On the eve of the holiday of the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius, we turn the pages of the past to relive the great beginning of the first high school of the same name in the country


Daniela Kalcheva, intern

Today's Humanitarian High School St. St. Cyril and Methodius is the first Bulgarian high school. It was founded on September 1, 1850, by Nayden Gerov. He was invited to create the school by the Plovdiv leaders, led by Stoyan Chalakov, who donated a two-story building in the old part of the city.

In 1851, on the initiative of the founder, the Day of Bulgarian Education and the Holy Brothers was celebrated for the first time in the city in the eponymous Diocesan Primary School. May 11 was not chosen by chance - this is the common church holiday of the two saints. In the memorable 1856, when the icon of the two equal-to-apostles was ready, the day of St. St. Cyril and Methodius grew from the patron saint's celebration of the Diocesan School into a holiday of the entire Bulgarian population in Plovdiv, and only a few years later it became a real national holiday.

Over the years, the oldest high school in the country has had many names. From 1850 to 1868 it was called the Class Diocesan School St. Cyril and Methodius. On October 30, 1868, the name was changed to Plovdiv Boys' High School St. Cyril and Methodius and continued to bear it until 1885. On October 20 this year, Knyaz Alexander I Battenberg attended the opening of the new high school building, built by architect Pietro Montani. Since then, the school began to be called the State Boys' High School Knyaz Alexander I. Also following: First Boys’ High School Alexander I (1942 - 1948), ESPU Dimitar Blagoev (1948 - 1994), High School Knyaz Alexander I (1994 - 1996) and the present name Humanitarian High School St.St. Cyril and Methodius.

Some of the biggest names in the history of Bulgaria were part of both the teaching staff and the student body. The school gave Bulgaria six prime ministers - teachers Petko Karavelov and Andrey Tashev, high school graduates Konstantin Stoilov, Ivan Evstatiev Geshov, Bogdan Filov, Peyo Yavorov, Andrey Lyapchev, and Georgi Kyoseivanov. Among the impressive names of the students who somehow changed the appearance of our country and left us their legacy - some with their deeds, some with their works are also: Nayden Gerov, Yoakim Gruev, Hristo G. Danov, Petko Rachov Slaveykov, Exarch Stefan Bulgarski, Metropolitans Maxim Plovdivski, and Methodius Kusevich Starozagorski, Vasil Levski, Lyuben Karavelov, Stoyan Zaimov, Todor Kableshkov, Ivan Vazov, Pencho Slaveykov, Tsanko Tserkovski, Dimcho Debelyanov, Zlatyu Boyadzhiev, Prof. Asen Zlatarov, Maestro Georgi Pipanov, Panayot Pipanov, Prof. Georgi Bakalov, and many, many others.

In 2008, on the occasion of the celebration of 158 years since the establishment of the high school, the school museum of HS St.St. Cyril and Methodius was founded. Its creators are Mrs. Sashka Alexandrova (high school teacher) and graduates of the century-old school. This museum still keeps the so-called "Deacon's picture, which marks the Apostle of Freedom himself and the material book, which contains the assessments of students from decades ago.

Interestingly, students were then graded on a ten-point scale, but a grade of 10 is very rare, which speaks to how much more rigorous the assessment once was.

For 170 years, the oldest Bulgarian high school has been spreading the seeds of knowledge among hundreds of students, and its patrons, the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius, have protected both the building and all teachers, principals and students. The past of this school is great, but its future will surely be even greater.