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The First Liturgy of the Independent Bulgarian Church was on that date back in 1872

That day, in 1872, about 50 BG entrepreneurs went on a brave mission to Ortakoy in Constantinople and practically ?kidnapped? the three Bishops of the Bulgarian church in Fener. The three Bishops were Ilarion Makariopolski, Panaret Plovdivski and Ilarion Lovchanski.

People had gathered from all around Bulgaria and insisted the Bishops to serve a liturgy on the very next day, Epiphany Day (known as Bogoyavlenie in BG) - January 6th, at the St Stefan Church (see the photo above), considered as the fortress of Bulgarian spirit in the fights for restoring the BG Orthodox Church.

The Patriarch of Constantinople had been asked three times for permission about that first liturgy and yet he refused all the three times. Then the three Bishops succumbed to the will of the people and served that liturgy. Notwithstanding the fact that the Royal Decree (i.e. Firman) of the Bulgarian Exarchate had been issued two years ago, the East Orthodox Patriarchy of Constantinople was not eager to accept independent Bulgarian church... The Grand Vizier then made it clear that if the Patriarch rejected that Firman, that would allow Bulgarians to act according to its decrees?

All that led to the declaration of the Bulgarian Church independence on May 11th, 1872. The East Orthodox Patriarchy of Constantinople reacted to that act by imposing the Schism in September 1872.