Килифаревски манастир Рождество Богородично

Kilifarevo Monastery Nativity of the Virgin

The Kilifarevo Monastery “Nativity of the Virgin” is located 16 km from Veliko Tarnovo and roughly 5 km from the city of Kilifarovo.

The monastery and the iconostasis in the monastery church were declared an artistic landmark in Issue 51 of the State Decrees for 1973.

The Kilifarevo Monastery was founded in 1350 by Saint Teodosiy Tarnovski (Saint Theodosius of Tarnovo, a Bulgarian hermit monk canonized as a saint), under the patronage of Tsar Ivan Alexander (reign 1331-1371).

Before it was destroyed during the Ottoman invasion of 1393, the monastery became a key theological center, producing lives of the saints, translations of saints’ lives, liturgies, and the like.

The monastery was rebuilt in 1718, but during 1793-1798 it was again destroyed. Construction at the site was resumed in 1842, under the supervision of the highly respected Bulgarian master builder Kolyo Ficheto, who rebuilt both the Saint Dimiter (Saint Demetrius) Church and the monks’ living quarters.

Materials for the new church were taken from the former church. The former church, “Nativity of the Virgin,” was converted into a chapel and dedicated to Saint Teodosiy Tarnovski.. The monastery has another chapel, “Saint Ivan Rilski,” which like the other sanctuaries at the monastery are part of The Saint Dimiter Church complex.

Visitors to the church may view the sculpted wooden iconostasis most likely created by the celebrated masters of Tryavno, along with the other venerated icons in the church.

The Kilifarovo Monastery now functions as a convent. The annual celebraton in honor of the church is held on September 8. Nuns at the monastery can provide further information about its history for interested tourists. The monastery also offers overnight accommodations.

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