Within the activities planned for project Creating a Model for Safeguarding, Socialization and Promoting of Christian Orthodox Monuments in Bulgaria ДН 15/4 of 11.12.2017, project team members visited Bolyarovo Municipality and were able to get acquainted with the various activities in safeguarding of Christian cultural heritage. A meeting was held with the management of the municipality - Mr. Hristo Hristov – Mayor and Mrs. Nina Terziiska – Deputy Mayor, as well as Mrs. Lora Velichkova – editor of the Kraygranichna Iskra newspaper. The meeting discussed the modern state of the temples on the territory of their municipality.
The population in the villages of the border municipality is aging and the settlements are constantly depopulated. The care for churches is almost entirely a commitment of local authorities. Initiatives for repairs and for activities aimed at preserving the temples and building new ones are entirely local. There is still the attitude of the BOC and the local population being a passive observer and only active in pointing to the need for repairs. Projects are being prepared and sponsors are sought for. The property owners - in this case – the church trustees – have the right to apply for projects for the renovation of churches. The following temples were restored and repaired with funding under the RDP: the temple St. Dimitar, Bolyarovo; the temple Nativity of the Holy Mother of God in Mamarchevo; Temple Ascension of the Virgin Mary in Sharkovo village; Ascension of Mother Mary in Golyamo Krushevo village; St. St. Cyril and Methodius Church in Strandja village; St. John the Baptist Church in Malko Sharkovo village.
According to the local authorities, there is still much to be done to protect the Christian temples, although a lot has been done. There is an urgent need for repairs for 9 church temples out of a total of 21 temples, of which 2 in larger settlements and 7 in small settlements. These are the temples: St. Prophet Elijah in Dabovo; St. St. Constantine and Helena in Zlatinitsa village; St. Ascension of the Lord in Oman village; St. Constantine and Helena in Ruzhitsa; St. Prophet Elijah in Dennitsa, etc.
The BOC coordinates intentions and initiatives for church repairs. There are partial cases, in the temples recovered by donations and funds from the municipality budget, the Sliven Metropolis to participate with certain sums as donations.
In Bolyarovo Municipality there donation is also in the name of God and faith. Both individuals and representatives of the local business donate, most often connected to a specific settlement. The Ascension church in the village of Iglika was entirely built with donations. In addition, the Ascension Church in the village of Stefan Karadjovo was completely renovated with funds from a donation campaign organized by the municipality of Bolyarovo. The church in the village of Gorska Polyana was restored with funds from donors. The chapel in the village of Kraynovo was built entirely with funds from donors. The chapels in the village of Valchi izvor and near the village of Stefan Karadjovo were built mainly with funds from the budget of the municipality of Bolyarovo.
The municipality and the business mainly provide funds for festive events, including priests' reward, traditional ‘kurban’ and others.
Cooperation with cultural institutions in the region - with the Historical Museum in Yambol and the Ethnographic Museum in the town of Elhovo – takes place in the municipality. At different times, Bolyarovo provides workers from the Temporary Employment Programs of the Historical Museum in carrying out archaeological excavations on the territory of Bolyarovo Municipality. They are mutually supportive in implementing projects – with letters of partnership, taking part in forums. The representatives of The Historical Museum in Yambol also cooperated in the process of acquiring the status of cultural monuments of national significance to sites near the village of Voden. The Municipality of Bolyarovo and the cultural institutions traditionally interact in the implementation of various projects related to the preservation and promotion of the cultural heritage, including the Orthodox temples.
Church temples on the territory of the municipality of Bolyarovo are included in short-term tourist destinations developed under a project funded by OPRD 2007-2013, a partnership project of the municipalities of Yambol District.
Cultural and historical interest is the church in the village of Stefan Karadjovo, built in 1763, which was named after the national hero Stefan Karadzha. Due to its different architecture, the church in the village of Voden is also of interest as it is among the most frequently visited churches in the municipality of Bolyarovo because of its proximity to architectural sites near the village of Voden.
In conclusion, the field research on the territory of Bolyarovo Municipality has proved our hypothesis that even in small municipalities the population, the business, the local authorities and the representatives of the BOC do everything possible to preserve and socialize the Orthodox temples. They are restored, built anew and kept for generations.
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