Father Palssi from the town of Bansko, a monk in the Hilendar Monastery on Mount Athos, became the mouthpiece of the intensified national feeling of the people which marked the beginning of the Bulgarian National Revival. After many years of studies, travel and selfless work he wrote his ‘Slav-Bulgarian History’. It was written in a simple language, but passionately and was imbued from the first word to the last with ardent patriotism. The Slav-Bulgarian History’ made of its readers ardent patriots and fighters for national independence. The only manuscript copy of the History was carried around by Palssi himself from one village to another and was copied by hand in several years in scores of copies which, like the secret books of the Bogomils, passed from hand to hand, and were read and reread many times over.
Palssi’s great cause had many followers, called ‘people’s enlighteners’. Most prominent among them were Stoiko Vladislavov (later Bishop Sophronius of Vratsa), Yoakim Kurchovski, Kiril Peichinovich, Neophyte Rilski, Neophyte Bozveli, to mention but a few.
Struggle for a Bulgarian Church and Education
During the first half of the 19th century the Bulgarian people having come into contact with civilized Europe, became aware of their age-long backwardness, to which they had been inevitably doomed by the barbarous foreign domination, and began to strive for more education. Gradually the old monastery schools were replaced by secular ones which taught according to new methods and curricula. Hundreds of selfless teachers, who had dedicated their lives to the cultural upsurge of their people and to the struggle for their liberation, worked side by side
The Rila Monastery with the outstanding organizers of Bulgarian education Dr Peter Beron and Vassil Aprilov.
Besides the schools, the library clubs — voluntarily established public educational institutions with a wide range of activities — proved very useful in this work. In spite of the great number of obstacles put up by the Ottomans, the number of Bulgarian schools in the 1870s exceeded 1,500, and that of library clubs — 130. The first Bulgarian newspapers and magazines began to come out in the 1840s. It was during those days of national revival that the brightest Bulgarian holiday began to be celebrated, which is celebrated to this day – the Day of Cyril and Methodius,, the creators of the Slav alphabet of Bulgarian education and culture. In 1869 the Bulgarian Literary Society was founded in the Romanian town of Bralla, which constituted the foundations of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Modern Bulgarian literature was also making its first steps, represented by the talented writers and poets, loyal to their people, Lyuben Karavelov, Hristo Botev, Vassil Droumev, Konstantin and Dimiter Miladinov, Raiko Zhinsifov, Grigor Purlichev, Naiden Gerov, Dobri Voynikov, Petko Rachov Slaveykov, Ivan Vazov and others. Many of them were also revolutionaries and became recognized ideologists and leaders of the Bulgarian national revolution.