The revolutionary oath

The Bulgarian oath is undoubtedly a key element of the official dedication of our freedom fighters, not only to the activities of local secret committees, but also to the ideas of the revolution in general. The utterance of the covenant words has a great impact on the psyche, because after this moment the initiate is ready to take the path of self-giving to life and death in the name of the Fatherland. By order of Vasil Levski, the oath is made before the Gospel, the Cross, the pistol and the dagger. Through these symbols, the oath promises retribution, both from the earthly court, based on the laws of the committee statute, and from the heavenly one, as the divine is called as a guarantor through the mediation of the Bible.

The swearing-in of the Perushten rebels took place on a February night (23rd against 24th) in 1876, when the village was visited by Georgi Benkovski - the chief apostle of the 4th (Panagyurishte) Revolutionary District. We owe the description of this important event to Ivan Kepov, who notes:

"The first roosters have already crowed, but no one thought to leave. Due to the advanced time, the apostle did not want to delay the people any longer, he offered to swear in the case and to elect a local committee, which he did. Father Peter put on a patracheal (liturgical priestly robe), took the gospel and the cross, and swore to one. In addition to these Christian symbols, they all kissed the revolver and dagger that were placed on the table. Unfortunately, the exact words of the oath, uttered by Perushtans under the dictation of Benkovski, are unknown. Probably the oath is similar to that of Koprivshtitsa, documented by the conspirator Tancho Shabanov, in whose home on January 13, 1876, the newcomer Benkovski convened the revolutionary activists and renewed the old committee. The text is:

I swear in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit that from today we have no wife, children, mother, father, brothers and sisters. From today we swear faithfully in this honest cross and in this saber, and in this powerful weapon, which will save us from the Turkish yoke. We swear that from today we will listen to our voivode and carry out faithfully all that he has commanded us, and we will fight against our enemy, liberate the fatherland or perish for the glory of our fatherland and for the glory of God. Amen! ”

Today in the exposition of the Historical Museum in Perushtitsa are presented two artifacts - a Bible (edition from 1925) and a table cross belonging to the priest Peter Velchev. Unfortunately, the fate of the holy Christian book, the one vaguely mentioned by Kepov during the night meeting in February, remains unknown to this day. For the second exhibit, however, it is assumed. is indeed the cross before which the Perushtne rebels took their oath…

Text: Mario Jasim


Main sources:

Nedelcheva, Tsv. - The alternative "Freedom or Death" and the heroic feat of the Peruvian insurgents.

Kepov, Iv. - The uprising in Perushtitsa in 1876.

Grigorov, G. - The heroic declarations: the oath, the self-nomination, the photography, the disguise