Batak Martyrs Relics Become Property of Bulgarian Orthodox Church
The relics of the Batak martyrs are now property of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, according to the decision of the Batak Town Hall.
The town council people, cited by the Bulgarian daily Trud (Labor), are giving the relics to the Plovdiv bishopric, saying their action is removing administrative hurdles, causing tensions.
Until now the relics were part of the Batak History Museum fund, but since they are now relics of Saints, they must be the property and the responsibility of the Church.
With an earlier decision, the Batak Town Hall bestowed to the bishopric the "St. Nedeliya" church where the relics are kept in a special sarcophagus. The Church was a historical site, but is now also a place where mass can be served.
The Bulgarian Holy Synod made the decision to canonize the Batak martyrs in April, 2011.
In April 1876, Bulgarian freedom fighters rebelled against the authorities of the Ottoman Turkish Empire seeking to liberate their nation and create an independent nation state.
April Uprising was crushed with great violence by Ottoman forces, when an estimated 30,000 Bulgarians, mostly civilians including women, children, and elderly, were slaughtered. Coverage in the European press led to an international outrage and a humanitarian intervention in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78.
Between 4000 and 5000 Bulgarians were butchered in the Batak Massacre – in the southern town of Batak – described by journalist MacGahan in a shocking account, while some 700 were slaughtered in the region of Novo Selo, Kravenik, Batoshevo, and Apriltsi – villages in Northern Bulgaria near Lovech.
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