Legend of the Bulgarian Kingdom
Some time ago, at the footstool of the Balkan, two brave and daring brothers lived – Assen and Peter. Peter was a wise and peaceful man and often called the Lord in his prayers. As a sign of his strong faith, he built a beautiful church on the right bank of the Yantra River. Assen, the younger brother, was cold-blooded and full of energy; he gathered young men and taught them the art of war. He prepared them for the army.
Tired and sweating horses often came to the Boliarian fortress. Their riders hurried to bring important news to the two brothers.
Every day life under the Greek domination had become more and more difficult. The Vassilevs imposed a new tax. In addition, a large quantity of goods and animals was sent to Byzantium. People groaned by the tormented, the number of dissatisfied grew. They say that even St. Dimitar, the protector of the Greeks, denied them because of their cunning and cruelty. It is no accident that the Normans conquered Thesaloniki. They burned the city and enslaved its citizens. The saint abandoned the city, removed his blessing and turned to the Bulgarian side.
It is said that once upon the altar of the newly built Bolyar church a wonderful icon appeared – a portrait of a saint. One of his hands was lifted up in the air as a sign of blessing. No one knew where it came from.
Then Assen and Peter realized that this was the long-awaited sign sent by God to release the enslaved Bulgarian people. They felt even stronger with the support of the saint. Their hearts were bold, just like their dreams. The church was already built and richly decorated by well-known iconographers. She was baptized and dedicated in honor of St. Dimitar. Pilgrims from the entire Moesian region gathered on both banks of Yantra. The bells faded, songs in honor of the saint fell through the air. All kneeling and praying to the saint to make their hands and minds stronger and to help them regain their freedom.
Then Vasily, Archbishop of Tarnovo, appeared and laid a masterly made golden wreath on Asen’s head. He put on him a richly decorated mantle and red boots on his feet and proclaimed him the king of the new Bulgarian state. A silence occurred throughout the church. Then people cried: “Let the king live!”. Under the light of the multitude of candles the eyes of the saint of the icon flashed generously …