Saturday, May 28, 2016

Rila Monastery in Bulgaria

I recently had the joy of visiting the Holy Monastery of Rila, Bulgaria, founded by St. John the Wonderworker and Hermit (876-946). I have no pictures of the monastic church’s interior, which was glorious, because the Orthodox do not permit photography inside their churches. Parts of the structure date from the 10th century; however most of the monastery was built in the early 19th century after a fire destroyed the earlier structure. Bulgaria was at that time ruled by Ottoman Turks, but the people nonetheless contributed generously to build this glorious and holy house of prayer. Enjoy!

The Monastery Chapel lies within a high-walled enclosure.
Inside and out, detailed frescoes told stories of saints and figures in the Bible. 
The monastery has eight monks at this time, but room for nearly 250.
The medieval clock tower and bells did not burn in the 1800s fire.

St. John of Rila
It seems proper attire is important for Bulgarian Christians, too.
13th Century structure adjacent the Monastery
Doors are always significant, and quite often, they are small.

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