Evtimiy of Tamovo

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Evtimiy of Tamovo Patriarch of Bulgaria 1375 to 1393

Our father among the saints Evtimiy of Tamovo, also Euthymius of Tamovo was the last Patriarch of the Church of Bulgaria as Ottoman forces defeated Tsar Ivan Shishman and captured the Bulgarian capital Tamovo during the late fourteenth century, thus ending the Tamovo based Bulgarian patriarchate. He was the Patriarch of Bulgaria from 1375 to 1393. His feast day is January 20.


A member of the boyar family of the Tsamblaks, Evtimiy was born about 1325 in Turnovo. He received his education at the monastery schools in the vicinity of Turnovo. In 1350, he became a monk and entered the Kilifarevo Monastery that was founded by Theodosius of Turnovo. After Theodosius appointed him his assistant, they traveled in 1363 to Constantinople and spent some time at the Studion Monastery, known for its center of learning and rich library. There, Evtimiy became well-known among the educated clergy of the area as he was influenced by many outstanding thinkers, scholars, and reformers of the spiritual life and beliefs in Southeastern Europe. However, soon after their arrival Theodosius died. Evtimiy then joined the Great Lavra of Athanasius the Anchorite on Mount Athos.

In 1365, Evtimiy went to Aton in what is now Greece, then a center for the Orthodox Church, where earlier that century many scholars and thinkers had lived, among them Gregory the Sinaite, Gregory Palamas, and John Kukuzelis. It was later, after he had moved to Zograph Monastery, that Evtimiy began to reflect on the spelling reforms and planned corrections to the translations of the sacred books.

In 1371, Evtimiy returned to Bulgaria and founded a monastery near Turnovo called “Holy Trinity” that became the center of the famous “Turnovo Literary School”. Here, he established his legacy. Evtimiy led the reform in the Old Bulgarian language, a reform that widely influenced the written language form in principalities the Serbia, Walachia, Moldova, and Russia. He discarded old translations of the sacred books, full of mistakes, and supplied the peoples of the Orthodox faith with new translations, in Old Bulgarian, that destroyed all reasons for disputes among Christians and their heresies.

In 1375, Patriarch Joanicius (Ioanikiy) died and Evtimiy was elected Patriarch of Bulgaria, with his see in Turnovo. An ascetic, Evtimiy persecuted the heresies and the moral decay. He became famous throughout the Orthodox world and a number of metropolitans and hegumens addressed him to interpret theological matters.

In the spring of 1393, the Ottoman Turks laid siege to Turnovo while Tsar Ivan Shishman was defending Nikopol. Left to defend Turnovo, Patr. Evtimiy and his forces held out for three months before the city was over whelmed. Patr. Evtimiy was sent in exile to the Bachkovo Monastery, now in south central Bulgaria. With his deposition and exile, the Tarnovo Patriarchate ceased to exist. The Bulgarian church having lost its independence became subordinate to the Patriarchate of Constantinople until the establishment of the Bulgarian Exarchate 1870.

The date of his repose is unknown, but it is believed to have been between 1402 to 1204. Patr. Evtimiy was subsequently glorified. His memory is honored on January 20, the same day as that of his namesake Euthymius the Great.

Succession box:
Evtimiy of Tamovo
Preceded by:
Joanicius II
Patriarch of Bulgaria
1375 - 1393
Succeeded by:
Cyril (Markov)
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