Bulgaria marks Independence Day

In an address, President Radev said that preserving Bulgaria's freedom and independence requires the concerted will and effort of everyone.

Sofia, 22 September 2021 (BTA/MIA) – Bulgaria marked the 113th anniversary of the declaration of its independence on Wednesday.

On September 22, 1908, following a prayer service at the historic Church of the Forty Holy Martyrs in the country’s medieval capital Tarnovo (North Central Bulgaria), Prince Ferdinand I read a Manifesto proclaiming the vassal Principality of Bulgaria a kingdom independent of the Ottoman Empire.

The declaration of independence required considerable efforts by Bulgarian diplomacy to secure recognition from Great Britain, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Russia. At the end of the 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish War, the March 3, 1878 preliminary Treaty of San Stefano ended 482 years of Ottoman rule over Bulgaria but did not make it an independent State. Article VI of that Treaty constituted Bulgaria “an autonomous tributary Principality”. Article I of the July 1, 1878 Treaty of Berlin confirmed this status, defining Bulgaria as “an autonomous and tributary Principality under the suzerainty of His Imperial Majesty the Sultan”.

In the course of 30 years, Bulgaria gradually repudiated its vassal dependence on Turkey, stopping to pay its annual tax, concluding international treaties, waging a war with Serbia without the Sultan’s sanction and declaring a union with the Ottoman autonomous province of Eastern Rumelia on September 6, 1886.

The declaration of independence officialized the changed situation in the Balkans and the country’s new status as a kingdom in its own right. It extricated Bulgaria from its dependency past and put it back on the European map of independent States.

A solemn liturgy and pealing of church bells of the Church of the Forty Holy Martyrs early on Wednesday morning marked the beginning of the celebrations of the anniversary in Veliko Turnovo.

During a ceremony held in the landmark Tsarevets Fortress, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev received the guard of honour of the Vassil Levski National Military School. The national anthem was played and the national flag hoisted while 113 balloons in the colours of the national flag were released in the sky.

In an address to the ceremony Radev said that preserving Bulgaria’s freedom and independence requires the concerted will and effort of everyone. Radev said that freedom and independence need to remain the foundation from which the future generations can draw faith and strength.

In an address to the Bulgarian people on the occasion of the anniversary, Patriarch Neophyte said that Bulgaria’s independence is a gift of god and a national achievement, but also an exceptional responsibility which is in the hands of the people.

Caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Yanev, political leaders and figures of culture too addressed the Bulgarian people on the occasion of the anniversary.

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