The copy of the miraculous icon of the Mother of God was brought out of the church “St. Bogoroditsa” of the Bachkovo Monastery with a solemn ringing of the bells and the monastery eyelid.
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The liturgical procession set off to the Kluviata area shortly after 8 am, led by the abbot of the monastery, Bishop Zionius, and early in the morning lay people gathered at the Bachkovo Monastery.
The icon was adorned with a flower wreath, which was traditionally woven by people, many of whom are a gesture of gratitude to the Mother of God for support in their lives or to beg for her favor, and hundreds of believers joined the liturgical procession.
This year, everyone is allowed to participate, but the difference is that the icon will not be worn by many people, but only by two people who will change at a certain distance.
Last year, the lithium procession did not take place as tradition dictates due to coronavirus measures. The miraculous icon was then placed in a car, not carried by believers.
The oldest church liturgy, which has a history of nearly 400 years, involves people who need help with health and problem solving, or those whom the Mother of God has already helped, and they are here to thank her. . The miraculous icon leaves the monastery church once a year – on the Second Day of Easter.
According to the legend, on that day she was found in a rock niche in the area “Kluviata” by two shepherds, who took her to the monastery and from where, she “escaped” and was found again in this place. Therefore, on the Second Day of Easter, worshipers and monks organize a liturgical procession to the place where today there is a chapel named after the “Holy Archangels”.
“The original of the icon is from the 21st century and requires special care. That is why it does not come out of the temple. That is why we take out the spear, which is consecrated,” the abbot Bishop Zion told 24 Chassa.
“Until Kluvia and back, we will pray to God to give health and joy to all Bulgarians and Christians and to save us from this severe pandemic,” the abbot explained.
The pandemic further strengthened the belief in the miraculous power of the icon. Some turn to her in hopes of saving them from terrible diseases, while others help their loved ones. This year, however, the laity who came for the ritual are many times less than in 2019, when there was no pandemic, say regular participants in the ritual.
Elena, 28, came to pray for her uncle’s health. He was recently diagnosed with a tumor and operated on. He was still having difficulty moving, so she brought his clothes and would walk to Kluvia.
Some of the people involved in the liturgy claim to have felt its grace and return in gratitude, others come with the hope of help.
Children from the school “Father Paisii” in Pazardzhik made a cake and cards as a gift for the Mother of God.
“I’ve been here every time since I was 21,” said Silvia Lupova, who brought gifts from the children.
“The Mother of God called me to come,” Ivan Ivanov explained.
“I have been coming for more than 20 years for many years. I have witnessed the miracles of the icon. Whatever you wish for comes true. Especially on Kluvia, prayers are heard a lot,” said a middle-aged man.
“We are here for health, for faith. I was brought by personal pain. The power of the Mother of God is great on this day,” explained the mantis.
At the end of the day, the miraculous icon will be returned and welcomed in front of the Bachkovo Monastery.
As due to the pandemic situation, gatherings are prohibited, there will be no sacrifice in the Kluviata area, and all collected funds and food will be distributed to help socially disadvantaged people.