Severe and majestic, hidden in deep recesses of Rila Mountain, Rila Monastery is the biggest and the most respected monastery in Bulgaria. High stone walls with windows narrow like embrasures make one feel like standing in front of a citadel, but the silence of monastery’s patio, the warmth of wooden colonnade and galleries’ carved ceilings, the incredible frescos of the big church would touch one’s soul and the soul would shake itself from every day vanity, would sigh free and would contact the invisible and powerful eternity of the universe.
From a bird’s eye view the monastery looks like a spiral. The spiral of the infinite time, which stops in front of the faith in Divine Providence, in front of this mountain’s majestic beauty.
The monks live here according to the Testament, written by monastery’s founder Saint Yoan of Rila, the most respected Bulgarian saint, more than 1 000 years ago, in 10th century. When he felt that his earthly pilgrimage is coming to its end, the Saint left this Testament for his followers, withdrew into the mountain, and passed his last years as a hermit in a small cave.
Today to pass through the cave means to pass through a sinfulness test. Saint’s spirit is still haunting around his spring and his altar – The Prayer Stone.
Here, far away from rushing urban vanity, the life suddenly seems natural and pure, as if it belongs to this place as a part of wild mountain’s wonder, and leaving Rila one always turns back and comes again …
09.00 – Departure from Sofia
11.30 – Visit to Saint Yoan’s Cave /possible only in good weather, between April and November/
12.30 – Lunch
14.00 – Visit to the Monastery
16.00 – Departure to Sofia
18.00 – Arrival to Sofia