Andrey Monov was visited by Saint Petka in a dream and was told to build the monastery
If you are looking for a day trip near Sofia, a place to pray in peace and quiet, or to ask for a personal divine miracle from God, then “Saint Petka” Cheparlya monastery is the ideal choice. The monastery is located on the banks of the Nishava River, 2 kilometers away from the eponymous village, Cheparlyantsi. From there you can reach the monastery very easily. The other option is to first visit the nearby Razboishki monastery, and then walk by the railway line to reach Cheparlyanski. However, this will take you significantly more time. Whichever route you choose, as soon as you cross the threshold of the monastery you will feel the special energy of the place. A short conversation with the layperson Bogdan, or Bobby as his acquaintances call him, will convince you that you were led to this house of worship
The Cheparlya monastery was built on an old sanctuary. Worshippers have considered the place holy since time immemorial. Even when not a stone remained, the locals called it “The Church”. According to a legend Saint Petka asked the monastery to be built on this very spot. She visited Andrei Monov, a 38-year old man from Lipintsi village with a wife and two children, in a dream. The non-religious man ignored the nightly vision of Saint Petka when she first appeared to him in 1920. Saint Petka, however, visited him again in a dream, and threatened Andrei that should he refuse her bid, troubles shall befall Andrei and his loved ones. Yet again, Andrei did not listen. The story goes that 50 animals from his herd died, but Monov stubbornly decided that the disaster has nothing to do with the saint’s vow. Then Saint Petka appears to him for a third time in a dream and declares that she will take his wife and children should he ignore her again. Andrey did not listen. Soon his wife, who was healthy and spry, died suddenly. His eldest son, barely 14, soon followed. . . Only then Andrey Monov believed in the power of the saint. Tosave his last son, a baby still, Andrei gave him to be raised by Bai Stanko from Cheparlyantsi – the village near where the monastery stands today. Thus, he saved the child, but in order for the Saint Petka’s omen to come true, his horse died.
After all these troubles, Monov decided that he should build the monastery, although he had no idea exactly how he would go about it. He began to clear the place indicated by Saint Petka and he discovered the ruins of an early Christian shrine, as well as two Byzantine funerary slabs from the 6th and 7th centuries. Both can be seen today by visitors to the Cheparlyan monastery.
After clearing the field, Monov wondered where to get stones for the construction, since he couldn’t find any in that area. Then Saint Petka meet him in his dreams again and told him not to worry. The stones would come by themselves. Andrey doubted a lot. But a few days after his latest prophetic dream, an unprecedented deluge of rain poured down, and in the morning the place that is today the courtyard of the monastery, was full of rocks that had fallen from the surrounding moors. No one in the village had seen such a miracle.
So, step by step, Monov built the church and the belfry. However, before the monastery was consecrated, Andrey dreamed again of Saint Petka, who told him to go and pray at the Holy Sepulcher. In 1933, the former secular and unbelieving man became a pilgrim, and acquired prophetic gifts. According to his divine visions, Andrei asks old man Mito, if he could donate his land, then adjacent to Monov’s building, to the monastery. The man, whose livelihood came from the fields, refused. Andrey Monov told him his own vicissitudes and explained that by refusing he was exposing himself to a danger and the wrath of Saint Petka. The peasant was adamant that he would not donate his lands to the monastery. After two months, Mito gradually began to lose his sight, eventually going completely blind. Despite his disability, he saw and believed in the power of Saint Petka and donated his land to the monastery.
Half a year later, Andrey dreamed that he had to call Mito to invite him to stay at the monastery for two weeks. This time the old man responded, and after the 14 days have passed his sight miraculously returned. Saint Petka is revered as a saint who helps the blind to see and the barren to conceive. To this day, miracles happen in the monastery to those who pray with true faith in their hearts. That is the categorical statement of Bogdan, who takes care of the monastery.
In 1937, “Sveta Petka” monastery was consecrated, and Monov, who a few years back, was a secular person without any thought of devoting his life to faith, became a monk and remained in the Cheparlya monastery until his death in 1969. The fate of Bogdan is also interesting. He has been taking care of the monastery for nearly 50 years without ever becoming an ordained priest. If you want to know how he ended up at the Cheperlyan monastery completely “by chance”, you should visit “Sveta Petka” to have him tell it to you.