History of the Bulgarian Red Cross

After the Liberation of Bulgaria from Turkish slavery, according to the provisions of the Berlin Treaty of 1878, the Principality of Bulgaria (vassal of the Turkish sultan) and the autonomous region of Eastern Rumelia within the empire were established. Both in the Principality and in Eastern Rumelia in 1878 the first Red Cross societies were established. In May, the Sofia Regional Society for Assistance to the Sick and Wounded was established in Sofia, chaired by Metropolitan Miletius of Sofia. It includes and works a number of prominent citizens of Sofia, led by the governor of the district VP Alabin. On October 25, the Sliven Red Cross Society was established under the chairmanship of Metropolitan Seraphim. Its statute was approved by Prince Dondukov-Korsakov - Chief Governor of Eastern Rumelia. Immediately after the Unification of the two Bulgarian districts on September 20, 1885, the National Organization was established, chaired by Metropolitan Clement.

It was approved by an official decree of the first Bulgarian prince - Alexander Battenberg, who took the Bulgarian Red Cross under his protection. The organization was also recognized by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva in a letter dated October 20, 1885. Since its establishment, the Bulgarian Red Cross has 15 chairmen - important figures in public life: Metropolitan Miletius, Metropolitan Seraphim, Metropolitan Clement (Vasil Drumev), Dr. Panteley Minchovich, Dr. Panayot Zhechev, Dr. Georgi Sarafov, Ivan Evstatiev Geshov, Prof. Dr. Stoyan Danev, Prof. Dr. Vasil Mollov, Prof. Dr. Dimitar Orahovac, Dr. Lyuben Rachev, PhD, Petar Kolarov, PhD, Kiril Ignatov, PhD, Prof. Stoyan Saev, PhD and Mag. farm. Hristo Grigorov. The tradition of crowned persons to patronize the Red Cross was preserved during the king's dynasty. Queen Eleanor - the second wife of Tsar Ferdinand and Queen Joanna - the wife of Tsar Boris III play an important role in this regard. Tsar Boris III was the supreme patron of the Bulgarian Red Cross in the period 1918-1943. The Bulgarian Red Cross made a significant contribution to the formation and first steps of the Bulgarian public health system. He also built many hospitals in Sofia, Pleven, Haskovo, Burgas and others. The organization has been building and managing the Red Cross Hospital for more than 40 years - today one of the most modern and authoritative state medical institutions. In 1900, the first and for a long time the only school for compassionate sisters in the country was opened at the hospital. Many schools and colleges for nurses later followed his example. In its long history, the Bulgarian Red Cross has played an important role in organizing and providing medical care during the wars that Bulgaria is waging for national unification. He conducts numerous health courses to train Samaritan and compassionate nurses who care for sick and wounded soldiers and officers at the front and rear. The greatest trials for the organization in peacetime were the great earthquake in 1928 and the wave of refugees from the Aegean and Edirne Thrace, with which the Bulgarian Red Cross brilliantly coped and managed to save thousands of people from starvation and misery, mobilizing their own resources and the help of dozens of other foreign Red Cross organizations.

The Bulgarian Red Cross also organizes the training of the medical staff for its branches, as well as nurses in support of agriculture and industrial enterprises. The organization is the initiator and creator of the sanitary aviation and emergency aid in Bulgaria, as well as the organized gratuitous and voluntary blood donation. The main concern of the national organization has always been children's health. For Bulgarian children, the Bulgarian Red Cross creates many centers for health consultations, dairy kitchens, resorts, student canteens. The contribution of the Bulgarian Red Cross in the fight against tuberculosis is significant. In the twenties and thirties of the last century the local branches, with the support of the central leadership, built pavilions for tuberculosis patients and adults in Plovdiv, Ruse, etc. kindly providing them to the municipalities.

The Bulgarian Red Cross has repeatedly provided assistance to a number of countries. Two medical brigades were sent to Russia - during the Russo-Japanese War (1903 - 1905) and the First World War. He organized ambulances and a hospital on the Eastern Front during the first phase of World War II. The war against Nazi Germany once again proves the readiness of our national organization to work in extreme conditions, being true to its humanitarian principles. More recently, the Bulgarian Red Cross has mobilized the public in the country and carried out numerous humanitarian actions in support of victims of natural disasters and military conflicts in over 40 countries around the world. The state has always supported the Bulgarian Red Cross and has repeatedly shown respect and recognition for its great contribution to the humanitarian field.