Example: [Collected via e-mail, june 2013]
98 year old dobri dobrev, a man who lost most of his hearing in the second world war, has traveled 25 kilometers every day for decades from his village in his homemade clothes and leather shoes to the city of sofia - a trip he made by foot until recently - where he spends the day begging for money.
though a well recognized fixture around several of the city’s chruches, known for his prostrations of thanks to all donors, it was only recently discovered that he has donated every penny he has collected — over
Origins: The photos of the elderly man with a beard reproduced above are familiar to many Bulgarians, who recognize 98-year-old Dobri Dobrev as a fixture on the streets of Sofia, where he regularly begs for money. What many didn't know until fairly recently was that Dobrev wasn't begging for himself: he has lived off his monthly government pension and some assistance provided by others, while donating all the money he had collected (estimated at about
Dobrev's fame is now spreading outside of Bulgaria as his story is disseminated via the Internet. For example, one laudatory web description of Dobrev states:
Elder Dobry has been raising money for decades to restore churches throughout Bulgaria. He is not afraid of cold and bad weather, does not
But Elder Dobry is not a beggar. He does not rely on strangers to save his body, but he wants to save their souls. A man like him cannot be called a beggar who has forgotten his needs and is raising money for a lofty mission, far from the material benefits of life. To donate to the church means to bestow to the generations, to faith in a godly future to build a benevolent Bulgaria. This is what Elder Dobry thinks he does without expecting gratitude. He respects people. He sees the world around him is selfish, but he doesn’t get upset and instead provides an example with his donations. So many people worship the faith of the man who doesn’t take money. We don’t know much about Elder Dobry’s life. He does not want fame and does not want to divulge details of his daily life. It’s enough for him people to know he is a good person who collects money and donates it to the Bulgarian churches and monasteries.
Every day he would sit and someone always recognized him and spoke to him. The man tells some very interesting and heart-warming stories. He never begs for money, people just put money in his little wooden box and he shows them respect. I'm very happy to see he's doing alright and continuing his great cause.
I met him at the church St. Kyriaki, when I was attending the Holy Liturgy which was led by several bishops, in presence of the graceful relics of
Kind eyes, pleasant smile, humble look ... all that makes him bright in the eyes of those who have met him and without hesitation hurry to get a blessing from this sagacious elder.
Last updated: 18 December 2013