THE VIRGIN SPEAKS

by Minka Vazkresenska; photography by BTA

When explosions shook Sofia on that 3 July morning, the stench of gunpowder filled the city and for hours no one knew what was exploding, where it was exploding and how long it would be exploding for.

What we learnt later made our heads spin. The big surprise didn't come from the Defence Ministry, however.

It came from Professor Bozhidar Dimitrov. The patriotic director of the National History Museum revealed an unexpected aspect of his personality. Until now, we've known about his penchant for the media and his closeness to President Parvanov. We've envied his ability to churn out three books a year and think up interesting titles for them such as The Bulgarians and Alexander of Macedonia and The Bulgarians: First Europeans.

If the explosions hadn't happened, however, we would never have learnt that Bozhidar Dimitrov confers with the Holy Mother. "On the night before the explosions, the Virgin Mary appeared to him in a dream and told him to shut all the museum's windows because 'a great misfortune will descend upon Sofia," the newspaper 24 chasa reported. This wasn't the first time Dimitrov had experienced prophetic dreams. "On the night of 8 September 1976 he dreamt of a room in which doctors were caring for Mao Tse-Tung, who had just died. The next day, the Xinhua news agency reported that the great leader had indeed passed away." The Virgin Mary didn't get involved here – perhaps because the incident took place during the height of Socialism.

We can only hope that Professor Dimitrov dreams less when he writes his books on Macedonia and the first Bulgarians.

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