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

The building of the church. The reconstruction of the monastery

In the beginning of 18th century, patriotic native rhodope people began the restoration of the Bachkovo and several other monasteries, except the "Holy Trinity" in Cross forest, where the ottomans disallowed any kind of reconstruction to be done. And thus the ruins of the Christian stronghold sunked into oblivion, till the day God showed his grace through the Cross forest, for which place, priest Vasil Arininski made the biggest effort to revive. His way of rebuilding the monastery is a continuation of the way of his forefathers who fought for the Bulgarian Orthodox faith with their very own lives.

4th of April, 1988, is the day on which His Eminence, Plovdiv's bishop Arsenii, appointed me for Head of the "Holy Trinity" monastery at Cross forest - says priest Arininski. Cross forest - I've accepted this holy place in a difficult situation - there was no road, nor electricity, and besides the fact that at that time I was struck two times by a heart attack. But when I came to that holy place, God gave me the strength to feel His blessing and then I felt a lot better. Because of that blessing I’ve decided to rebuild the monastery. We started a foundation "Cross forest" with a church board of 10 members. At the proposal of the Board, we decided to invite some business men and bankers, to discuss what can be done for the reconstruction of the monastery, as well as for providing drains for water and electricity.

Ruins of the old monastery Ruins of the old monastery

On a warm summer day, on the goats’ path we, the board and other people: business men and bankers gathered. A legal document was signed along with a special candle. Priest Araninski, by the order of the bishop Arsenii, received from the district court in the town of Chepelare, a notarial act for ownership of the land on the name of the "Holy Trinity" monastery. Everyone who comes to the monastery at Cross forest, later talks about remarkable lights and miracles observed at Cross forest. And there it is, the miracle has happened! We decided to give away a humble midday meal, the weather was wonderful and sunny. Placed down some tables and some wood boards and bricks for seats. We gathered up at the tables and after the "Holy Father" prayer was said, we began to eat. But what happened! All in the sudden, the sunny blue sky clouded up, and a terrible thunder storm started to take place on the nearby hills and torrential rain poored everything around us. Some proposed to move inside the church, but priest Arininski said: ".. don't be afraid, no rain shall poor here over us " The rain was getting close to us, but at around 50 meters from the tables no rain drops ever came down, only a single sun ray going through the clouds touched the land where we stood and illuminated everything around us. Everyone looked in amazement, how is that possible? The believers prayed, the unbelievers wondered at this miracle. All of this lasted for a half an hour and soon after, everyone, one by one started to give promises to make a donation for the foundation, at first for the making of a road. Then we decided to go to the cross 250 meters away from the meadow where we had lunch. As we walked a "passage" was formed where the rain was pooring away from us.

Once the road was built, first from the others, father Vasilii went to the monastery - what a great joy, what a great achievement! People started to visit the church at Friday at dusk, when we served at night. The small church "Holy Trinity" quickly became too small to accommodate the hundreds of worshipers and we began doing the service outdoors at the meadow. At Cross forest, adoration gives not only the Christians but Bulgarian muslims as well who honour the holy cross and the holy water from the well near the church. At that time on an adoration with his mother came the architect Zdravka Shapkareva from Sofia. The woman announced that her daughter Zdravka and her son Milcho - a sculptor, will design the new church free of charge. And so it was, with suggestions by the priest Arininski, they've made a project of the monastery on two levels. And full with passion we began the construction. The second part of the monastery was built by workmen from the village of Momchilovtsi - religious and honest men. The whole construction was finished in 1995, and on 22th of September 1995, the church was sanctified by the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox church.

The new developments The new developments

On a 160 sq. meters area is situated the monastery on two floors. The new operational building proves its functionality, appropriate with the conditions as well with the needs of the worshipers. Initially priest Arininski intended to build the temple up on the hill where the cross is situated. But the cross itself showed to him the place where the church should be. One night, as he stood at the meadow after the service, suddenly something illuminated his sight. At first he thought it was some belated visitor who was beaming with the head-lights of his car. But the light didn't come from the roadside but from the old chapel, where the new church is now situated. Then a large fireball came up from there, turned and went to the cross, then came back to the first place. "This is the place where the temple should be" - said to himself the priest.

On 22nd of October 1994, the cross that stood there for the last 50 years, at cross forest went missing. On the 1st of November, news were spread that national delegates had visited Vanga, to seek the truth about that bad act. Her reply was that the Cross is situated in one of the nearby villages and that it will be found. God is merciful. Seven months after the ravishment, the cross was found. The shepherd Alexi from the village of Belina, pastured his herd half a kilometer from the Crossed hill. But as the cattle grazed, suddenly they rushed to the nearby pine-tree wood. The shepherd followed them in a surprise to find out what did actually scare them. When he finally catches up with them, he saw them digging in a pile of leaves. He thought they probable have found some aroma flowers and to protect them from poisoning, he chased them away. But after he did that, he saw the half-buried cross lying there, cut in two pieces. At first he got scared whether the people will accuse him in theft, but then he decided that if the God itself is his witness of his righteousness, he must tell as soon as possible about his discovery, for this is a great joy for all the Christians. When he told father Vasilii, that he found the cross, he cried and thanked God for this good event. The cross were welded and situated again at Cross forest. This holy place does not tolerate violations. The treasure hunters reached by God's anger know that as well, even the thief’s of the cross found that the hard way. Soon after the cross had been returned, a small note was thrown at the father in whom the following was written: "We, who tooked the cross, there were three of us. Our families fall into misfortunes, the other two died. I didn't want to follow their fate. I've returned the cross and I beg you for forgiveness.."

Gradually, although not without the resistance on behalf of the enemies of God, the life at Cross forest revived. The abbot of the monastery organized the service, made strong speeches and preached. He was a priest and a psychotherapist, a mentor whose words encouraged the people in despair. God seeing the achievements of priest Arininski and the faith of the hundreds of suffering people sent them his Holy Bless. The time has come, when many people start talking about the miracles of Cross forest.