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The Monastery of St Ivan Of Rila – the fist of Bulgarian history

The Rila Monastery is situated at 1,147 meters above sea level among the scented coniferous forests of the Rila Mountains.

The Rila Monastery was founded in the thirties. In the place of the old lawn in Rila mountain. During the time of its existence, the monastery was repeatedly reconstructed, demolished and restored. The Rila Monastery has acquired its present appearance in the middle of the last century. It is the largest and most revered Bulgarian cloister.

It is believed that the founder of the Rila Monastery was the first Bulgarian monk-reverend John Rilski (876-946), who chose the desert route as a means of spiritual improvement and protest against the contraction of the high moral norms of true Christianity. Born in the 1970s, witnessing the decline of the First Bulgarian Kingdom during the time of Tsar Peter, he became one of the most significant figures of the Middle Ages, influenced the entire Eastern Orthodox world and was honored as a saint under the name of John Rilski. During the Byzantine slavery the monastic brotherhood, founded by him, turned the monastery into the support of the Bulgarian national consciousness and after the creation of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom his relics were transferred to the then capital of Veliko Tarnovo as the most important sanctuary for the Bulgarian people.


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Written by Olga N


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