On October 19 is one of the temple celebrations of the Rila Monastery. Then the Orthodox Church celebrated the transfer of the relics of the saint in Sofia (then Serdica) after the saint appeared to his disciples and demanded the transfer of his incorruptible body. The holiday is just one occasion to visit the Monastir founded in the 10th century that is part of UNESCO’s World Heritage List of monasteries. Autumn is one of the most beautiful seasons to cross the threshold of the monastery to admire not only the miracles in it but also the golden colors of the season.
Undoubtedly among the symbols of the monastery is the miraculous icon of the mother of God, which is located in the monastery main church – the Virgin Mary. It is believed that the icon cures every pain, as long as you pray with faith in your heart. The icon has 32 rectangular barriers with saintly relics and was given to the monastery in the 14th century by the sister of the Bulgarian tsar Ivan Shishan, Kera Tamara, who was married to the Ottoman sultan Murad I. In the church, you can also pray for the relics of Saint Ivan Rilski, who are also miraculous. The saint is also considered a patron of Bulgaria.
The iconostasis in the church is also more impressive. It has been made for three years and is the largest in the Balkans. It was covered with gold several years after its placement. The murals in the church are painted by icon painters from the Samokov and Bansko schools. No less interesting are the exhibits in the monastery of the museum, which holds the first geographic globe in Bulgaria, made in 1836 by Neofit Rilski. There you can also see the Rafail cross, made for 12 years, and carved with 104 religious scenes and 650 small figures. It was such a colossal work that the monk Raphael become blind after finishing his work. The total exhibits in the monastery museum are nearly 400.
Among the other symbols of the Rila Monastery are the medieval Hreliova Tower, which is 23 meters high and is the oldest preserved building in the monastery. It was built by the Bulgarian feudal Hrelyo / Stefan Dragolf / in the first half of the 14th century. It served to protect the monastery brotherhood and as a hiding place for the values of the monastery when needed. There were also openings in the tower, from which hot oil was poured on the attacker. At its core, there is a well with drinking water.
In 1844 on the west side of the tower was built a two-story bell tower. On the 5th floor of the tower is the chapel “Preobrazenie Hristovo”, which contains the oldest preserved image of St. Ivan Rilski. At the monastery’s tavern, you will get an idea of how they fed during the Middle Ages. Close to the monastery is the cave of the saint, which is reached by a steep path. In it, St. Rilski spent seven years of his life. There is also a narrow tunnel and if you go through it it is believed that you can get rid of your sins.