Discos from the church "St. Stefan" in Constantinople

In the XNUMXth century, Tsarigrad was home to a large Bulgarian trade and crafts community, whose prominent representatives, in parallel with the accumulation of capital and influence, began to play a significant role in the revival processes and especially in the struggle for an independent Bulgarian church. Particularly numerous among the craftsmen are the Abadjis, united in the largest among the Bulgarian guilds in the Ottoman capital - the Abadji guild.

Until the middle of the century, the Tsarigrad Bulgarian colony did not have its own temple or other cultural and educational center. In 1839, Neophyte Bozveli arrived in the Ottoman capital to garner support for his candidacy for the Metropolitan of Turnov. Here he befriends Ivan Fetvadzhiev, Ustabashi of the abbots and with his assistance explained to the masters the need to build a Bulgarian church in the city on the Bosphorus - an idea they took to heart. Subsequently, the struggle to build a Bulgarian temple in the Ottoman capital was taken up with renewed vigor by Alexander Exarch and became a unifying cause for the entire Bulgarian Tsarist community. The successful conclusion came in 1849, when on October 9 the wooden chapel "St. Stefan", located in the Fener neighborhood in a house donated by the influential Ottoman dignitary, a native of the Kotel, Stefan Bogoridi. The following year, a new building was built next to it, known as "Metokha", which later became the seat of the Bulgarian Exarchate.

The National History Museum preserves a valuable artifact related to the consecration of the first Bulgarian Orthodox church in Constantinople. This is a silver discus with an embossed image of the Archangel Michael. From the circular inscription, it is clear that the discus was donated to the church "St. Stefan" from the Abadji guild in October 1849.

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