The second part of the wedding ceremony took place in the Sveta Troitsa church, about a ten-minute walk from the Communist Party building. I had been baptized as Bulgarian Orthodox in August 1997, when I was the best man at a wedding in Plovdiv (click here for more, then hit the Back button to come back here), so I was able to be married in the church. There are three churches in Pleven. We chose this one because it was the most intimate and traditional. In this photo, we're leading the procession up the uneven stone steps into the churchyard.
We visited the church beforehand and told the priest that we hoped to have a very traditional wedding. He responded with a full choir and three priests to perform the ceremony.
We held ceremonial candles for the whole ceremony, and most of the guests also held candles. However, it was nearly 40 degrees Celsius (about 100 Fahrenheit) that day, and my candle melted in my hand. I had to change my grip on it from time to time so it didn't fall over!
Another traditional part of the ceremony involves wearing very old crowns. The priest explained in Bulgarian the significance of the crowns in the ceremony, but my understanding was limited by his singing-speaking (like a Gregorian chant). It was very beautiful, but I can't give you all the details of what he said. Anyway, a key part of the ceremony was Bobby's crossing the crowns. As a priest directed him, he lifted both our crowns and crossed them back and forth three times before replacing them. Fortunately, he's tall enough to do this for me. The priest had to ask me to bend down for him when it was time to remove my crown for the last time.
Outside the church, guests threw rice and birdseed. Here's our second "just married" photo.
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