The Chiprovtsi Monastery "St. Ivan Rilski"
Georgi Jordanov

The Chiprovtsi Monastery "St. Ivan Rilski"


The long history of the Chiprovtsi monastery takes us back to the Early Middle Ages. The founding of the monastery was traced back to the 10th century, which makes it one of the oldest sanctuaries on Bulgarian territory. The holy place was bustling - the newly adopted Christian religion was reinforced and established, religious books were translated, orthodox novices were trained for ordination and priesthood. Later on, during the liberation struggles, the religious community actively supported the local uprisings. Although it was destined to be repeatedly destroyed and depredated, the monastery was revived again thanks to local benefactors.


The Chiprovtsi Monastery of "Saint Ivan Rilski "consists of a church, two chapels, a three-storey bell tower, residential and farm buildings. The elaborately decorated chapel of “St. Athanasius the Great" is the crown jewel of the complex. The skillfully carved iconostasis by the renowned master-carver Hristo Enchev is distinctly enthralling, too. The Ossuary tower keeps the remains of those who sacrificed their lives during the Chiprovtsi Uprising. One of the monastery’s most prized paraphernalia is the Throne gospel in silver setting, donated in 1800 by Paul I of Russia (the Emperor of Russia between 1796 and 1801). The inestimable asset is now kept at the National History Museum.


“Saint Ivan Rilski” is an active, year-round place of worship. It is situated at the foot of Yazova Mountain , 6 km away from the town of Chiprovtsi. 


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