WHAT is the religion? 

Walls of icons, no empty space exists.

      Eyes of saints look down upon you,

Is your name on or off  heaven's list?

Bulgarian Orthodox is the main religion of Bulgaria.   Orthodox Bulgarians peacefully worship side by side with Muslims, Jews, and others.  Besides the many Bulgarian Orthodox churches, I visited a mosque, a synagogue, and a Russian Orthodox church.  Many centuries old churches remain standing with their colorful frescoes still covering the walls. Many, many churches.  Around every corner - more rakia, please, Stefan! They were so well preserved and so beautiful with all the saints and frescoes, brickwork, and heavy wooden doors.  

Rescue of Bulgaria’s Jews during WWII - basically the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the Bulgarians themselves prevented Jewish deportation to the death camps.  They convinced King Boris to refuse the German demands and as a result, no Jew was sent outside of Bulgaria. 

Rescue of Bulgaria’s Jews  (link to more info)

Rila Monastery

Walking through the fortress gates of the Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila (ree luh), better known as Rila Monastery, was DEFINITELY a WOW moment.  We spent one night there and it was so quiet and peaceful.  Only our group and the resident monks (I think there were 9?). The rooms were simple (beds and a bath) but I opened the window and listened to the gurgling stream nearby and had the most relaxing sleep.  It is a beautiful place,especially at night.  The museum at the monastery is magnificent and has a tremendous amount of religious and historical displays.  It is not to be missed.  Unfortunately, you can’t take pictures here.

Link to the Unesco Site of the Rila Monastery and a short video clip


© Phyllis Nethercot 2016