There is very little information about Abraham of Bulgaria except what is written in the Laurentian Codex. Which is a collection of chronicles that includes the oldest extant version of the Primary Chronicle and its continuations, mostly relating to the events in Northern Russia (Vladimir-Suzdal).

According to the chronicles Abraham of Bulgaria was born in Volga Bulgaria, amongst the Muslim Volga Bulgars in what is now TatarstanRussia. There is no mention of his childhood. He grew to become an Islamic merchant, and was good and kindly towards the destitute.[3]

The life of Abraham was very different from the lives of many of his countrymen and tribesmen. He was an unusually compassionate person, merciful to the needy, spending his wealth on the needs of the suffering. Visiting Russian cities, communicating with Russian merchants, he became deeply interested in the Christian faith. According to God’s care, grace touched his heart, and, having learned the truth of the holy faith of Christ, he received Holy Baptism

So this Islamic merchant becomes a Christian and receives a new name, with which he is written on the pages of the book of life – Abraham. And just as before the adoption of Christianity Abraham sympathized with the calamities and hardships of his neighbors, so after accepting the saving faith of Christ, he began to be ill in spirit and grieve for the spiritual calamities of his fellow earthmen, for their ignorance of the true God of heaven and earth, revealed to us through His Only Begotten Son in the Holy Spirit, and about the disorder and disorder of morals resulting from this ignorance (John 17:3; Rom. 25:31).

Muslims insistently persuaded him to renounce Christ. But Abraham was unshakable in his faith. Having learned that he was not Russian and was not under the protection of the Vladimir-Suzdal prince, Abraham was arrested and exhorted for a long time. Seeing the unchangeable and unwavering faith of Abraham of Bulgaria, they tortured him and hung him upside down. As it is said in the annalistic mention, the holy martyr “cursed Mahomet and the Bulgarian faith “. On April 1, 1229, he was truncated with a sword ( quartered ) near the banks of the Volga.

The body of Abraham of Bulgar was buried by Russian merchants at the Christian cemetery in Bulgar. According to the chronicle testimony, soon after the city of Bulgar (Bolgar) was burnt as a punishment “for the blood of the martyr of Christ”. On the spot of the execution of Abraham of Bulgaria, a healing spring appeared. A local legend says that the first person to be healed by this source was a Muslim man.

His relics are venerated at Vladimir on the Klyazma. The Laurentian Chronicle contains the registry about this event that took place on 9 March 1230. His feast day is celebrated on March 9, the translation of relics, and is also commemorated on April 1.

References

*Picture of Abraham of Bulgar by Artist: Vasnetsov, Viktor Mikhaylovich (1848-1926)

ALSO ON THIS DAY

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Accessed ChristianHistoryInstitute.org and Rhemalogy.com 31 March 2020.

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