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The Holy Forty Martyrs Church and the Monastery Complex “Great Lavra”, Veliko TarnovoCod 2586

The Holy Forty Martyrs Church of Sebaste, was built and painted on the order of Bulgarian tsar Ivan Asen II in honour of his important victory over the Despotate of Epirus in 1230.
In the middle of the 13th century around the temple is established the royal monastery “Great Lavra”. The famous church in Tărnovo is the center of a lot of important events. Some of the Bulgarian Empire’s most significant historical records are stored in the church, including Omurtag’s Column (815-831) Asen the 2nd columns with the famous inscriptions. There is also a column from the reign of Khan Krum (803-814).
Systematic archaeological research of the church revealed the tombs of a lot of Middle Age personalities amongst which is the Bulgarian tsar Kaloian, who died during Solun siege in 1207. After his death the troops solemnly move his body in the capital where he is buried with state honours. Ivan Assen II and his wife Anna-Maria are also buried here.
The temple also keeps the relics of St. Ilarion Maglenski. St. Sava of Serbia is also buried here. During his life was established the Independent Serbian Archiepiscopy (1219) His relics were transferred to Serbia and his tomb continues to be a place of pilgrimage. The Forty Martyrs Church is associated in the recent history of Bulgaria with a series of important events. The full independence of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire was proclaimed on September 22, 1908 in the church.

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