Troyan Monastery "The Assumption" - Monasteries

Troyan Monastery "The Assumption" - Monasteries 
   Troyan Monastery "The Assumption" is about 10 km. Southeast of the old Balkan town of Troyan at the foot of Stara Planina. It was built about 400 meters above sea level, the largest monastery in the mountains is surrounded by beautiful forests and the Cherni Osam which gives the place more attractive. The complex is very well developed as a tourist attraction with many souvenir shops, restaurants and entertainment venues nearby.
The first signs of spiritual life in the region date from the 16th century and some even earlier - by the end of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (14th century), when the town of Troyan is created. According to the monastic chronicles, guarded by an unknown monk, the monastery was founded by a hermit, who came to this place and built a small hut for several years after the fall of the Second Bulgarian State. Hermit quickly won the respect of local people started visiting him for prayers and advice.Later he built a church dedicated to the Virgin.
 Between the time of its creation and 1830, the monastery is experiencing difficult times, it was often attacked and destroyed, and monks - killed. Dependence of the Troyan monastery of the Greek bishops in Lovech diocese who used lands and forests for their own enrichment, creates trouble for the monastery. This was decided in 1830, when a delegation of monks visited Constantinople (now Istanbul) to submit a request for spiritual, administrative and economic independence of the monastery. With accompanying letter by the metropolitan bishop Hilarion monks achieve your goal. Special diploma, issued on December 4, 1830 and signed by the Ecumenical Patriarch Constandios gives the monastery the desired autonomy by declaring it "stauropegial" - means that he is exempted from the jurisdiction of the local bishop and Lovech is directly subordinate to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Henceforth, the monastery expanded and became the spiritual and cultural center.
 The monastery was built in the spirit of the Bulgarian Revival. The church "St. Nikolai" is the oldest and also the best preserved religious building in the region, although it is located outside the complex, about half an hour walk south. The monastery church "Assumption" was built in 1835 from the master of the village named Constantine Cave, Kyustendil. It is built of large stone and brick, alternating rows of arched niches, and impress foreign visitors with its architecture. One tourist, Hungarian Felix Kanitz, expressed his admiration of the church in his book "Danube Bulgaria and the Balkans" in 1871.




     Although the parts were built by different masters at different times, the monastery is remarkable for its harmony. Monastic buildings are 3 and 4 floors, with long open balconies that overlook the courtyard, and columns and railings in the style of old Bulgarian cell schools. The frescoes in the monastery and church are the work of famous artist Zahari Zograf of Samokov school of art and iconography. Icons of the church are made by other masters of Samokov school, including the brother of Zachary - Dimitar Zograf. In view of the fact that Zachary and his classmates created numerous murals preserved in the monasteries, those in the Trojan wall art reminiscent of many others, including the famous Rila Monastery. However, the ornamentation of the "Assumption" is more lavish of baroque style, with winding branches and flowers.
     Like other monasteries, which has been employed (eg Bachkovo), Zachary and here makes his own portrait, which puts the church next to that of the abbot. Another noteworthy image is the altar and contains all 27 monks lived in the monastery at that time. On the outer wall of the building complex also has an interesting pattern that does not fit the style of the monastery murals. On her Zachary Zograf depicts a lion and an elephant to symbolize strength and peace Bulgarian during the long Ottoman rule. And impressive carvings on the iconostasis of the church, made of walnut wood from Tryavna masters.
     Like other Bulgarian monasteries that also has its miraculous icon, which arrives at the monastery at the time of its creation and is called "St. Mary Three-handed." According to legend, the icon was donated by a monk who settled for a time Trojan in hermit during his time in the monasteries of Athos to Wallachia.
     Along with his spiritual role, the monastery creates great Bulgarian writers, translators and teachers, and historians such as Monk Spiridon, author of the second book about the history of the country (1792). He was closely associated in people's struggle against Ottoman rule. Like other monasteries, Troyan was also a refuge for the Apostle of freedom Vasil Levski, who formed revolutionary committees not only in the Trojan, but also in the monastery. Secret Committee monastery numbered 80 monks and was headed by Archimandrite Macarius. At that time (mid-19th century) the production of books fading at the expense of the activities of monks in search of weapons. During the Russo-Turkish War osoboditelna Father Makari transformed complex in hospital for Russian soldiers and provide any assistance to their army.

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