Bulgaria commemorates the Apostle of Freedom, Vassil Levski
On 19th February, Bulgaria honours the memory of the national hero, Vasil Levski (Vasil Ivanov Kounchev).
Although today Bulgaria marks 148 years since the day he was hung, in the minds of Bulgarian people he remains as immortal.
Vassil Levski is a leading figure in the fight of the Bulgarian people against Ottoman rule in the late 19th century. He was a revolutionary, democrat, ideologist, organizer and leader of the Bulgarian national liberation movement, founder of the Internal Revolutionary Organisation (IRO) and of the Bulgarian Revolutionary Central Committee (BRCC).
He was called the Apostle of Freedom by the Bulgarian people for his self-sacrifice in developing a strategy to liberate Bulgaria from Ottoman rule.
Vassil Levski organised the revolutionary movement across Bulgaria for several years. He established numerous revolutionary committees and started preparing the people for a general uprising. Betrayed by a traitor, he was captured by the Ottoman authorities and was executed by hanging on 18th of February 1873 in the outskirts of Sofia.
Every year on this day, thousands of people pay tribute to the national hero and lay wreaths and flowers to the monuments dedicated to him all across the country. Memorial services, processions, film showing, fireworks and other events are organized throughout the day to mark the occasion.
This year, due to the anti-epidemic measures against the spread of COVID-19, no official ceremony is planned in Sofia, in order to prevent gathering of many people.
There is an honour guard from the National Guard unit in front of the monument to the hero in Sofia throughout the day.
In his hometown of Karlovo, in the “Holy Mother of God” church, where he was ordained, a holy liturgy and a memorial service were held, followed by a rally-worship.
A commemoration ceremony was held in the Apostle's hometown last night. Many residents and guests of Karlovo came to pay tribute to the feat and work of the Apostle of Freedom.
"Deeds are needed, not words. I bow down to the memory of the hero," Prime Minister Boyko Borissov wrote on his official Facebook profile on the day we celebrate 148 years since the death of Vassil Levski.
"Every generation and each of us is fighting for Bulgaria. Sometimes noisily, sometimes quietly. Not always together, often alone. Each of us has a share of the fate of Bulgaria, even when far away from the homeland. But success depends, as the Apostle says, “on our united efforts.” With these words, the head of state Rumen Radev addressed the Bulgarians on the occasion of 148 years since the death of Vassil Levski.
The leader of the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, Kornelia Ninova, also laid wreaths at the monument to the Apostle of Freedom in Sofia.
In front of the monument, Bulgaria’s Chief Prosecutor, Ivan Geshev, said he hoped we would keep Levski's covenant.
"It has always been difficult to keep the covenant of the Apostle of Freedom. The only thing that is certain is that if we keep his covenants, we will live better and be better, there will be a stronger Bulgaria," Geshev said.