Posts Tagged ‘Saint John of Rila’

19 October Saint John of Rila Тhe Wonderworker – A little known Hermit saint of Great importance and fervent prayer intercessor for humanity

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

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I've already blogged a number of times articles of Saint John of Rila as he is The Greatest venerated Bulgarian Saint as of today his birthplace nearby today's Ruen Monastery as well as my inspiration from the Night Vigil prayer gatherings in the Monastery in his Memoriam in German. But I'm pretty sure this spiritual giant  is under estimated and little known to the public not only the non-bulgarian English speakers but even to Bulgarian and the saint deserves much greater veneration and honour than it has received through the ages for the fact he has been among the greatest prayer intercessors for the world until the beginning of ages.

For his immerse hermit achievements in a similar way as Saint Anthony the Great he has been granted All the innumerous Gifts of The Holy Spirit.
The humble hermit even in his life time he has been defined as "Angel in flesh" and a "Citizen of heaven".
The life of Saint John has been a X-th century continuation of the life of Saint Simeon the Stylites and Saint Simeon Stylites the Younger attempted to be repeated as far as possible by more contemporary saints such as Saint Siluan the Athonite.
 

He has been a teacher (even though he ran away from people) all his life. He has been the major establisher of Monasticism in Bulgaria, 

In 18 of August year 946 Anno Dommini saint John has departed this world. Dying with a painless way called in Church language with the term Dormition or Assumption – (meeling he did not felt any kind of fleshly pain as normally one goes through when he ends his life unsanctified). His Dormition  in a similar way as The Mother of God (Theotokos), an end of life who has been granted throughout human history only to few other saints.

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Saint John who spend his hermit lifetime in Mountain of Rila was born circa y. 876 AD and passed away to Christ on August 18, 946 A.D.
Thirthy four years after his dormition, he appeared in a dream to his pupils and has commanded them to dig out his incorruptable body and move it to in Sredetz (today the city of Sofia capital of Bulgaria). In Sredetz the holy relics of the saint has been kept in honour for 200 years.

Saint John has been a contemporary to Saint King Boris I the Baptizer of Bulgaria, King Simeon the Great (Son of King Boris, who raised Bulgaria to Empire reaching to 3 Oceans, who has been one of the largest empires of All times) and King Petar (Peter) the First. His glory as a Wonderworker who has been desired to been seen by many to receive physical healing or spiritual advice has been mostly through the rule of King Petar I (927 – 969). In Medieval times the Glory of Saint John of Rila has been widely known throughout all the Christianized Lands (including Byzantine Empire) and the West in the Catholic Church. The implication of his importance as a medieval healer saint and a model for hermit life and saintship and image for truthful spiritual life is well seen as his Biography (Living) is seen as he has about 15 Known different livings saying varyious details about his lifetime written in different centuries in Old Bulgarian Language and in Middle centuries in the new transformed form of Old Bulgarian writting called Church Slavonic, where saint has been simply adressed by monk name Ioan (John).

According to his biography we found until the age of 25 Saint John has been a simple shepherd. Until the yough age in his heart John had the burning love in his heart and a desire to dedicate himself completely to God. When his parents has passed away, he gave away all his received inheritance to the poor and sick people and entered as a aprentice in the monastery of today Boboshevski Saint Dimitar under the Ruen Monastery in the Mountain of Vlahina.

There in he received a Theological education, studied the liturgical books, received a spiritual dignity and prepared himself for the great spiritual mission of hermitage and life long prayer for the world. Receiving the monks schima, he gave away completely to fasting and prayer, initially establishing himself in Vitosha Mountain (most likely in today Monastery of German Monastery St. John of Rila (convent of Mount Athos Monastery of Zograph) nearby Sofia

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St. John of Rila Wall Painting XIV century from the Church Zemen Monastery Saint John the Theologian

In German Monastery often times the ancient Christian tradition of Night Vigil is followed on hist feast Major Christian feasts even today.
Later he has been for a while in the small Village  "Dobarsko" near The Europe Famous Resort of Bansko.
A short after 20 km of Dobarsko he has established The Most Famous Monastery for the Balkans, the Rila Monastery, a pivotal place whose light has shined upon practically all parts of the land as it become a school for tens of thousands hundred monks throughout the last 20 centuries. Many manuscript works prepared in Rila Monastery has been later on transferred in Today Ukraine, Russia, Serbia, Greece and even the Western Catholic lands.
There is no exact place in history when Saint John was officially canonized as in Medival Times, saints did not go through an official canonization but has been testified by the multitudes of peoples who has been cured by their wonder-working prayers. By the prayers of Saint John many has been able to conceive childs, leppers get cured and could walk, eye diseases were healed, full health has been restored or the gift of faith has been giving, not to mention the multitudes of people who came to Christian faith thanks to the prayers of St. John.

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King Petar I-st meets the Hermit Holy Father John of Rila (Wall Painting)

The story of the powerful medieval Bulgarian ruler Peter the First who travelled 450 Kilometers only to see the saint is well known. Travelling about 450 kilometers from the capital of Bulgaria Veliki Preslav to the Cave of Saint John of Rila only to meet him.

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The Cave of Saint John of Rila Cave exit

The monk however refused to meet him due to his immerse humility, where King Peter I-st was able to talk in a long distance via a valley with the saint, offering him gold and fruits. St. John refused to receive the king's gold, as he said he did not left the world and everyhing to it to attain gold or anything but to save his soul. He received the fruits not wanting to insult the king. Many people who deserved to learn a true monasticism and ascetism has quickly reached the saint and asked them to create a monastic brotherhood and wanting to be useful his poor brothers and having revelation of God that it is the will of God to establish the monsatery he accepted and become the first Abbot of Rila Monastery.

He passed to the Savior Christ about in year on 18 of August 946 AD being aged about 70 years old he has been buried in the Church porch in a stone tomb, preserved even today.

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Saint John Giving his Written Testament to his Monks (The Testament is Famous for the quote "I beg you children to mostly fear from the snake of avarice which is the root of all evils".


Until his death he has departed from the brotherhood in complete solitude and wrote his famous "Testament".  The Testament of Saint John of Rila he left for his pupils on 25 of March on the feast of the Annunciation in year 941. The text of the Saint John Testament is preserved in a copy manuscripts dated from the XVIII and XIX century and contains a multitude of quotes from The Scriptures of Old and New Testament

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The Living of Saint John of Rila


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A little known fact is that the Russian All Famous Saint Father John of Kronstadt (also a wonderworker) (Ivan Ilyich Sergiyev, born: 31 October [O.S. 19 October] 1829 + Passed to Christ: 2 January 1909 [O.S. 20 December 1908]) has received his Baptizmal name after Saint John of Rila as he has been born on his feast day and his parents following the Russian tradition to name the baby after the Saint honour in the Church Calendar gave the name John of St. John of Kronstadt. St. John of Kronstadt deeply venerated Saint John of Rila and asked his prayer intercession alway until his life time.
​In 1900, Father John established the women's monastery of Ioannovsky Convent, named for his name patron John of Rila, as a branch of the Sura Monastery of St. John the Theologian, where he was later also buried.

Recognition of Saint John of Rila Holiness shortly after his death


After his death in y. 946, st John has been buried nearby the established by him Holy Rila Convent, shortly after King Peter I-st ordered to be transferred to Sredetz (Sofia). Most likely this can be considered for original date of canonization of the saint. About y. 989 – 992 y. his holy relics has been transferred by King Samul and then Patriarch German-Gabvril (German-Gabriel) in Sredetz. This happened on 19 of October and since then on this date is venerated his bright memory.
Initially his holy relics has been kept for venerateion in the Church of "Saint Great Martyr Georgi the Glorybringer" and later on moved to Church of "Saint Apostle and Evangelist Luke". In the XII century in his honour the Church of "Saint Luka (Saint Luke)" was built near which a monastery has been established. The Byzantine writter Ioannis Skylitzes / John Skylitzes testifies that in Sredetz the Holy Relics of Saint John has miraculously cured emperor Manuel I Komnenos.

In 1183 during the consequential Hungarian-Byzantine war, the Hungarian King Bela III of Hungar conquered Sredetz and moved the holy relics of Saint John in his capitzal Estergom today the Komárom-Esztergom County. According to tradition the local Roman Catholic archibishop declared he has not been aware for the existence of a saint John of Rila and because of his words the saint has punished him with immediate numbness. Once he venerated the holy relics of the reliquary and begged for forgiveness, his speech was recovered. Amazed and worried about this miracle, in year 1187 hungarians transferred back the holy relics of the saint to Tarnovo? Bulgaria.

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The Return of the Holy Relics of St. John to Trnovo Bulgaria

On 1st of June the Church celebrates the return of the holy relics of saint John of Rila from Tarnovo to Rila monastery. In 1195 Bulgarian king Ivan Asen the First solemnly transferred the Holy relics once again to Tarnovo in the church still being built St. 40 Martyrs (dedicated to 40 Martyrs of Nikomidia). Until the church was completed the holy relics has been kept on Krastec Peak, now the place has a small chapel in honour of St. John of Rila The Wonderworker".

In 1469 year Bulgaria is already invaded by the Ottoman Turks, thus  after a permission from the Sultan, the monks of Rila convent brought the holy relics of the saint from Veliko Tarnovo to his established Rila Monastery, where holy relics are kept to this date and where anyone who needs a spiritual fortification, restorement of health, or suffering from unclean spirits (devils) could ask with faith and hope for healing for the saint and wait for the miracle.
I myself have had the chance to meet a man who has being to a Night Vigil to Rila monastery and testified that he and his life both being in his old age of fifties after not being able to have kids and trying out everything has asked the saint during a night vigil to pray for them to able to conceive a child and the saint heard their prayers and granted them a kid and she conceived right after that and brought to the earth after 9 months a very healthy and lively baby 🙂

Another modern miracle I'm personally aware of made by Saint John is the Gift of Faith in God which was granted to a Greek architect, I've personally met while being on a pilgrimage visit to Holy Mount Athos. The Greek shared that he had never been a believed in God and was a grown atheist, until he had a work duty to do some reconstruction restoration works in Bulgarian Rila monastery. Spending a few months as part of his business-trip duties, he has received the gift of faith. I've met the Greek (unfortunately no longer remember his name), nearby the monastery of Xenophontos.

 

The troparion of our rev. father John of Rila, tone 1

A foundation of the repentance, an example of the tenderness,
a model of the consolation and of the spiritual perfection,
oh Reverend Father, was your equal to the Angels life therefore
staying in prayers and fasts and in tears
pray to the Christ God for our souls.


Today the holy relics are miraculously still incorruptable and emit a specific nice odor  which is typical for many of other saints, a testify to the unbelievers for their saintship. The saints relics in a special reliquarium in the right corner behind the iconostasis icons. The right hand of the saint is kept in nun convent in Island of Tinos Greece and the story how it ended there is a worthy for a small pamphlet and I'll try to say few words on that in some of the next posts.

Let by the Holy Prayers of Saint John of Rila our Home Land Bulgaria and all Countries are granted more Peace, Love, Faith and Kindness and relief from the terrible diseases that are plaguing the world today !

Holy Father John of Rila Pray the mercyful Lord Jesus with All the Saints and The Most Holy Theotokos to save our Souls and grant mercies to us the sinners !

The feasts of healer saints Cosma and Damian and saint John of Rila holy relics return to Rila Monastery – An Orthodox Christian July Morning in Kavarna with Father Vasilij Selemet

Saturday, July 9th, 2016

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Saint Cosma and Damian Healer Saints Icon

As some who were in Bulgaria already know there is this new set metal / rock / underground feast called July Morning that started from years in Communism in Bulgaria but has a strong relation with pagan feasts being celebrated before Bulgarian inhabitans were baptized and Bulgaria become enlightened Christian land.

With recent serious attempt to resurrect all paganism under a new packaging through metal / rock / rap culture festivals and the rise of rebellion against the system by so many young peoplewhich started in America in the late 1960's by the Peace Anti-War / Hippy movement the tradition of rebellious and mixed head young people has quickly spread over all the lands which had a severe American Anglo-Saxon influence and after the fall of the communist-system and shortly before this influence born the so called July Morning a feast to receive the first Sun light on every 1st of July while camping near some of the beatiful Bulgairan beaches.

Young hippy / metal / rock / hardcore / techno people as well as other alternative people from all fields of undeground music and other sub-cultures from all places from Bulgaria and even abroad gather to have fun drink and enjoy the night and stay awake 'till early morning on 1st of July, then by tradition they play Uriah Heep's July Morning being inspired by the first Sun lights while others headoff themselves with inhuman quantities of alcohol, joint and other soft-drugs.

As Kavarna become over the last 5+ years, "The rock capital of Bulgaria" and a whole Europe famous metalheads destination the need for contra reaction from traditionally Eastern Orthodox Christian Bulgaria become so evident that one of the famous priests in eparchy of Varna – father Vasilij Salemet (A Besarabia Bulgarian Gagauz) who serves as a priest in Kavarna by God's great providence decided to start a new counterfeit tradition to give glory and prayer akathist to the double feast of ancient Christian healer twin saints Cosma and Damian (A.D. 287) known as Unmercenaries because of their refusal to accept any money for healing and The Transportation (Return) of Holy relics of the Greatest Bulgarian Saint John of Rila in 1195 from Tarnovo to Rila Monastery.

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The Return of Holy Relics of saint John of Rila from Tarnovo to Rila Monastery icon

This too significant Christian feasts providently coincided with the Secular July Morning and this was a good reason for setting the Eastern Orthodox Christian litia procession "march" antiope to secular July morning is the fact that in Kavarna on the Chirakman peak cape nearby the sea is situated an enormous sized ancient Basilica which was in favour of st. Cosma and Daminos. The Christian july morning started 5 years ago by the initiative of father Vasilij's laity from the Church in honour of The Dormition of the Most Holy Virgin together laity from saint Nicolas Varna Church and people from Varna's Orthodox Christian enlightenment Center archangel Michael which btw is also famous for organizing the Week of the Eastern Orthodox Christian book and other events who aim to help people understand the Truth and Light of the Lord Jesus Christ teaching and his established Holy Church, the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church.
 

In the event by tradition also the famous in Varna father Vasilij Shagan was present and he give a short talk on the topic of Today's world disintegration and the importance of the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ which called all for spiritual unity in faith of his Holy name through His established Church with his own blood on the Golgotha Cross.

A notable guests was  young people from Varna and Dobrich region, father Dimitrij who is priest in Moldovan Besarabia city of Bolgar as well as we had the blessing to have father archimandrite Konstantin an abbot of Patleina Great Preslav  / "Veliki Preslav" monastery which is either the most ancient monastery in Bulgaria or among the 3 most ancient established after the Baptismal (Christianization) of Bulgaria in 864 A.D

The host of the Orthodox Christian July morning event was father Vasilij who as always was very hospital and settled all the guests in the few Church rooms situated nearby the Church building on the second floor of a caffeteria building.

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Akathist to Saint John of Rila, the Klir singers back left
 

The whole prayer event started on 30 of June with an akathist to Saint John of Rila in order to honor also our great Bulgarian saint this year there was no vesper or a night vigil because the people were already too tired as some of the believers came in mid day on 30th and already went to Chirakmana (hill like) cape Basilica Saint Cosma and Damian in order to clean the remains of basilica foundations from the wild grass which was taking over the place because of the heavy rains this year.

Akathist to Saint John of Rila in Kavarna Church Dormition of Mother Mary

Akathist to Saint John of Rila 30 of June  2016 evening sideview to Alter Doors (Dveri)

 

After the akathist to Saint John of Rila there was a free dinner prepared by his wife presbitera (Matushka) Ekaterina and given by father Vasilij to all present borther and sister christians and father Vasilij Shagan give his 1.5 hour speach on the need of spiritual unity between Christians and through all through faith in our Risen Lord Jesus Christ, there was a lot of referrences to Bessarabia and their previous life in Besarabia and a short speeach by father Dimitrij from Bessarabia who as we understand used to be the inspirator for priesthood of both Father Vasilij Salement and Father Vasilij Shagan which in 1992 started their priest carrers as a humble seminary students in Sofia Spiritual Christian Seminary saint John of Rila.

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Father Vasilij (Left) and Father Dimitrij (from Besarabia)

Dinner Room in Kavarna trapezaria after akathist to st John of Rila

The Fathers Vasilij, Konstantin, Vasilij, Dimitrij during the dinner

It is always a true blessing to meet other Christians as Jesus said and the joy of the shared dinner which consisted of bread, clams, caviar, mashed potatoes  a nice salad of tomatoes, pepper, cucumbers and onion.

After having the shared table and joy to meet new brothers and sisters from Dobrudja region a lot of people had the chance to have long talks with Borislav Avramov (Borko Avramov) who is a key person and lecturer in saint archangel Michael Orthodox Center and Church and a truly famous person among Varna Orthodox Christian Youth.

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Starting the Lithia (Procession) 

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The procession – notice the unique beautiful nature

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The procession climbing the way to the Roman Basilica

The first Sun lights on July Morning in Kavarna

The Sun rising over the Chirakman cape, first sun lights

Chirakman peak cape sideview from top to sea coast and the many electricity generators on the background

Chirakmana peak majestic view from top sea shore – notice the many green energy producer fins

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The procession icon of St. Cosma and St. Damianos (right) and St. John of Rila (left) with the Holy Cross and Ripidions

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Lighting up charcoal for censor (incsensory)

The Open Church Alter in Chirakmana akathist to saint Cosma and Damian

Fr. Veliko (left), fr. Konstantin, fr. Konstantin, fr. Dimitrij

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Fr. archimandrite Konstantin reading prayers

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Christians praying at the Majestic Basilica Remains

In the morning the procession started from The Dormition of the Virgin Mary Church the youngest were given icons of st. Cosma and Damian and were leading the procession and the rest of Christians were following some of which singing troparions of Saint John of Rila, The Most Holy Trinity, Troparion of saint Cosma and Damian, Trisvetoe (All Holy Thrice) hymn, O Theotokos Virgin (Bogorodice Devo), Dostoino Esty and other Church troparions.

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During the Acathist to st. Cosma and Damian

We were pleasently surprised in the morning to find out that the priest from Holy Trinity Church from Dobrich father Veliko and his wife Conka with their 2 kids Mihaela and Andrea came for the akathist prayer to st. Cosma and Damian as well as our beloved brother Stelian and his girlfriend Marinela.

To reach Chirakmana cape the walk is downside about 40 minutes walk through a beautiful wild nature from both the right and left. The road has also a drinkable water for those who got too thirsty, once reaching near the sea there was another 25 minutes walk up to reach  Chirakmana cape peak  6th century ancient Basiiica of saint Cosma and Damian.

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Father Vasilij reading the Gospel after the Acathist

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The Basilica st. Cosma and st. Damian Alter

There were also people with cars so for those tired to walk the 40 minutes downside he can get near the seashore by car, I personally was too tired and we travelled with Galin and Andrea and their 3 children.

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Father archimandrite Konstantin blessing with the sanctified water from the Acathist

This year there was no Holy Liturgy service in open space on the basilica location like they used to serve 4 years ago but fr. Vasilij promised to do his best to make it possible perhaps on next year to have the proper tent installed in order to protect the Antimens and Alter from the wind.

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Common picture of everyone after the Acathist

We walked back the road from Chirakmana to near seashore and from their our friend Stelian took me and father Konstantin to drive us to the Church in other occasions I would have walked but since I was so tired from previous day, we travelled to Holy Dormition of Virgin Mary Church with Stelian's car after filling bottles with the mineral water spring situated on the road leading to the Church.

Once all come to the meeting point which was the dinner room we had a wonderful coffee, tea and a quick free breakfast generally given again by fr. Vasilij after which everyone who had a car travelled to Kaliakra Cape which is few kilometers drive way to venerate also the chapel in honour of saint Nicolas the Myrh-Bearer.


The overall experience and spiritual joy was great for everyone I expect the new pious tradition will continue for the next years to come. Everyone who wants is invited to visit and experience the truthfulness of the words of the savior of the Lord Jesus Christ who said:

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." – Mathew 18:12

Let by the prayers of Saint Cosma and Damian and the Greastest Bulgarian Reverend desert father Saint John of Rila the All Holy Trinity have mercy on Bulgaria and all Orthodox Christian countires and All people living with faith.

Trip to Ruen Monastery Saint John of Rila – The birthplace of a saint, a God piece of Heaven beauty on earth

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

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Last Saturday me and my wife Svetlana together with a Christian friend family (Tsvetomir and Dimitrina with their < 2 years old boy – Boris) went to a small 1 day pilgrimage trip to Ruen Monastery – (Ruenski manastery). The holy cloister is situated very near Skrino village, the birth village of greatest Bulgarian saint saint John of Rila. The village is located about 90 km from Sofia and is very near to town of Boboshevo. To reach Ruen Monastery when coming from Sofia, the traveller has to move in direction of "Kulata / (The Tower)" and to pass the village of Djerman and Usoika. Then before entering the village of Skrino there is a 5 km steep car road leading to the monastery.

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Saint John of Rila lived in Skrino until his twenties and due to Christian tradition he accepted monkhood in the nearby monastery next to Skrino and a bit later started a hermit life dwelling himself in his first hermit cave situated near Skrino. The Cave of hermit dwelling of Saint John of Rila is now situated about 200 meters from Ruen Monastery and represents a tiny cave encraved in a rock. The rock is so small that maximum of 2 people can be in cave together. It is amazing how a man could live in such a small space.

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Current Ruen monastery Church is recently rebuild in 1995 and the rest of monastic buildings are completed in y. 2002, but according to history it is known a monastery was existent on same place known in medieval times under name "The Holy Father" in  XV century.

Veneration to Saint John of Rila was so high in mid centuries that obviously people recognized Saint John of Rila among the greatest saints.

The nature view near monastery is breath taking .. On the road to it there is Struma river the monastery itself is situated in Vlahina mountain from it there is a sightview of part of Rila mountain.

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Near the monastery buildings there are two paths one leading to the Cave of Hermitage of Saint John of Rila and another one leading to a place with a Cross visible from throughout the region.

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The monastery though being among the newest rebuilded ones in Bulgaria has already 3 saint holy relics, one of which is Holy relics from Saint George the Victorious. We had the blessings by God's grace to also meet RuenAbbot Father Ioan (John). We asked the father how many monks are inhabiting the monastery just to get the humorous answer that half of the inhabitants are present (meaning currently in the monastery there are only 2 monks). Fatehr John was evidently very young kindhearted  person  probably in his 30s. He was quite hospitable and invited us for tea and cookies in the small monastic dining room. We had quite a few spiritual talks and spoke on hardship of being a monk in nowadays confused world.

We were send with the Father's blessings and a gift – an icon of saint John of Rila and a book with the history of the monastery from ancient times to now – the book included also the Testament of Saint John of Rila

On our way back before entering Boboshevo we stopped to see and pray near an ancient Church from the 5th century consecrated under saint Theodor (Stratilat) – a Christian martyr saint from the 4th century who lived near Black Sea.

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The Church is an unique Cultural monument as it contains wall patings probably dating back to at least 10th century or even earlier.

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Thanks God the weather was quite warm for the Winter season leaving impression Spring has come 🙂

A night vigil Holy Liturgy service in German Monastery near Sofia

Monday, October 21st, 2013

This Friday 18.10.2013 I was to a Night Vigil in German Monastery – Saint John of Rila Sofia,Bulgaria.

German monastery near Sofia Bulgaria picture

The reason for the Night Vigil was the Dormition of the Greatest Bulgarian hermit Saint – St. John of Rila (Mountain).

sveti Ioan Rilski Chudotvorets - The Miracle Maker Orthodox Christian holy icon

The whole Christiandome knows well about the reachless spiritual achievements of Saint John who become monk in 25 years of age. After spending few years in a monastery nearby his birth village Skrino. Soon after accepting monkship, the saint came out of the monastery and lived for over 30 years as Hermit in the Mountain of Rila, he lived in a small cave which nowadays is about 5 kilometers from the biggest active monastery in Bulgaria – Rila Monastery. Rila Monastery was established by direct followers of st. John of Rila. In the last days of his earthly live Saint John of Rila wrote a small testament to his followers, which is a great spiritual work and guidance for modern times Christians even to this day. The saint is highly venerated in Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia, Greece as well as Russia. A well known fact is the great love of one of the greatest new times Russian saint Saint John of Kronstadt for st. John of Rila and the Bulgarian lands. Its interesting and maybe less known fact by Russians that Saint John of Kronstadt's Christian name was given after saint John of Rila and not after Saint John the Baptist as many might thought.

sveti Ioan Kronstadtski snimka new times Russian saint

German Monastery is under official Governance of Bulgarian Zographus Monastery Saint George the Glory Bringer situated in Holy Mount Athos. German monastery is situated in 40 minutes walking from a small village near end of Sofia German after which the monastery is named. To reach the monastery the easiest way is to use Sofia's public bus transport and catch Bus Number 6 and go down of bus few meters away from beginning of German village. The Abbot of the monastery Hieromonk Father Pimen is part of the brotherhood of Zographus monastery and is leading German Monastery with Blessing of Abbot Amvrosij of Zographus monastery. The Night Vigil in venerance of Saint John Started around 21:00 and was a unique experience. Saint John of Rila Troparion and prayers were sung and recited many times. There was evening service as well as other prayers part of the Vigil I'm not aware of. Here in Sofia there is Orthodox Youth movement consisting of about 30 or 40 people and many of this people came for the Night Vigil. The little Church was full with people aging from 25 to around 60.

Seeing so many people who hunger for spiritual live here in Bulgaria was God's miracle which filled me with joy and hope that still the Bulgarian nation is not totally lost as many might think already. The Night Vigil continued until 04:30 early in the Morning the service was done only in Candles just like it used to be in the days of first Christians, just like it is served daily in Holy Mount Athos Zographus monastery. A Holy Liturgy only in Candles is something rare to experience these days so I'm very thankful I took part in it. I met a lot of young interesting people many of which was involved in IT (programmers, system admins) just like me also had a love for Christ. After the end of service there was an official festive dinner organized by the Abbot Father Pimen. Food consisted of Fish, Cabbage, Mixed cream-cheese with caviar lemon and bread and some waffles for dessert along with wine and juice. Like always in Churches in Monasteries blessed food is always mostly delicious. German monastery is situated near Mountain and there is no Mobile networks in it so being there you feel cut from the noisy quickly goign daily life and you can enjoy the silence. Near the monastery are woods and fresh clean air. Being there just makes you forget about all the stress and business and shrink in thoughts about life meaning. I highly recommend this blessed place to every Christian who somehow has a journey to Sofia. I'm thankful to God for giving me opportunity to visit this blessed place. This is second time I visit the monastery and hope in coming weeks I'll have opportunity to be there again.