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Bulgarian beggar, dubbed a living saint, dies aged 103

AFP  |  Sofia 

"Grandpa" Dobri, a hailed as a living saint in for donating thousands to Orthodox Christian churches, died today at the age of 103, church leaders said.

For over 25 years, the hunched figure in a threadbare coat and peasant sandals holding a cup for donations was a regular sight at the entrance to Sofias Seven Saints church or the in the city centre.

became the golden-domed cathedrals largest private donor with his gift of 35,700 leva (18,200 euros, USD 22,500) in 2009.

He went on to help a number of monasteries and smaller churches by donating the alms he collected through the years, which added up to considerable sums in Bulgaria, the European Unions poorest country.

"Grandpa" Dobri, as he was commonly known, led an ascetic life, lodging in a small hut furnished with just a bed and a table in a church courtyard in Baylovo, his native village near

Although he shied away from popular culture, he became an as fans set up several pages dedicated to him, garnering thousands of followers.

Street artists painted a huge image of the white-haired man holding a candle on the facade of an apartment building in Sofia, while media dubbed him "The Living Saint from Baylovo".

His name, which comes from the Bulgarian word for "good", has also become a symbol of goodness for many disillusioned Bulgarians in a country rife with corruption and where many live in poverty.

Surprisingly, neither the nor any other of the churches that he frequented hosted a vigil for him.

Instead, he was honoured Wednesday by his small church in Baylovo.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, February 14 2018. 19:50 IST