The martyr Avraami of Bulgaria (died in 1129) was the saint and Vladimir wonderworker who suffered for Christ in Volga Bulgaria.

According to the Lavrentyevska Chronicle, Avraami of Bulgaria died a martyr’s death in 1129. He spoke a “strange language rather than Russian,” was a merchant and owned “much property.” Avraami arrived in the Great City (Bulgaria) on trade business. The Bulgarians forced him to deny Christ and the Christian faith, but the merchant preferred to abandon his wealth and life for the sake of faith. The saint was decapitated on April 1 (O.S.). Russian Christians buried Avraami on a Christian cemetery. The Lord burned the city as punishment for the killing of Avraami.

According to the Lavrentyevskaya Chronicle, Avraami’s relics were translated in 1130 to Vladimir. On March 9 (O.S.) the Grand Prince George and Metropolitan Mitrofan, escorted by “chanters, hegumens, the princess and the children and all people,” met the martyr’s relics and put his body in the Dormition Knyaginin Monastery. Through the prayer to the saint, his relics began to perform healings. He was later venerated as a patron of Christians in the Kazan diocese.

In Russian art St. Avraami of Bulgaria is portrayed as a middle-aged man with short hair and a small beard, wearing princely attire and holding a cross in the hand. According to the 17th chronicles, his icon was placed upon the saint’s tomb in the side-altar of the Dormition Knyaginin Monastery.

Avrrami of Bulgaria is commemorated on April 14 (April 1, O.S.) and on the fourth week after Easter.

Zhanna G. Belik,

Ph.D. in Art history, senior research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum, custodian of the tempera painting collection.

Olga E. Savchenko,

research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum.


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