Father Paisiy: The Siege Of Bulgaria

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From 1396 until 1878 the Ottoman Empire ruled over Bulgaria (Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria to the United States, year unknown, herein referred to as “Embassy”). For nearly 500 years the Bulgarian people were oppressed and mistreated by the Ottoman rulers. Very little was done by the Bulgarians to stop this. Until 1762, when a Bulgarian monk studying in Greece wrote a book, and this book inspired the Bulgarian people to fight for their freedom (Georgiev E, 1972). Paisiy Hilendarski, otherwise known as Saint Paisius of Hilendar or Father Paisiy, was a monk from Bansko in Bulgaria; his book “Istoriya Slavanobulgarska” changed the course of Bulgarian history, and is believed to have been the beginning of the Bulgarian National Revival (Georgiev).…show more content…
After the release of the book in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian people began to rise up against the Ottoman oppressors. This led to the beginning of a search for better education, and growing pride in their home country. These events ushered the eventual liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire in 1878, after the Russo-Turkish War (Embassy). Without the writing of his book, who is to say what would have happened. On the assumption that Vasil Levski (who is considered the greatest hero in Bulgarian history for his part in the National Revival) was never inspired to try and liberate Bulgaria, what we now know as Bulgaria may have just been another part of Turkey. The life of Paisiy, his book, and its impact on Bulgaria was extremely influential in the creation of events leading up to the Bulgarian National Revival and the declaration of Bulgaria as a…show more content…
The first, and most important step, was to shape Bulgarians to make them nationally conscious “as an ethnic unit within the Ottoman Empire” and to “establish the existence of a Bulgarian nation as such” (Georgiev). Paisiy accomplishes this by explaining how the Turks arrived to annex Bulgaria, and how they have tried to eradicate the Bulgarian history and culture “when the Turks suddenly invaded the Bulgarian lands they showed no tolerance and burned churches, monasteries, and the tsar and bishop palaces” (Hilendarski). He goes on to explain that “in this time people scared of the Turkish terror ran for their own lives, and in this tough time the royal histories and the chronicles of Bulgarian patriarchs and bishops and the stories of many saints were destroyed” (Hilendarski). Paisiy was attempting to generate resentment among the Bulgarians towards the Ottomans, by informing the Bulgarians that the Ottomans were the reason why they did not know much about their history, and culture; and that the Ottomans were “terrors” to their ancestors. His goal with this was to get Bulgarians to reject the idea of an Ottoman Bulgaria, and to inspire them to think of Bulgaria as a separate nation. The second step in the program was to “create a Bulgarian national life” (Georgiev). This goes conjointly with the first step. Paisiy wanted to create national life for Bulgaria by
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