If you were to walk the streets of Bulgaria’s capital city of Sofia, you might happen upon a curious figure begging on the streets—an old man, dressed in ragged clothes, with a long, unkempt white beard and shaggy hair. You might, understandably, take him for a homeless person, and walk right by or put some money in his collection box. You might never give him a second thought. The truth is, however, you may have just encountered a holy man.
И днес е тук. Чинно застанал в ляво на храмовите порти, с ръка, протегната за лепта, сияе. И благодари. И на далите, и н…
Dobry Dobrev, or “Saint Dobry” as he’s known around the streets of Sofia, is almost 103 years old.
He is not homeless, nor is he truly a beggar. Instead, he has dedicated himself to living a simple life with an approximately $100 pension, in a modest apartment, where one of his last surviving children takes care of him.
Despite his steady income, he does take to the streets to earn money. Not for himself, but for others, mostly through churches.
He was called a saint, an ascetic hermit , a man who doesn’t take money, an angel, a divine stranger, a traveler from…
Every bit of money he earns through begging is donated to charity.
We are not talking about a few pennies, either. Dobrev has donated thousands of dollars since the time since he began begging. In fact, Dobrev has made three high profile donations to local churches. One was $5,000, another received almost $15,000, and once he donated over $20,000 to Sofia’s Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky. Not only is this impressive on its own, it was also the single highest donation the church had ever received.
Ако можехте, какво бихте го попитали?If you could, what would you ask him?
For all his generosity, however, Dobrev is a surprisingly quiet and humble man.
He does not give interviews, nor does he talk about his life. What is known is that he was born in 1914 in the village of Bajlovo and was married in 1940. He lost most of his hearing during World War 2 after a shell exploded near him. He has had four children, although only two are alive today.
Dobrev began his mission to beg for charity in the late 1980s, and even though he has advanced in years, he has since frequently traveled back to Bajlovo from Sofia to help operate a local church there.
What could compel someone to live such a life?
Dobrev is guided in his compassion by a strong adherence to his faith.
Добрият старец рядко напуска килията си. Излиза в двора на обителта на Кремиковския манастир само когато потокът от тури…