The Day of the Liberation of Sofia from Ottoman yoke - January the 4th, 1878, was celebrated with a series of solemn events organized by the Sofia Municipality, Sofia Holy Mitropolia, the "Alexander Nevski" Friends’ Association of Russia and the "Heroes of Bulgaria" Foundation.

The celebration began in the morning with a Thanksgiving prayer at the St. Nedelya Church, served by His Holiness Neophyte, Patriarch of Bulgaria and Metropolitan of Sofia. It was attended by Mrs. Yordanka Fandakova, Mayor of Sofia Municipality, H. E. Mr. Anatoly Makarov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Bulgaria and hundreds of Sofia citizens. Actually, 140 years ago, in this temple, in the presence of General Gurko, under whose command the Russian Army's Western Detachment liberated the city, the first Memorial Service in memory of the dead and the prayer for the liberation of the city took place. This was reminded to us through the speech about the liberation of Sofia by His Holiness Patriarch Neophyte. He also said: "Every year, in the early days of the New Year, our beautiful capital, the city of Sofia, celebrates one of the most memorable events in its millennial and full of vicissitudes history - its liberation from the centuries-old yoke and the beginning of its new and free life.
The liberation of Sofia is an organic part of the great victory of the Russian army, which began with the Pleven Epopee in December 1877 and reached its apostasy on the 3rd of March 1878 with the victory of the end of the war for the Liberation of Bulgaria.
That is why, on this memorial day, not only the citizens of Sofia, but also all the Orthodox Bulgarians are lowering their head in respect of the hundreds and thousands of sacrifices: Russian, Bulgarian, Finnish, Romanian, Belarusian, Ukrainian and other warriors who gave their lives for our freedom that we continue to enjoy until today..."
The ceremony was followed by a lithological procession and wreaths and flowers offering to the monuments of General Gurko and Tsar Osvoboditel in the capital.
A literary-musical program and a wreath-laying were held at the monument of the Bulgarian volunteer. H. E. Mr. Anatoly Makarov also gave a speech to those present.

Photos: "Diplomatic Spectrum" and the Press Service of the Embassy of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Bulgaria.