CHEPURLENSKI MONASTERY SVETA PETKA
Чепърлински манастир "Света Петка"
Easy to combine with Razboishte monastery, which is just a couple of hundreds metres away. Make sure to visit Dragoman, Zemen or Tran as well if you're in the area!
The Sveta Petka monastery can be reached through Kalotina, driving through the village Berende izvor and then Cheparlyantsi. Then, the road is unpaved and you might have to walk in case the road is muddy. As you arrive at the monastery, walk into the garden and greet the friendly owners. They were very welcoming and offered me coffee and cake. They allowed me to make the clip you see below. At that moment, they were working on a place for guests to stay. However, they emphasized that it will be for religious people and not for all tourists coming by. It remains a place of worship.
The chapel is right in the middle of the large garden. There's a separate bell tower and then another building building where nuns used to stay. The owners, originally from Sofia, moved into this place. I assume the place was already left by nuns at that point. It might otherwise have been left to decay. The couple said they couldn't imagine being any happier than in this place.
Before there was a monastery here, during Roman times there was a settlement with a military post. After all, this place is located in the strategic Nishava river gorge. Then there was a first monastery which was abandoned.
The story of the modern-day monastery starts with 'Dyado Andrey' (Дядо Андрей). Dyado means grandfather. He was born on the 6th of February in 1880. It is said that when he was 38 years old, Sveta Petka talked to him in his dream. Dyado Andrey was told to go to this exact spot and make a monastery on the remains of the old one. He did not do so and ignored his dream. It appeared a second time and he ignored it once more. Then Sveta Petka appeared in a third dream and said "If you ignore once more, you'll lose three family members." On Monday, his wife got sick and she died on Wednesday. On Friday, his 14-year old child died. To save last, new-born child, Dyado Andrey handed it to the elder Stanko from Cheparlyantsi village. The written act is still preserved. This happened in 1918. It saved the child. However, Sveta Petka said three would pass away, so a horse died.
This time, Dyado Andrey follows the instructions and gets down to the place. Two tombstones were left, from the Byzantine era. He started constructing the new monastery, as well as the bell tower and other buildings of the complex. The monastery was eventually opened in 1942. Pictures of the event are still on display in the chapel. It shows the hills in the background, all without trees at that point. If you look now, the hills are covered with tall trees.
A fascinating history that the owners of the place will explain to you with a lot of pride. To live at such a place is heavenly for them and it was very impressive to see.