Bulgarian Orthodox Church

RILA MONASTERY

Home Hermitages and Convents The Monastery Ossuary

The Monastery Ossuary

Right next to the Rilska River, south of the monastery complex, are the graveyard church and the ossuary, located in a very solid two-storey building. Around it are the graves of monks who lived during the last few decades. The church, dedicated to the feast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple, was built in 1795 and occupies the second floor. Its ktetor is Metropolitan of Samokov Philotheus. It is built as a single-nave basilica with dimensions 10 meters length, 4 meters width, and 4 meters height. The author of the frescoes inside is the founder of the Samokov School of Iconography Hristo Dimitrov. It is here that he for the first time in the history of Bulgarian art introduced the motif of the “Descent of the Most Holy Theotokos in Hell”. The images on the walls are in two rows: the upper row depicts scenes from the New Testament, the lower - the images of monks and warrior saints. The ground floor houses the ossuary. In it are stored the relics of the deceased monks of the Monastery. Its walls are not painted. They were built of stone and mortar, and are 1 meter wide. The entrance to the ossuary is walled up due to the danger of desecration.