Friday, April 17, 2015

Remembering St. Nedelya

It was 90 years ago today that Bulgaria faced the one of the worst terrorist attacks in her history.

It began on April 14th 1925 with the assassination of a well know democratic political figure named Konstantin Georgiev.  His death alone was a tragic act of violence, but it was only the beginning of what was to come.

Two days later, Georgiev's funeral was held at the St. Nedelya (St. Sunday) church in downtown Sofia.  Prominent political figures, military leaders, and even King Boris III himself would be in attendance.

The assassination of Konstantin Georgiev was not merely a random act of violence.  The Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) had him killed knowing that his funeral would bring together key members of the Bulgarian government.  The BCP was not interested in killing just one man.  They wanted to plunge Bulgaria into chaos by taking out her leaders.  The King himself was to be the biggest prize of their plot.  One bomb was intended to bring an end to the king, military leadership, and democratic leaders all at once.

The fuse was lit, and the bomb went off.  The explosion was so powerful that it blew the roof off of the church.  Hundreds were killed including many ranking members of the military.

St. Nedelya Cathedral after the attack on April 16, 1925.

However, the plan failed in its key objective.  King Boris survived.  He was late to the funeral and was not there when the bomb exploded.

The church was rebuilt, and remains in the center of Sofia to this day.  The communists remained political outsiders in Bulgaria until 1944 when help from the Soviet Union would make them the ruling party in Bulgaria for over 40 years.

As for the Bulgarian people, they all learned a valuable lesson from their king: It is better to be late than dead.

St. Nedelya Cathedral as it can be seen today in the center of Sofia.

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