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September - October 2012

ASCETICISM IS ALIVE AND WELL IN THE WORLD
by Matushka Constantina

Taking the podvig (spiritual struggle) of the holy fool: This man's name is Dobre, a Bulgarian man living in abject poverty. He has donated over 20000 euros to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Every day, he stands in the church and begs, but not for himself. All money given to him, he donates to the church. He is the biggest individual donor to the church in the past few decades. He walks several kilometers to and from the church each day. He is known as "The Righteous from Bajlo".

This image, and the small explanation attached, is very moving. I love the contrast of an old ascetic with his old-fashioned footwear and the young child in his modern crocks. What a beautiful moment to have captured. This photo is a reminder that even in the modern world extreme asceticism, such as we read about in the lives of the saints, still exists, and thank God it does.

Now I wonder if this child will grow up to become a priest, since from the earliest times holy fools expressed prophesies through action: "And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's belt, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Spirit, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this belt, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles" (Acts 21:11).

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