Legend of the renewed Bulgarian kingdom, St. Demetrius' Church

Once upon a time at the foot of the Balkan Mountains in the central fields of Moesia, there lived two bold and brave boyars, the brothers Peter and Assen. Peter was a wise and peace-loving man and he often turned to God in his prayers. He built a beautiful church on the rightbank of the Yantra River. Assen, the younger brother, was strong-minded and energetic, he gathered young men and taught them the art of war. He prepared them for the army. Smiths, tailors, and leather-workers had a lot of work to do inside the Boyar fortress. Tired horses, damp with sweat, often passes along its walls. The riders were in a hurry to get to the brothers’ rooms in order to deliver some important tidings...
Life under Greek yoke was becoming harder with every passing day. The Vasilevs imposed a new wedding tax. Moreover, large quantities of goods and animals were sent to Byzantine. People moaned with exhaustion, the number of the disgruntled was steadily increasing. They said that even St. Demetrius, the patron of the Greeks, had turned away from them because of their cruelty and perfidiousness. It was not by chance that the Normans succeeded in their attempts to conquer the city of Thessalonica.
St. Demetrius's Church
They destroyed it by fire and slaughtered its people. The saint left the city, took away his blessing, and sided with the Bulgarian people. Even a song appeared. Sweet-voiced rebec-players sang it all over the lands of Bulgaria.
It was God’s free will to send

From the blue skies above
Demetrius, the holy martyr
To bring good news to our people....
They even said that once in the altar of the newly built boyar church a wonder-working icon
, a portrait of holy man, had appeard. One of his hands was raised to give blessing to people...No one knew the way it happened...
Then Peter and Assen realized that it was exactly the long-expected sign sent to them by God in order to release the enslaved Bulgarian people.They felt even stronger because of the help of the saint warrior. Their hearts were bold, as were their dreams. The church was already built and richly decorated by famous icon-painters. It was St. Demetrius’ honour and glory that they named it after his name. On the eve of St. Demetrius’ Day the two brothers summoned the people around the town of Tarnovo. Pilgrims from the whole region of Moesia assembled on both banks of Yantra River. The bells began to ring festively, hymns in glory of the saint floated in the air over the river. All the people kneeled down and prayed the holy man to make their hands and minds stronger and help them to regain their liberty.
Then Vassily, the archbishop of Tarnovo, came forward and laid a masterfully-made golden wreath on Assen’s head. Then he put brocaded attire on his shoulders and red boots on his feet, and proclaimed him the tsar of the new Bulgarian State. Silence reigned over the church. After that cries “Long live the tsar!” could be heard. The eyes of the Thessalonika’s wonder maker glistened in the light of the candles in a benevolent way.

Collected and Presented by Zhivka Radeva