Nativity of the Mother of God Convent

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Kilifarevo MonasteryThe Nativity of the Mother of God Convent was founded in 1348 by the prominent Bulgarian Hesychast Theodosius of Veliko Tarnovo with the support of Tsar Ivan Alexander.

Hesychasts were people, nearly all monks, who defended the theory that it is possible by an elaborate system of asceticism, detachment from earthly cares, submission to an approved master, prayer, especially perfect repose of body and will, to see a mystic light; which is none other than the un-created light of God. 

Theodosius became abbot of the monastery and turned it into one of the most important literary centers in Bulgaria and spiritual center of Orthodox Hesychasm. Here a variety of liturgical books, sermons and secular chronicles were written and translated.

The cloister became the center of the literary school, which in 1360 had more than 460 students. When the Ottoman invasion reached Veliko Tarnovo, the monastery was fortified with walls and towers. Tsar Ivan Alexander personally donated funds for the main tower and a new church. However, when Veliko Turnovo was conquered the monastery was destroyed by the Turks. In 1442 the monastery was mentioned again in the literature. In 1596 it became the hiding place for the surviving rebels of the second Tarnovo Uprising. Because of this the monastery was burned by the Turks and fortified walls were demolished completely. The monastery was never restored at this place.

In 1718 the monastery of Kilifarevo was started on its present location on the banks of River Belitsa but it was again burnt at the end of the 18 century. In 1840 the Renaissance master Nikola Ficheto began the construction of the present Church of St. Demetrius. He kept the old part of the altar wall and the two chapels of St. Theodosius and St. Ivan Rilski.

The temple was completed in 1842. In 1950 the monastery was transformed into a nunnery and received its name Nativity of the Mother of God Convent.

The convent offers accommodation with rooms of own or shared bathrooms. Food is available in a tavern at about 500 meters from the monastery. Phone: +359 6114 2480

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