German Monastery “St.Ivan Rilski”
Orthodox name:St.Ivan Rilski
Near monasteries:Urvich monastery
Location of the monastery:
The German Monastery lies in the Lozen mountain, in immediate proximity to the villa area of the village German (Sofia region)
One can reach the monastery be following the road which starts from the Circle road of Sofia and ends right to the village of German. The cross-road which leads to the German monastery is at the entrance of the village German. The decent asphalt road is only 5-km long and you will find yourself exactly at the monastery’s gate. In fact, the sanctuary is easily accessible by car, but one can also enjoy walking as it only takes about an hour to get there.
History of the monastery:
The German monastery was established in the 10th century and according to the legend, the venerable St.Ivan Rilski has lived there for a while just before he has found his solitude in the Rila Mountain. During the reign of the kind Petur, the monastery has been turned into an important spiritual centre and, respectively, a part of the “Sofia’s Little Sveta Gora” (Sofia’s region is abundant in cloisters). Soon afterwards, during the time of Byzantine domination when the monastery has flourished, it has been sent presents by the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Komnin. The holy cloister was completely destroyed during the time of the invasion of Ottoman conquerors in 1382 when Sofia city fell under their power. The shrine was restored one century later and it has rapidly turned into a cultural centre. The evidence for the importance of the monastery is the preserved German collection of the saint Nikola which is kept safely in the National Library in Sofia. In the 18th century, however, the German monastery was plundered again by the so-called Kardzhalii detachments. The monks who managed to flee and local residents started the reconstruction of the sanctuary and a simple, in terms of architecture, one-nave church, half-hidden beneath the surface was built.
After the Liberation, the then father superior of the German Monastery, Nikifor and his brother Cyril decided to rebuild the sanctuary. In 1886 the old church was torn down and a new one was erected over the same place. A new iconostasis, representing icons of St Ivan of Rila, St God’s Mother with Christ, Jesus Christ, St John the Precursor and St Nikolay Miriklijski, was also created. The icons were painted by the talented brothers from the town of Samokov-Ivan and Nikola Dospevski.
In the end of the 19th century, the German cloister was visited by the Prince Ferdinand and Princess Maria Louise who planted two sequoias which can be still seen at the monastery’s entrance. A few years later, the King Boris III also visited the monastery and planted a tree. It was decided in 1928 that German Monastery and its properties should have been owned and managed by the poor Bulgarian monastery “St.George Zograf” , located in Athos .
Architecture and present condition:
Currently the German monastery is functional and open to visitors. The monastery represents a complex of a church and one residential building. The present-day church was erected in 1886 on the foundations of the old temple and it is one-nave, one-apse building without a dome. The shrine does not boast frescoes, but it has valuable icons which were painted by the eminent brothers Nikola and Ivan Dospevski. Residential buildings in the German monastery dated back to the 19th-20th century.
Telephone number of the monastery:+ 359/International dialling code for Bulgaria 29928520
Places of interest in the region:
The remnants of an old Byzantine fortress, which was destroyed by the troops of Khan Krum in 809 after the occupation of Sredets (today Sofia city), can be seen to the north of the German monastery. The ruins of an old church were discovered in 1959 not far away from the monastery. It is believed that it dates back to the time of the First Bulgarian State and it was connected with the fortress situated in the near Kaleto Peak.
amir for German Monastery “St.Ivan Rilski”, 11.02.2016
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Paul Gagneur for German Monastery “St.Ivan Rilski”, 11.02.2013
Can I stay overnicht at your Monastery? Thank´s for responding! P:G.