Speaker of Bulgaria's Parliament visited Mount Athos

Nov 15, 2023. Posted by  Balkan Periscope - Hellas

Bulgaria appreciates the commitment of the leadership of Mount Athos to promote and enrich dialogue, tolerance and understanding among the faithful, Speaker of the National Assembly Rosen Zhelyazkov said on November 15.

Rosen Zhelyazkov, along with the accompanying delegation, held discussions with the leadership of Mount Athos on the commemoration of the day marking the liberation of Mount Athos from Ottoman rule.

The Bulgarian delegation attended the liturgy at the Protaton Church in Karyes, the capital of Mount Athos, as a part of their ceremonial visit for the feast of St. George the Great Martyr at the Zograf Monastery – November 16.

The delegation includes the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and MP from the "Vazrazhdane" group Tsoncho Ganev, the Chair of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs and MP from the GERB-UDF group Radomir Cholakov; Hristo Daskalov, Member of Parliament from the "We Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria" group; Rumen Gechev, Member of Parliament from the "BSP for Bulgaria" group; Stanislav Bogdanski, Member of Parliament from the "There is Such a People" group, and Tihomir Stoychev, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Rosen Zhelyazkov expressed his satisfaction with the opportunity to meet with the spiritual leadership in the "garden of the Holy Mother of God - a holy place for the Orthodox laity. He praised the multifaceted endeavors of the Mount Athos in service to the Orthodox Church and its contributions to fostering peace and stability in the global Orthodox community.

“We support the efforts to uphold spirituality, faith, and the teachings of God, which render Mount Athos an eminent pilgrimage destination for individuals worldwide,” the Speaker of the National Assembly said.

He expressed Bulgaria’s commitment to supporting the noble spiritual work on Mount Athos and willingness to collaborate further for the betterment of the Orthodox Church and stressed his gratification for the delegation’s participation in the celebration of the Holy Great Martyr George at the Zograf Monastery, an event closely linked with Bulgarian history.

National Assembly Speaker presented an icon of St. Petka to the deputy civil governor of Mount Athos, and an icon of St. Ivan of Rila to the spiritual leader of the Holy Kinotis Protoepistha Hieromonk Stefan.

The Speaker of the Parliament and the delegation venerated the Saint George Arabic Icon, in St. George Zograf monastery. The delegation talked with the abbot of the monastery, Archimandrite Amvrosii, and then toured the monastery. The cell where Saint Paisius of Hilendar spent his last days in in the temple.


So far 480 people have come from all over Bulgaria for the temple feast tomorrow, many of them volunteering to help the 37 monks and five novices at the monastery.

The Speaker of Parliament will return to Bulgaria, the MPs will attend the Vespers service and vigil at the monastery.

On November 16, the MPs will participate in the liturgy on the occasion of the feast of the Monastery and will participate in the procession of the miraculous icon of St. George.