Minyo The Pope

The benefactor of the Gabrovo "Chitalishte" (Community center)

Portrait of grandfather Minyo the Pope

Minyo Ivanov Popov (Diado Minyo Popa/Grandfather Minyo the Pope) was born in the village of Bozhentsi in 1827. His father was a kurdzhia (traveling merchant without capital) and often took his son Minyo as a companion and help. And what he could not learn from school, he learned from life itself. At 12-years old he won one coin (mahmudia - an old Turkish gold coin), with which he bought a horse and thus began his unhappy journey as a kurdzhia (traveling merchant without capital). Amongst rain and mud, heat and cold, in the midst of bandit attacks he grew up as a strong-willed and practical man, but also responsive to human suffering.

Minyo gave 20 rubles for the acquisition of weapons for the Gabrovo uprising in 1876. He adopted the children of their deceased maid. Minyo moved to Gabrovo in 1880, where he traded with wool, wax and knives. In order to facilitate the kurdzhias, he built the road from the village of Bozhentsi to Gabrovo to the locality of Rodov dol.

He became a famous merchant and moneylender.

The proverbially frugal grandfather Minyo the Pope was the most generous donor for the construction of The Chitalishte (community center) or the so-called Theatrical-library building, for which he donated BGN 6,000 and 1,000 Napoleons and said: "This light must not go out!... If I am blind for the books, let others not be like me.” Grandpa Minyo died on September 29., 1911. As a symbol of gratitude, the people of Gabrovo buried him in the garden of the Chitalishte (community center). His wife was also buried there, and both of them have monuments.

Memorial plaque on the building of the "Aprilov-Palauzov" Community Center. Photo: © WCS "Mother's Care"

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