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Forty Holy Martyrs opens doors at last

Date: 14.09.2006

After thirty years of research and restoration the historical church opened doors for tourists and worshippers

We have lived to see whether this prophecy of great clairvoyant Vanga will come true, people in Veliko Tarnovo said, tears in their eyes, at the re-opening of the church. One of the symbols of Bulgarian statehood since the Middle Ages iis open again for tourists and worshippers. The church stood in Veliko Tarnovo, northeastern Bulgaria, as the major cathedral of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. "Constantinople and other great European capitals are long gone but Tarnovo survived and will live forever," said Veliko Tarnovo Metropolitan Grigorii while anointing the doors, icons and the medieval columns of khans Krum and Omurtag. The Metropolitan talked of the history of the church: it was constructed in 1230 by Tsar Ivan Assen II after his victory over the Byzantine army at Klokotnitsa, the church was turned into a mosque during the five hundred years of Turkish yoke, then dozens of years of hardship followed before it has been now fully restored as a functioning church.

Bulgaria's Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev, Ministers Emel Etem, Stefan Danailov and Assen Gagauzov attended the sanctification of the cathedral. Diplomats, MPs and formers ministers also took part in the festivities.

The Forty Holy Martyrs church has been inalienably interwoven in the history of the three Bulgarian kingdoms. Its restoration gives us a promise for the future of Bulgaria. We enter Europe with the self-confidence of a nation that has had a great past, has given and will give a lot to the world. "Bulgaria has lived through centuries because it has always been a country of strong spirit," Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev said.

The restored Forty Holy Martyrs Church is open for visitors from today.

BTA

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