Orthodox Bulgarians Celebrate Saint Athanasius - Winter Goes Away Today

Society » CULTURE | January 18, 2024, Thursday // 10:00
Bulgaria: Orthodox Bulgarians Celebrate Saint Athanasius - Winter Goes Away Today

In a commemorative event observed on January 18, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church honors the revered Saint Athanasius the Great. Acknowledged as a staunch defender of authentic church teachings, Saint Athanasius holds the title "father of Orthodox theology" for his theological arguments establishing the equality and identity of the Holy Trinity - God, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Folklore in Bulgaria portrays St. Athanasius as the figure associated with snow and ice. Dressed in silk attire, astride a white horse, he is said to venture into the mountains, proclaiming, "Go away, winter, come, summer!" This aspect has given the holiday the moniker "Midwinter."

Individuals celebrating their namesake on this day include Atanas, Atanaska, Acho, Anastasia, Nasco, Nacho, Nasca, Natsa, Thanas, Tano, Tanyu, Tasco, Tanyo, Thanas, Tanasca, Taska.

Saint Athanasius rose to prominence as a stalwart champion of Orthodoxy, particularly during the challenging times following the First Ecumenical Council. Faced with strong Arian support in the East, Athanasius steadfastly opposed persecution, contributing to the eventual recognition of Christianity as a legitimate religion in the Roman Empire.

Born around 295 in Alexandria, Egypt, to a humble Christian family, Athanasius received a thorough education and diligently studied holy scriptures despite facing adversity. During the era of severe persecution before Christianity gained legitimacy, he played a pivotal role in establishing the church within the recognized framework of the empire's religion.

Father Georgi Markov, a priest at the church "St. Athanasius" in the Sofia village of Lozen, reflected on the saint's significant contributions, noting, "He advocates this time of the worst persecution before the recognition of Christianity as a legitimate religion in the Roman Empire. He made the greatest efforts to build the institution of the church already within the framework of the religion recognized by the empire."

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Tags: saint athanasius, Bulgarian, Orthodox, church

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