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The Virgin Birth Kilifarevo Monastery, KilifarevoCod 2534

Kilifarevo Monastery of the Virgin Birth is a Bulgarian Orthodox monastery, which is located along the Belitsa river, near the town of Kilifarevo. It can be reached easily by road to the south of Veliko Tărnovo city, after crossing the Stara Planina through the Haimboaz Passage. At 12 km, lies the town of Kilifarevo and The Monastery is about two kilometers behind him. There are tables engraved. The Monastery was founded in 1348. Later, when ottomans have conquered the city Tarnovo, they destroyed the monastery, too. In 1718 the monastery was built in the same place on the old ruins of the ancient monastery. The St. Demetrius monastery church was built by Kolyo Ficheto. The Monastery has several valuable icons, of which the most famous is the icon of Ivan Rilski with his biography.

The Monastery is there since the days of the Bulgarian Tsar Ivan Alexander, when n 1348 -1350, the Sf. Theodosius has built above the current monastery a large cloister. As the successor of St. Gregory Sinait, Theodosius sought a secluded place, convenient for prayer and contemplation. So, he found a place to Kefalarevo (today Kilifarevo), together with its partner St. Romil Bdinski.

In the monastery books were written, Bulgarian, Greek and Serbian lives of the Saints were translated, collections were consisted of liturgical books, Byzantine chronicles. Thus, arose the famous Bulgarian bibliography of Kilifarevo School, whose translations and books arrived in Russia and Serbia and brought great glory to the monastery of St. Theodosius. By 1360, the number of monks and scholars exceeded 460 people. Among them was the future Patriarch Evtimii who, after the death of Theodosius in 27 November 1363, continued his work.

When the Turks conquered Tarnovo, the monastery shared the fate of most monasteries, was destroyed and burned in 1393 and remain uninhabited for a long time. Only in 1718, at the foot of ancient monastery, was built the Kilifarevo Monastery of today. Then it was built and decorated the church “Virgin Birth”. Again, a part of the monastery was destroyed during the kurdzhalii riots at the end of the XVIIIth century, but shortly after it was restored. Due to additions made, today only the western part of the new place of worship is observed and the visible remains of the building – the semi ruined church.

In 1840, Kolyo Ficheto built a third church with a nave and a dome – “St. Demetrius”. The exterior walls are decorated with numerous arched niches in two stages and the drum-wall multi-pyramidal dome rises. Today remaining frescoes of 1718 are of the greatest interest.

Western and northern walls of the old church “Virgin Birth” were demolished and adapted to a chapel dedicated to St. Theodosius. The The old iconostasis, 1843, conducted by master painters of Tryavna was preserved until now. It was later built a second chapel, dedicated to St. Ivan Rilski. Three workshops were united under one roof, giving the appearance of today’s Church “St. Dimitar”. The most beautiful residential buildings with two floors were built in 1849.

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