Lepta box (church donations)

The piggy bank is a donation from the carpenter's guild in Kyustendil. There are images of St. Thomas, St. Demetrius and St. Hodegitria the Virgin. The inscription dates it to 1846.

The carpenters - the wandering master builders

Carpenters (from Pers. through Turk. dülger – carpenter) are builders engaged in the manufacture of the wooden parts of the houses, with the construction of stone walls, gradually specializing in the complete construction of public and residential buildings and facilities. They are organized into groups called typhi (from Arab. through Turkish taifa), with which they go to gurbet (from Arab. through Tur. gurbet – abroad). As a result, the majority of carpenters had to work far from home and birthplaces throughout the Ottoman Empire. There are several carpentry regional centers in the Balkans, the oldest being the region of Debarsko. During the period of the Renaissance, the carpentry centers were formed in Shopluka - Trun, Kyustendil, Tsrna Trava and Bosilegrad (present-day Serbia); Kriva Palanka and Kratovo (now North Macedonia); Dryanovo, Tryavna and Gabrovo in Stara Planina; Momchilovtsi in the Rhodopes. In Bratsigovo, as a result of migration from Kostursko (present-day Greece) and Korchansko (present-day Albania), more than 150 families settled and built their own hamlet called "Aranutska". The settlers brought the carpentry trade with them and started the Bratsigov construction school.

During the Renaissance period, master craftsmen and merchants had their own professional association called guild (from Arab. via Turkish esnaf) or a ruffian (from Arab. via Turkish ürfet). Each guild has its own patron saint and a festival is held annually in his honor. A celebratory procession is organized in which the members of the ruffet take part, and a solemn church service, a memorial service for the deceased members and a celebratory lunch, ending with rejoicing, are held. The patron saint of carpenters was St. Thomas, who was believed to be a skilled craftsman and carpenter. According to popular belief, he mastered carpentry tools and protected builders from injury and falls while working on scaffolding and ladders.

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