a spring, from which a healing holy water began to flow. From this day on, Christians and Bulgarian Mohammedans started to honour the Holy Cross, visiting this place regularly, and to drink from the holy water from the spring gaining strength and healing.
Building the temple "Holy Trinity"
It didn't took so long before priest Koshelev, along with the churchwardens from the Borovo village, situated three kilometers from the Cross peak, decided to excavate the remains of the old monastery, and found three crosses made of travertine (a special rock used in construction of ancient temples). There were wax drops clearly visible on the crosses. They were sent for examinations, but to this day no one knows what happened to the crosses. In 1956 priest Koshelev, together with brother Yordancho and builders from Borovo - Kostadin Gribachev, Petar Zhekin, Panayot Zhekin and Atanas Paskalev, started to build a small church which they called "Holy Trinity". Ordered by the Bulgarian Patriarch Cyril, the church was sanctified by Bishop Stephen vicar of Plovdiv, and later by the bishop of Tarnovo. People started to gather from all over the country and once again humble housing for accommodation had to be built from the old monastery stones.
Difficult years came again. During the totalitarian time, statesmen chosed the place for a reserve (a hunting place). And as it was near the state residence "Kormisosh", they strictly forbidden the worshippers to come here. With the Cross day approaching, troops guarded all the roads and paths to the hill. But the Christians still found the way to the Holy Cross, passing through pathless places with faith and will to worship.
Not until 1988, the patriot Rhodope native and good Christian Petar Todorov from Smolyan managed to get a permission from Todor Zhivkov for a free visitations and adorations at Cross forest. Plovdiv's bishop Arsenii established and blessed a church board, and appointed for a priest the clergyman Vasilii Arininski.
Like in every beginning, Arininski's was difficult. Several times was prevented by foul people, that tryed to prevent him from attending and to serve at Cross forest.