History of the Roman Catholic Church in Burgas
The Roman Catholic Church in Burgas 150-year old history. Catholic mission in the city dates back to 1857 before this year it was the jurisdiction of Varna parish and served by secular priests living there. Father Timothy, a missionary in Burgas in 1858, wrote
"In early 1857 a proposal from the High Reverend Monsignor Musabini, Archbishop Smirnenski temporarily Pastoral asked in Constantinople, the Holy Congregation for the spreading of faith, wished to transfer two missions - Varna and Burgas - from the secular clergy to the Order of the Reverend Capuchin Fathers.
These RETs missions were assigned to the missions of Trapezund".
The first priest in residence in Burgas was Father Fiorenzo from Torjiano, arrived in late October 1857. Due to lack of funds Father Fiorenzo was unable to settle independently, but found the house of Mr.Nicola de Mattey, where was made the first clergyman. In 1859 at the initiative of Father Damian of Avril, a place was purchased for a church and a home for the priest by means of private foreign donors. After buying the place to build a church and residence for priests, preparations were made to Turkish power for regularization of ownership.
The decree, which authorizes the Sultan to build a Catholic church in Burgas is dated: July 26, 1589. In it we read the agreement to build a church for sailors of the merchant ships coming into port, and also an order not to make any obstacles or barriers to build the church in one appropriate neighborhood and a sufficient size.
Without losing time, Father Damian started construction. On August 8, 1859 Monsignor Philip of Bologna, Apostolic Prefect, Capuchin of Trapezund, laid the foundation stone of the home and church in Burgas. Upon completion of construction, the parish priest was Father Joseph of San Remo, back then there were 40 people here who were Catholics with the greatest number from Italian descent.
In 1872 Father Biktorino from Florence, a Capuchin missionary arrived at the place of Father Joseph in Burgas. He witnessed the liberation of Bulgaria. Political changes in Bulgaria led to some changes in the organization of the Catholic Church in Bulgaria.
In 1883 the Congregation for spreading of the faith by a special decree decided that Bourgas and Varna to be released from the Trapezund mission in Turkey and transferred to the existing two dioceses in Bulgaria. Burgas was passed to the Sofia-Plovdiv Diocese and Varna - to Nikopol diocese.
After this administrative change the first parish priest in Burgas, a Bulgarian by birth Father Ivan Spassov was from the village of Baltadjiy (Sekirovo), Plovdiv. After, Capuchin missionary, Father Zenon of Tyrol, Austria arrived in Burgas in 1887. He states: The Church Holiday in the Catholic church in Burgas is "The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. With this name, canonised and defined in 1890 by Archbishop Robert Menini, every year this holiday should be celebrated.
On the feast of All Saints in 1887 Father Zenon devoted all Burgas missions, all current and future Catholics to the most solemn manner of treatment and pure heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Also founded was the Brotherhood of the Holy Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which set forth the goal to maintain and improve the spiritual life of the Burgas faithful in the parish. Members of the new fraternity from the beginning of recording until 1930 recorded a total of 222 people. Almost all were of foreign origin: from Austria, Bohemia, Czech Republic, Italy, Turkey and Hungary. Among the members were only two Bulgarian priests.
On February 22, 1927, the manager of the Sofia-Plovdiv Diocese Monsignor Vinkenti Peev with special decree declaring Burgas Parish legal with all the rights and obligations, which owns the church community in the Catholic Church. Later Burgas Parish approached the Eastern Rite Catholics, driven from Trakia and Macedonia after the Balkan Wars and World War.
With the arrival of Father Anton Yovchev in Burgas in 1929 started a new page in the history of the Capuchin Fathers of the Missionary in the city. During his time the house and the old church were demolished and a new parish house and church were built. The decision was taken on April 30, 1934 on regular pastoral visit to Burgas Monsignor Vinkenti Peev. The plan was made by Prof. Henry. The foundation stone of the new house was laid on September 30, 1934 in the presence of arch. Slavov and head of the works of Petar Manev from Slivnitsa. The new parish house was finally completed in 1935. On the feast of Transfiguration, it was officially opened and consecrated.
The plan of the new church was made by Burgas Arch. Slavov. Monsignor Vinkenti Peev blessed the first foundation stone of the church on May 27, 1936. The works under the authority of Pencho Hristov from Gabrovo progressed. On September 12, 1937 it was solemnly consecrated.