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Abstract

In 1920, the funeral took place at the Rila Monastery in Bulgaria's Rhodope Mountains of the journalist John David Bourchier (1850-1920) of Bruff, Baggotstown, Co Limerick, Ireland. One newspaper in Sofia led with the headline: 'Our Bourchier is dead.' When news of his death became known in Sofia, a crowd gathered outside the hotel where he had lived on and off for 30 years. His funeral service was in the Alexander Nevski Memorial Church, a stunning monument of neo-Byzantine architecture that commemorates the Russian soldiers who died in the fight for Bulgarian freedom in 1877, from what is still referred to as the Turkish yoke. The Irish man's body lay in state in the cathedral, with his face uncovered in the Orthodox tradition. He had a huge funeral, and the crowds lined the route through the city as the cortege made its way to the mountains.

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