Sunday, July 06, 2008


Još idna po-stára, no interesna státija ud nuvinata
“The Sofia Echo”:
READING ROOM: Maintaining the faith
08:00 Mon 26 Jun 2006

He comes from Burdarski Geran, one of the Banatski (in English, Banat) villages in Bulgaria's north-west. His parents, agriculturalists, were citizens of this village. His grandparents, also, called Burdarski Geran home, though it was not their first.
Nikola Koukov, a professor at Sofia University's Department of Language Learning (IChS), is Catholic, like 99 per cent of the residents of his home town.
Three generations ago, after Bulgaria heaved off the oppressive Ottoman rule in 1878, his parents' parents came back to Bulgaria from the Banat region in what was then the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, an area now divided between Hungary, Romania and Serbia.
“They are the famous Banatski Bulgarians,” he says, “patriots, because they immigrated. They were all Catholics, without exception, strongly religious, with strong connection to the church and its traditions, and, of course, we (children) also took part – before the socialist regime forbade it.”
The Banatski Bulgarians had left Bulgaria as Catholics after the unsuccessful 1688 Chiprovtsi Uprising against the Ottomans, to settle across the Danube in search of a better, freer life. Some of these people were origially adherents to the heretical Christian sect of the Paulicians, but later also adopted the Catholic faith. The Austrian-Hungarian Empire permitted them to colonise in the Transylvania and Banat areas, and they remained there for about 200 years.
Koukov explains that even after the ominous date of September 9 1944, when communism came into power in Bulgaria and repressed religious practise, Catholicism remained strong, though many adherents to this and other religions transformed to atheists.
“Communists immediately started to torment Catholics,” he says. “Evgenii (Bosilkov, one of the four priests murdered by communists for their religion in the early 1950s) was a good friend of my father's.”
In Burdarski Geran, Koukov says, no one interrupted the activities of the church.
“The people were very strongly connected to the church. They were headstrong, supported the faith in themselves. Every holiday there were special masses.”
This continuation of Catholic practise occurred in spite of communist spies inside the church who could report on the people's activities.
In the late 1960s and early 70s, Koukov was a student at Sofia University, but this did not cause him to deny his faith.
“Even we as students would return (for the larger holidays), though we feared the communists. We were fearful as students, because there were internal spies who could harm our career as students. For that, we couldn't continue (to practise Catholicism) as we would have liked. But faith supported us.”
After graduating, he obtained a professorship at IChS. For him as a Catholic, “it was a bit delicate, because it was kind of an idealistic place, being a state institution and all”.
He persisted in his faith, and continued to celebrate holidays, “secretly, at home”.
The communist persecution of Catholics was such that Koukov decided it wisest to baptise one of his children secretly – his mother did it.
While a child in Burdarski Geran, he remembers that the village was very traditional, and that marriages would occur only between two Catholics. “The old people would kind of chastise us” if the youths had other plans.
“Later – in the 1970s – people started to marry non-Catholics, to open up, democratise. That's how non-Catholics came to the village. There weren't conflicts of religion.”
Two churches exist in his village: a “very beautiful” Roman Catholic, and a Protestant. The former has received support from the Pope and other Catholic communities, thus, surviving the years through restorations. The “German Church”, as is called the Protestant place of worship, was built by Germans who had come with the Banatski from Austria-Hungary. “They were from Austria, but called Germans. There was a whole street of Germans. After the second world war, when Hitler took them to fight, it fell into ruins.” In this state it remains, with windows broken, neglected.
While adhering to the Catholic faith with his whole being, Koukov never personally entertained the idea of becoming a servant of the church.
“My dad, only, said that maybe I should think about being a priest. At that period, I couldn't – it would have been very hard,” he laughs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...
Българска делегация посети хърватския град Нашице
На 26 юни т.г. посланик Иван Сираков, служители на Посолството на Р България в Загреб, представители на Българската национална общност в Хърватия начело с нейния председател Рашко Иванов, както и Петър Тошев от Държавната агенция за българите в чужбина посетиха град Нашице по повод 111-та годишнина от смъртта на Еузебио Ферменджин. Той е банатски българин, познат в България с името Мартин Лука, и има голям принос за развитието на Ордена на францисканците и на хърватската култура.

На гроба на Еузебио Ферменджин бяха поднесени венци от името на Посолството на Република България и на Българската общност в Хърватия. Делегацията бе приета радушно от кмета на град Нашице Крешимир Жагар, от директорката на Градския исторически музей проф. Силвия Лучевняк и от игумена на Францисканския манастир в града Антун Додич.

На състоялата се среща посланик Иван Сираков и кметът Крешимир Жагар обсъдиха редица въпроси, свързани с възможностите за задълбочаване и разширяване на сътрудничеството и връзките от българска страна с община Нашице.

Българските гости разгледаха и двореца на фамилията Пеячевич, която се преселва в областта Славония след неуспялото Чипровско въстание. Пеячевич са оставили трайна следа по тези земи със своето активно участие в хърватския политически, духовен и икономически живот през последните няколко века.

8:47 PM, July 06, 2008  
Blogger Nick said...

Za paruv pać čuja, či náša Fermendžin ij puznát u Balgárija kača... Мартин Лука. I ni mi se verva da ij taj, zaštotu, sigá distina gudini, katu sam razgánel "Acta Bulgaria" u Nacionálnata biblioteka ud Sofia, u katotekite ne bil upisan i pud drugu ime, ne imálu niti kakvi drugjie preprátći. Taj či, misla tuka ij grešovna tazi informácija.

12:22 AM, July 07, 2008  

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