ВАНГА И ХРАМЪТ / VANGA AND THE CHURCH
Посвещава се на 20-годишнината от освещаването на храма „Св. Петка Българска“
Автор Жени Костадинова
Книгата онагледява необикновения живот на една велика личност, белязана с тежкия кръст на слепотата и провиждането на човешките и народни съдби. В нея авторката е включила над 100 фотографии, илюстриращи етапите на построяването на храма – снимките показват как от диво и пусто мястото се превръща в оазис на духовността и вярата.
„Този юбилеен албум е необходим, за да напомня на българите, че сред тях е живяла личност с велик дух и душа, раздавала своята човечност и благородство на хората до последния си миг”, казва авторката. „Ванга е от малкото останали светли примери от нашето съвремие, които ни топлят със своя хуманизъм и безкористност. Средствата, които тя имаше вложи в изграждането на храма, имотите си дари на държавата. Тя живееше, за да помага и дава надежда на хората, да зарежда с оптимизъм своя обичан народ”, пише в предговора на книгата си Жени Костадинова и подчертава, че завещаното от Ванга духовно наследство – храмът, е не само съхранено но и надградено от фондацията на нейното име. Пророчицата почива две години след освещаването на храма, а 18 години след това хората от фондацията доизграждат комплекса и го облагородяват.
Книгата „Ванга и храмът” съдържа над 100 фотографии и е двуезична – на български и на английски.
Албума може да закупите в комплекс „Ванга“ или да поръчате на тел. 0887 667 670 и 0887 667 678.
Цена: 10.00 лева
VANGA and the CHURCH
This book reveals the extraordinary life of a great person, who was marked by the heavy burden of blindness and the ability to see the fates of people and nations.
It follows through how the Prophetess, on her own initiative and with the money given to her by pilgrims, built one of the first churches in Bulgaria after the fall of communism in 1989.
It features over 100 photographs that illustrate the different stages of the building of the church; they reveal how from a desolate wasteland the place was transformed into an oasis of spirituality and faith.
MARKED BY DESTINY
Vanga was born on October 3, 1911 in Strumica, a city in modern-day Macedonia. The future prophetess is prematurely born and no one knows if she will survive. She is given the name Vangelia, meaning ‘bringer of good tidings’ in Greek. Years later, the people will call the God-chosen woman Vanga.
Her father Pande Surchev is born in the village of Novo Selo. He is part of the resistance against the Ottoman Empire and gets thrown into the ‘Yedi Kule’ prison by the Turks. After he is released in 1908, he moves to Strumica. He meets the beautiful Paraskeva shortly after and marries her. Three years after Vanga is born, her mother dies giving birth to a second child. A year later, in 1915, with the outbreak of WWI, Vanga’s father leaves to join the war. During that time, Vanga’s grandmother takes care of her. With the end of WWI, Pande returns home to his daughter.
Little Vanga lives in poverty in misery; yet the blonde, blue-eyed girl is sociable and warm. Kids love to play with her because she is amusing and fun; Vanga can come up with funny games and has a lively imagination. At her early age, she is still unaware of the tragic day that lies ahead of her: the day when she will lose her sight and soon after start to see the fates of others.
As he starts to realise that he will not be able to cope with the cares for Vanga and the housework, Vanga’s father decides to remarry. He marries Tanka Georgieva from Strumica. But the pretty Macedonian does not treat her stepdaughter with love and affection. Vanga, therefore, spends more time with her grandmother. Her father works in the field round the clock and starts to make more money, but his affluence does not last long. The local authorities soon arrest him because of his rebellious past and take his land away. His family once again becomes submerged into long years of poverty.
In 1922, Vanga’s stepmother gives birth to a son, Vasil. The following year, the family moves in with Pande’s brother Kostadin in Novo Selo. Kostadin is wealthier but has no children. The family looks after the livestock together and works on his land. At the time, Vanga is 13 years old. Every day, she goes to the pens outside of the village with the family’s donkey to fill two containers with sheep’s milk.
One summer day, as she is coming back to the village with two cousins of hers, the girls decide to stop by at the Anska Cheshma: a water fountain nearby. All of a sudden, a nightmarish storm strikes! The sky darkens and a horrible heavy wind appears: it breaks the branches of the trees and sends debris flying into the field. A dreadful whirlwind picks up Vanga and drags her around and into the field, all the way to the Tranaka area. The search for her continues with days: when finally discovered, Vanga is covered with dirt, stones and torn branches. She is scared and in agonizing pain. Her eyes are covered in blood and can no longer see, and their irises soon become completely white. Vanga is blind.
Vanga undergoes three surgeries in Skopie and Belgrad but none of them help. Her father is unable to raise money for a fourth one and Vanga will remain blind until her death. When she learns that she will never be able to see again, she is only 18 and a pretty young woman. She cries and prays for a miracle… but such a miracle never happens. As months and years pass by Vanga refuses to accept that she is helpless, condemned and a burden to her family. She enrols to study in a nursing home for the blind in the Serbian town of Zemun. Everything there is new and exciting for Vanga: they study the Braille, various subjects and even music. As Vanga has very acute hearing, she soon learns to play the piano. The girls are also taught to do housework: to clean, cook and knit by ‘seeing’ with their hands.
The years pass by. Vanga falls in love with one of the boys in the nursing home: Dimitar from the village of Gyaoto in Gevgeliysko. One day, he confesses that he loves her and proposes her to get married. His parents are wealthy and they do not mind looking after both of them. Nonetheless… fate has another road set for Vanga! While she imagines how she would look on her wedding day, her father arrives and takes her back home. Pande’s second wife has died and he needs someone to help him take care of the children: Vasil, Tome and Lyubka. The long days of poverty and destitution slowly pass by. Although she cannot see, Vanga does the housework and looks after the children. In 1939, she falls ill with pleurisy and spends eight months wandering between life and death. One day, she just stands up from bed and starts cleaning the house; as if she was given some power from above.
‘Soon, our home will be full of people; it needs to be clean’ is what she tells her relatives. Her prophesy comes true.
At the eve of WWII, on April 6th, 1941, a horseman bathed in light appears before Vanga. He introduces himself as St. John Chrysostom. He stops before her house in Strumica, gets off the horse and walks into her home. He tells her: ‘Soon, the world will be distraught. There will be a war. You will tell people who is death or alive. I will stand next to you and talk to you…’
After this apparition, the life of 30-year old Vanga is swiftly changed. She starts prophesying. At the very beginning, like Edgar Cayce, Vanga sees places, events and people in her sleep. However, her apparitions soon start to come up when she is wide awake. Vanga tells people who of the conscripted men are alive and to return from the front and who will be caught up by death. She foresees that ‘this country that stands against the big Russia will lose the war.’
Her fame as a prophetess quickly spreads and hundreds of people start to visit her. She makes prophesies for all and any problems. She becomes famous as a healer of illnesses that were deemed unhealable. The herbs and recipes she prescribes give incredible results. Vanga names with an unbelievable precision where lost items can be found. Soon afterwards, her burden of a prophet increases, as she starts to fall into conditions of sudden trance. During the trance, her voice changes and very often a powerful spirit talks through her: the spirit of a saint, king or priest who foretells events important for humanity.
In 1942, a young man named Dimitar Gushterov visits Vanga to ask her who killed his brother. Vanga says that although she knows who the killers are, she will not tell him because he may be tempted to seek revenge. However, she does tell him that he is destined to marry her. The young man is engaged, but his fiancé dies from illness, and he marries Vanga. He takes her with him to the city of Petrich, Bulgaria. The couple lives in a humble house on 10 ‘Opalchenska’ street. Some years later, Vanga’s husband builds a bigger house. There, Vanga welcomes her visitors for decades to come. From 1979 onwards, she greets them in her humble house in the Rupite area, 14 km away from Petrich. The powers from above send her to this mythical place: at the foot of the extinguished volcano Kozhuh and next to the hot mineral springs. It is presented to her as a place where her soul could rest and be charged.
Vanga and Dimitar Gushterov do not have any children, but raise the 2-year-old Venetka Mitreva as their own. After the death of her husband in 1962, Vanga takes in the 13-year-old Dimitar Valchev (who is the son of friends of hers), whom she also raises as her own child. He goes on to study law and become a respected prosecutor. He stands by Vanga until her dying day and they share a strong spiritual bond. His place in the life of the prophetess is very important, as after her death he did a lot for the preservation and spreading of her spiritual legacy. Dimitar Valchev is in the core of everything built in Rupite after Vanga’s death.
For 50 years Vanga helps people and makes prophesies. Hundreds of thousands of suffering, ill and desperate come to see her and look for a cure and salvation. She is visited by Bulgarians and foreigners, intellectuals and politicians, priests and soldiers. She has received thousands of letters asking for a reception: from Turkey, Yugoslavia, Greece, USSR, Germany, France, Canada, Lebanon…
In these times, visiting Vanga is not easy: the communist regime denounces religion and bans Vanga from making prophesies. However, the Bulgarian authorities are forced to allow her to officially receive visitors as those wanting to see her are thousands. In 1967, a guard, cashier and helper are appointed to work with Vanga. Visits are now planned ahead and a charge is decided upon. According to the information at the municipal archive in Petrich, at 1975 there were visitors signed up for 3 years ahead. 20 people are signed for each day, but Vanga receives twice as many.
The blind prophetess is often called on by the authorities and travels to the Bulgarian capital Sofia. Many of the official guests of Bulgarian politicians during the Cold War have secretly met Vanga. She was visited by men like Leonid Brezhnev and Konstantin Chernenko, former General Secretaries of the USSR, the American writer John Cheever, the Spanish poet Rafael Alberti, Lebanese journalists, diplomats from Europe, America and Asia. Many Russian intellectuals come to meet Vanga. A team of Russian President Boris Yeltsin visits her in 1991. The President of the Russian republic of Kalmykia, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, also talks of his memorable meeting with Vanga.
It is hard to say exactly how many people visited Vanga in the years between 1942 and 1996. No statistics were ever kept but it could be said that she had over half a million visitors. A lot of people return to see her more than once. Vanga prefers dealing with the fates of the ordinary and the suffering who crowd in front of her house. She rarely makes prophesies about the world and the nations and carefully chooses the people before whom she does that. She claims that there are universal secrets that she knows, but the Powers have called on her to keep. Despite her discretion, we still know of more than a few prophesies she made for Bulgaria, the Balkans, Europe and the world.
Even during the years of communism and atheism, Vanga is a believer who refuses to hide her strong Christian faith. She respects every man’s religion and believes that no religion teaches us to be bad. After the fall of the old regime, Vanga finally fulfils her biggest dream: to build a church. On October 14, 1994, ‘St Petka of Bulgaria’ in the Rupite area is officially consecrated. ‘Let this church stand as a reminder of the suffering of those who came to seek comfort from me,’ Vanga says. Two years after the consecration of the church, Vanga dies stricken from an illness. On August 11, 1996, the Bulgarians say their last goodbyes to the respected and beloved ‘aunt Vanga’; to their spiritual mother.