120 Drawing Lines

As Russia tries to position itself to set up a final agreement between advocates for an independent Bulgarian church and the Patriarchate, events get away from them. The Uniate church continues trying to reestablish itself, the Bulgarian Legion gains its first taste of battle, and the young Romanian state make critical progress towards reform.




Timeline for this Episode

  • Jan 1 1862, The catholic priest Petar Arabajiiski was appointed leader of the Bulgarian Uniate church by a decree from the Sultan, however he refused.

  • Jan 2nd 1862, Rakovski writes to Knyaz Gorchakov assuring him the Bulgarians are attached to Russia and hoping for Russian assistance.

  • Jan 5th 1862, the Greek priests bribes a guard and with his help tries to break into the Bulgarian church in Plovdiv to hide the holy water, escalating tensions between Bulgarians and Greeks in the city.

  • Jan 6th 1862, Stoyan Chomakov began an initiative in which a special holiday mass is organized in Tarnovo held in the St. Stefan church, reaffirming their position against the Patriarchate. The Russians are angry that this is sabotaging their careful diplomacy to resolve the church issue.

  • Jan 1862, the Metropolitan of Adrianople Kiril created a project to resolve the church question but the Russians torpedoed it.

  • Feb 3rd 1862, A conservative government takes control in the newly formed Romanian state, the united assembly convened on the 5th in the new capital of Bucharest.

  • Mar 3rd 1861, Levski leaves Karlovo and wants to go join Rakovski’s legion in Belgrade

  • Mar 1862, The Bulgarians of Constantinople filed another plea to the new Grand Vizier demanding an independent church.

  • Mar-April 1862, the First Bulgarian Legion was formed in Belgrade, Rakovski planned for it to be the center of a future military formation of about 1,000 volunteers which will begin the liberation of Bulgaria.

  • 1-5 April 1862, Levski arrived in Belgrade and joined the Legion.

  • Early April 1862, Ivan Kasabov received a donation of 250 gold coins from the Bulgarians of Braila for the legion in Belgrade. During this period, Ivan Ksabov is Rakovski’s closest helper.

  • Spring 1862, the Porte appointed a mixed Bulgarian-Greek committee to examine the church question.

  • Spring 1862, Rakovski sent emissaries to the Tarnovo and Sliven regions to prepare the population for the coming rebellion. According to Rakovski, the legion needs to enter Bulgarian territory at the same time the rebellion begins.

  • 3-5 June 1862, In Belgrade fights erupted between the local population and the Ottoman garrison. Serbia attempted to expel Ottoman garrisons and administrators but failed, Belgrade was bombarded. The Bulgaian legion helped fight the Ottomans, winning local acclaim. Afterwards, the center of Bulgarian revolutionary activity shifted to Bucharest.

  • 5-6 June 1862, the Treasurer of the Bulgarian Legion in Belgrade and Rakovski’s nephew were attacked and robbed, leaving the legion without funds.

  • 13th June 1862, under the leadership of Hadji Stavri Koinov, the revolutionaries from Tarnovo organized a cheta of about 70 people which headed towards Gabrovo. The plan was for the cheta’s actions to lead to the proclamation of a rebellion, however the cheta is small and quickly dispersed by Ottoman authorities.

  • June 1862, the conservative prime minister of Romania was assassinated

  • 1st August, Rakovski writes a pamphlet in Belgrade calling bulgarians to rebellion

  • 7th of September 1862, the Bulgarian legion in Belgrade is dismissed by the Serbian government, they do this to avoid compromising themselves in front of the Europeans who they need to guarantee the treaty between them and the Ottomans.

  • 11th September 1862, the Uniate church delegation with Dragan Tsankov visit Aksenti Veleshki who is exiled in Izmit and propose that he accept the union with the Papal authority in exchange for being made head of the church but he says no and denounces the idea

  • December, 1862, with the help of people from the towns near the Danube, Rakovski is able to move Russian arms through Wallachia to Serbia

  • 1862, An American all girls school was founded in Stara Zagora

  • 1863, Spring, Rakovski travels to Athens and the capital of Montenegro on a political mission to determine whether a union between Serbia, Greece, and Montenegro for common action against the Ottomans might be possible. His visits convince him that it would be impossible for them all to collaborate because of conflicting territorial ambitions.

  • 1863, Spring, Vassil Levski returned to Karlovo.

  • June 1863, the mixed Bulgarian Greek committee designed to solve the church commission without achieving anything.

  • July 1863, Joachim II is removed as Patriarch

  • 7th of September 1863, Rakovski left Serbia for Wallachia, settling in Bucharest on the 18th.

  • 16th of September Robert College is founded in Constantinople

  • 15th October, priests in Tarnovo filed a plea to the Sultan asking for the freeing of Makiriopolski and his fellow exiles.

  • October, Metropolitan Sofroni is chosen as Patriarch

  • 1863, a Bulgarian catholic high school opens in Adrianople

  • 1863, the first youth center opened in Vidin, but because of what happened with the local Metropolitan, Ottoman officials closed it.

  • 1863, the first trade show was held in the Ottoman Empire with Bulgarian manufacturers taking part

  • October 1863, Cuza appoints a liberal PM in Bucharest, kicking off a period of reform

  • December 1863, Cuza ends negotiations over monastery lands and declares them secularized

  • 1863, the first of three church councils begins, each failing to resolve the Bulgarian issue (the others were in 1864 and 1866), only Greeks are chosen to participate

  • 1864, Rakovski became editor of a political newspaper in Bucharest arguing for democracy and collaboration between Bulgarians and Romanians and printed in both languages. However a lack of funds means only 10 issues are ever published.

  • 8th April 1864, Ali Pasha writes a letter to Cuza asking him to stop the newspaper and to banish Rakovski

  • 19th April 1864, on Easter, Vassil Levski renounced his vows as a monk by cutting his own hair. He then becomes a teacher in a village near Karlovo.

  • 25th July 1864, a newspaper begins publication in Constantinople called “Turkey” it’s pro-government and edited by Nikola Genovich. The first article discusses the desire for understanding between Bulgarians and the Sultan, referring to him as “the father” and denouncing the rebels.

  • 27th September 1864, Hadzji Dimitar ges to Wallachia after an unsuccessful attempt to remove the Greek Metropolitan of Tarnovo

  • September 1864, Makiripolski and Veleshki were freed from exile and settled in Constantinople. Both sign papers saying they will not serve in a church until the Bulgarian question is settled.

Major Characters in this Episode

Sultan Abdulaziz

Georgi Rakovski

Ilarion Makiriopolsky

Petar Arabajiiski

Knyaz Gorchakov

Stoyan Chomakov

Vassil Levski

Ivan Kasabov

Hadji Stavri Koinov

Aksenti Veleshki

Christopher Robert



Levski in his First Bulgarian Legion uniform

An 1860 engraving pf the Cotroceni Monastery in Bucharest

The main building of Robert College in Istanbul today