Thursday 23rd November 2017

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes… Blesseds Kamen Vitchev, Pavel Djidjov, And Josaphat Chichkov

November 7, 2017 saints No Comments


At the end of World War II, the USSR took control of countries in Eastern Europe. The governments were led by Communists who were great enemies of organized religion, especially the Catholic Church. As conditions worsened, the persecution and suppression of the Catholic Church increased in its severity.
In November 1952, the Bulgarian government, after a puppet trial, executed 40 “enemies of the state” under the shroud of darkness. The actual events were not revealed until many years later after Pope St. John Paul II precipitated the fall of the Iron Curtain. Among the persons executed were three priests: Kamen Vitchev, Pavel Djidjov, and Josaphat Chichkov.

Kamen Vitchev

In Srem, near Topolovgrad, Bulgaria, a peasant family had a baby on May 23, 1893. They belonged to the Eastern Rite Church and were most devout, having their baby baptized quickly with the name Peter.
Peter received an early education near Srem and then entered the grammar school in Kara-Agatch in 1903. Kara-Agatch was located about 125 miles east of Srem on the Black Sea. Peter studied there until 1907 when he moved to Phanaraki, a suburb of Istanbul, where he lived for two years, continuing his education with the Augustinians of the Assumption.
He received his habit on September 8, 1910 on the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He made his final vows in 1912 in Gemp, Belgium.
After six more years of ecclesiastical studies, he was appointed professor of philosophy, literature, and theology in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. He also served as rector and prefect of studies of St. Augustine College. Subsequently, he went to Istanbul where he taught at the high school seminary.
Kamen returned to Louvain to complete his preparation for the priesthood and was ordained in the Eastern Rite on December 22, 1921 in Kadikoy, a suburb of Istanbul.
Shortly after his Ordination, he began teaching theology in Kadikoy, continuing until 1925. As a teacher, his students and his colleagues held him in high esteem both for his intelligence and skill as an educator and even more so for his virtue. To those who had the least, he gave the most, guiding them in their studies if they found the curriculum challenging and directing them spiritually if needed.
His next assignment was in Rome and Strasbourg where he studied theology and earned his doctorate. He then returned to Plovdiv where he again taught at the College of St. Augustine becoming the college rector, dean of studies, and lecturer in philosophy.
Life became much more difficult in 1948 when the Communists closed the school on August 2. With the school shut, Fr. Kamen was reassigned to be superior of the Seminary of Plovdiv. When the government increased its persecution of the Church by expelling all foreign religious, Kamen was appointed provincial vicar of the remaining 20 Bulgarian Assumptionists.
These men staffed five Eastern Rite and four Latin Rite parishes. Fr. Kamen, observing the animosity the Communists had for religion, knew there was more trouble brewing: “The Iron Curtain becomes increasingly thick, without doubts, they are preparing dossiers on Catholic priests.”
Fr. Kamen was especially scrutinized because of his connections with the French and the Belgians, and also because of his trips to the Vatican. In addition, given his great interest in his country’s history, he had written several articles about Bulgaria. These were all harmless endeavors, but the civil authorities did not concern themselves with justice.
On July 4, 1952, Kamen Vitchev was arrested by the ruling Communists. His colleagues and friends did not know what had become of him until his name was published on a list of “40 enemies of the state” on September 16, 1952, telling them that he was in prison.

Pavel Djidjov

Pavel was born July 19, 1919 in Plovdiv to Latin Rite Catholics who baptized him with the name Joseph. As a child, Joseph attended the St. Andrew’s School, an Assumptionist institution, until he was 11 years old.
From 1931 to 1938, Joseph attended the College of St. Augustine and then on October 2, 1938 he entered the Assumptionist novitiate of Nozeroy, in the Jura, France, taking the name Pavel. He also made his final vows on the Feast of the Nativity of Mary in 1942. His outgoing personality and athletic ability suited him well to work with youth. However, illness necessitated his returned to Bulgaria where he continued his studies.
On January 26, 1945 Pavel was ordained a priest in the Plovdiv Cathedral. His first assignment was in Varna on the Black Sea. He taught as he also continued to study the sciences and business management.
When Fr. Kamen became rector of the College of St. Augustine, Fr. Pavel joined him there and served as treasurer, putting his knowledge of business to good use. He stayed there until the school was closed.
In 1949, Fr. Pavel was appointed treasurer of the Bulgarian Assumptionists. Since they had no money as a result of government policies, Fr. Pavel tried to raise money from the French Assumptionists, leading to his arrest as a spy. His outspokenness about the persecutions led him to write just before his arrest, “May God’s will be done. We await our turn.”
He also was arrested as an enemy of the state on July 4, 1952.

Josaphat Chichkov

An older priest, Fr. Josaphat was born on February 9, 1884 in Plovdiv to a Latin Rite Catholic family with many children. At his Baptism, his parents gave him the name Robert Matthew.
From 1893 to 1899 Robert studied at the Kara-Agatch school near the Black Sea. Then he entered the minor seminary of the Assumptionists in the same city when he was only nine years old. When he began his novitiate on April 29, 1900, he took the name Josaphat.
He proved a man of many talents and began teaching when he was only 17 years old. The next year he went to Varna where he began his writing career and directed the band. Two years later he was sent to Louvain, Belgium to study theology and philosophy. While in Belgium, he was ordained a priest on July 11, 1909 at Malines in the Latin Rite.
He returned to Bulgaria to teach at the Augustine College in Plovdiv. After this he taught briefly at St. Michael College and then became superior of the Saints Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Yambol. During his tenure there he expanded the seminary to accommodate 30 seminarians of both rites. One week he would celebrate the Mass in Latin and the next he would celebrate in Slavonic.
He organized collection campaigns to support the seminary and arranged conferences featuring Bishop Angelo Roncalli (later Pope John XXIII). In addition to writing articles in the The Pilgrim, a magazine for Catholic Bulgarians, he founded a club for students of Advanced Business Studies. This club, the St. Michael French-Bulgarian Circle, had more than 150 members.
In 1949 he began serving as a parish priest in Varna, remaining until his arrest, encouraging his fellow priests to spread devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. His name was also on the list of enemies of the state published on September 16, 1952.
The three priests were severely beaten and convicted at a sham trial on October 3 and executed on November 11, 1952 near midnight. The event was kept secret until the fall of the Iron Curtain.
Pope John Paul II beatified the three in 2002. Their feast is on November 11.

+ + +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Bannon Discusses Growing Up in ‘a Very Observant Catholic Family’ in the South Where the KKK ‘Tarred and Feathered’ Priests

In a freewheeling new interview with author Keith Koffler, Steve Bannon recounted his upbringing in a “very observant Catholic family” in the 1950s and 1960s and how that molded who he is now. Koffler, author of Bannon: Always the Rebel, asked Mr. Bannon—Breitbart…Continue Reading

Bishop McElroy decries extremism on religious freedom, calls for solidarity in American politics

WASHINGTON (RNS) — In an address at Georgetown University, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego criticized both extremes in the fight over religious freedom and called for public consensus based on solidarity to heal our nation in this hyper-partisan age. McElroy…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke makes ‘final plea’ for clarity to Pope Francis on dubia anniversary

ROME, November 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – One year to the day after the dubia were made public, Cardinal Raymond Burke today is turning again to Pope Francis and to the whole Church in an urgent and final plea for clarity.…Continue Reading

Giving bishops final word on Mass translations would ‘destroy’ Church unity: Cardinal Muller

November 10, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The unity of the Church would be “destroyed” if bishops’ conferences, not the Vatican, had the final word over translations of liturgical texts, said Cardinal Gerhard Müller in a recent interview. The former prefect of…Continue Reading

Notre Dame reverses decision to end coverage of birth control in university insurance plans


In a reversal of school policy, the University of Notre Dame announced this week that it would continue to cover contraceptives for its employees, according to a report in the South Bend Tribune. The news marked a departure from Notre Dame’s announcement…Continue Reading

House Tax Reform Bill “Unacceptable” As Written, Say U.S. Bishops Chairmen

WASHINGTON—In a letter of November 9, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Bishop George V. Murry, SJ of Youngstown, Ohio called for amendments to the current draft of the House…Continue Reading

Truck honoring Dubia Cardinal stopped by police while circling Vatican

ROME, November 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Today in Rome, a publicity truck carrying billboard-size images of Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, the dubia Cardinal who passed away three months ago, and Pope John Paul II made its way through the streets of…Continue Reading

Trump admin asks Supreme Court to ‘discipline’ lawyers for rushing teen’s abortion

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The Department of Justice (DOJ) is petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to punish the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for lying to the government about the timeline of an underage illegal immigrant’s abortion.…Continue Reading

Christian nurse sues hospital for requiring her to assist abortions

DURHAM, North Carolina, November 3, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic nurse is suing Duke University Hospital, claiming that the university discriminated against her religious and pro-life beliefs by requiring her to assist in abortions. Sara T. Pedro was told during her employee…Continue Reading

It’s ‘impossible’ to change Catholic teaching against contraception: Cardinal

ROME, October 28, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Church’s teaching against contraception as expressed in Humanae Vitae is an “extraordinary example” of how the “truth of faith” deepens and develops while “continuing to be identical to itself,” Cardinal Walter Brandmüller stated at a…Continue Reading

Thousands sign online petition to remove Madison’s bishop

MADISON (WKOW) — There’s an online petition being circulated to remove the Bishop of the Diocese of Madison. Bishop Robert Morlino is being criticized for his attitude about the LGTBQ community.  Earlier this week, an email was sent to priests in the…Continue Reading

Pontifical Academy of Sciences welcomes leftist California Governor Jerry Brown to keynote

ROME ( – The Pontifical Academy of Sciences is again throwing open its doors to abortion and population control activists. From November 2–4, the Vatican’s scientific academy will host a conference on the environment that will feature, among others, far-left…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love


  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Today . . .

U.S. bishop defends pro-LGBT priest speaking at Catholic college as thousands protest

DALLAS, Pennsylvania, November 20, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A U.S. bishop is defending a local Catholic university’s invitation to a pro-homosexual priest to have him speak at its winter commencement in the face of almost 20,000 Catholics having signed a petition asking that the invitation be cancelled. Scranton Bishop Joseph C. Bambera is defending Jesuit homosexualist Fr. James Martin’s speaking engagement at Misericordia University’s winter commencement on December 17, saying that the priest’s latest book condoning…Continue Reading

Progressives hate everything old, including the elderly

November 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Earlier this year, Maclean’s Magazinepublished an article asking a question that seemed to capture the prevailing mood on the Left: “Should older people lose the right to vote?” Because old people are practically dead, the author explained, there are some today who feel that they vote with only a short-term vision in mind, and thus should be barred from interfering with the Progress that would be brought about should young people be allowed…Continue Reading

Venerable Solanus Casey: the priest who answered the doorbell.

Vatican City, Nov 17, 2017 / 06:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Venerable Solanus Casey, a Capuchin priest from Wisconsin, was humble before all else, said the postulator of his cause for sainthood. The life of Venerable Solanus Casey is the story of his “humility, his simplicity, as well as his acceptance of whatever life gave him,” Franciscan-Capuchin Fr. Carlo Calloni told CNA Nov. 15. Fr. Solanus Casey is an American-born Capuchin priest who died in 1957.…Continue Reading

Swiss Planned Parenthood president invited to speak at Vatican

November 18, 2017 ( – The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life co-hosted a conference on the topic of end of life issues that included several speakers who oppose the Catholic Church’s teachings on the right to life, including the president the board of Switzerland’s Planned Parenthood affiliate, and the president of the pro-euthanasia Royal Dutch Medical Association. The conference, entitled the “WMA Europ

Catholic priests, activists to stand trial for pro-life witness inside abortion facility

November 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – On Monday, November 20, six pro-lifers will stand trial in a State of Virginia courtroom for their defense of the unborn—facing a possible jail term of up to 90 days. On Friday, September 15, 2017 in three different cities across the United States, pro-lifers entered abortion centers to talk to women scheduled for abortions. By refusing to leave the clinics when told to do so by law enforcement, they offered…Continue Reading


An Underground Priest In China Tells His Story

MADRID (CNA) — Fr. Joseph of Jesus is a Chinese priest, faithful to the Catholic Church. Life is not easy for Catholics in China. Those who adhere to Rome are persecuted by the Chinese government, which only grants freedom of worship to those belonging to the state-controlled Patriotic Church. Fr. Joseph recently shared his story…Continue Reading

SCOTUS Will Hear California Forced Abortion Speech Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Supreme Court on November 13 agreed to review the California Reproductive FACT Act, which compels pro-life crisis pregnancy centers to post notices regarding the availability of free and low-cost abortions in their physical clinics, printed material and online. The court agreed to hear National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA)…Continue Reading

A Book Review… The Sacred Heart Vs. Secularism

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Cor Jesu Sacratissimum, From Secularism and the New Age to Christendom Renewed, by Roger Buck (Angelico Press, 2016, 482 pages; $21.95 paperback, $10.12 Kindle). The Cor Jesu Sacratissimum of the title is the Latin for “Sacred Heart of Jesus,” and the premise of Roger Buck’s sizable volume is that the Sacred…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… Questions In The Aftermath Of The Las Vegas Tragedy

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

A Movie Review… “The Star” Shines For Christmas

By REY FLORES As children, many of us grew up watching television, particularly memorable special broadcasts of The Wizard of Oz, Rankin and Bass’ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and of course, all the holiday-themed Peanuts animated specials. My favorite was A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving where Snoopy and his little bird friend Woodstock fix a Thanksgiving…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Advent And The Time Of Testing

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER First Sunday Of Advent (YR B) Readings: Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b, 64:2-7 1 Cor. 1:3-9 Mark 13:33-37 As we begin a new Church year, we kick off with a question that burns in the hearts of many people: You are our Father, our Redeemer; why do you let us wander from your ways and harden our hearts…Continue Reading

Fr. Brian Harrison Says… It’s Not “Dissent” To Criticize “Confusing Cascade Of Papal Novelties”

By DIANE MONTAGNA ROME (LifeSiteNews) — Earlier this year, a group of over 60 scholars issued an almost unprecedented “filial correction” to Pope Francis, charging him with permitting the spread of seven heresies. This measure, unseen since the fourteenth century, has generated controversy around the world, while the number of signatories has risen to 250 professors and priests since it…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… The Kingmakers Reject A Papal Favorite

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The approval of one’s peers is a highly prized trophy in the complicated world of adult professional relationships. Many work for years in obscurity with little acknowledgment. The opportunity to be championed and appreciated is a blessing not to be taken askance when other forms of promotion are no longer possible for those already at…Continue Reading

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ… The Cisterns Of Grace

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 In the last article, I finished the text with a prayer for the bishops of Malta, who now allow people living in adultery to receive Holy Communion. May our Lady guide them to repentance, and to correct their wrong teaching, lest they answer before God our Lord for leading people into committing a…Continue Reading

The Recipient, Minister, And Celebration Of Holy Orders

By DON FIER A significant reform of Vatican Council II, as we saw last week, was the restoration of the permanent diaconate in the Western Church “as a proper and permanent rank of the hierarchy” (Lumen Gentium, n. 29 § 2). An ordained ministry that has always been retained by the Churches of the East, it can be conferred on…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Vicente Liem De La Paz

By CAROLE BRESLIN Vietnam received its first missionaries of the Catholic Church in the 1500s. These missionaries were predominantly Portuguese in the 16th century, with French Jesuits and the Dominicans coming in the 17th century. Throughout the following centuries the priests and missionaries suffered excruciating tortures and martyrdom. When the Communists captured northern Vietnam, Catholics fled to the south and…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Margaret Of Scotland

By CAROLE BRESLIN Quite frequently saints have left their home country and died in another country, but most of them died in a foreign land because they left to serve as missionaries to Asia, Africa, or America. The land of Hungary, however, has seen a few saints depart because they were of royal families, including St. Elizabeth of Hungary, who…Continue Reading