Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Received in Russian from my good friend Igor Rybin in Yalta, whom I enrolled as a soldier along with 17 other recruits when the Salvation Army ‘opened fire’ in the Ukrainian area known as the Crimea in 1993. Following the Russian annexation of Crimea in January 2014 Igor and his family, along with thousands of ethnic Ukrainians, fled the Russian troops and moved to a more secure and peaceful Ukraine.

A photo of the 98-year-old beggar and grandfather of the Bulgarian village of Dobri Bail, wearing homespun clothes and old leather shoes, often stands at the Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia. Every day he gets up early and makes his way quickly the 10 kilometers (6 miles) from his village to the capital of Bail. 

In 2010, during the filming of a documentary about the cathedral, the Bulgarian TV journalist when searching through the archives of the Church had a shocking discovery - the most generous private donation ever received by the Cathedral - 40,000 Euros was from an old beggar - the Dobri grandfather!

The 98-year-old saint turns over every single coin of the money that he is given by passers-by to the church. He lives on his pension of 100 euros per month, as well as non-cash handouts in the form of fruits and bread.

Grandpa Dobri helps many others, for example, he paid the utility bills for the town's orphanage and their heat and light bill as winter approached. He also helps the homeless. But, for all the good deeds performed by grandfather Dobri we'll never know of most, because he never speaks about them.

(Translated from Russian; Sven Ljungholm)

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