Ilienski Мonastery "St. Prophet Elias "

Ilienski Мonastery "St. Prophet Elias "


The Monastery of "St. Elias the prophet" by the Ilientsi Borough in Sofia was built in the 14th century. There’s no definite proof to back up that dating, but most historians and scientists are unanimous about it. Foundations of an even older temple were found beneath the church – dated to the 12th century. Little is left of the original monastery complex . The church remained intact and is renowned for its frescoes – the wall painting layers are from three different periods. A small part of the first layer can be seen beneath a clean stretch of the whitewashed wall. It was dated to the 16-17th century when most of the churches in the region of Sofia were painted in fresco . The painting technique and images are reminiscent of the famous fresco artwork in the Boyana Church, stylistically typical of the so-called “Paleologos Renaissance”. At the end of the 17th century, while the church was being expanded the old frescoes were whitewashed and new ones were painted over the second layer. The top lime layer was laid in 1832. The remarkable icon of St. Elias, now kept at the National Art Gallery, dates from the same year.

The monastery complex consists of a church, a residential building, a fountain and a wooden belfry. At present, the church is a museum, not an active place of worship, but there’s a functioning chapel . The building was proclaimed a cultural monument.


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