February 15, 2007
Vasil Levski

Bulgaria has over 1300 years of history and treasures the names of many heroes that contributed to Bulgaria's fame. Among them, one name is brighter and more beloved than the rest-the name of "The Apostle of Freedom"-Vasil Levski. There are many legends, along with great documentaries, that preserve his revolutionary role in Bulgarian history. He is significant in the liberation of Bulgaria to be hailed as a national hero and thus remembered as "The Apostle of Freedom".

There were other attempts before him to liberate the country from the Ottoman Empire, but Levski's revolutionary theory was the first to be based entirely on full independence from any foreign powers. He also determined the future form of government in liberated Bulgaria: a democratic republic, standing on the principles of Human and Citizen Rights. The revolutionary network created by him was ingenious, but a trader led Ottoman law enforcement to capture Levski. He was convicted and hanged by the Ottoman authorities in Sofia on February 19, 1873, a date somberly known as the saddest day in our history. The revolutionary committees Levski set up paved the road for the Russo-Turkish War in 1877-1878, which liberated Bulgaria from the five centuries of Ottoman oppression.

Every year since Bulgaria's liberation, people bring flowers to Levski's many monuments in Bulgaria and pay tribute in reverence to his life deed. Now, the entire week of Feb. 19th is full of events dedicated to the Apostle: exhibitions, reading meetings, as well as museum and community center events. Schools named after Levski organize festivals and sporting events also.

Vasil Levski, the Apostle, has been instated in the national historical memory of the Bulgarians and is the only recipient of such deference.

By Daphne Karcheva-Orris


Vasil Levski
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