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The Chiprovtsi Monastery is a small monastic centre which lies about 5km from the town of Chiprovtsi, dedicated to St. John of Rila (also known as St Ivan).
The first building to be constructed on the site was probably built in the tenth century during the First Bulgarian Empire, when the area became increasingly Christianised. The Chiprovtsi Monastery has since served as a centre of learning and religious study and is still a functioning monastery today.
The history of the Chiprovtsi Monastery has often been turbulent. The monastery has been destroyed several times, with the worst destruction occurring after the failed Chiprovtsi Uprising. The current site was built in 1829.
Today, it is possible to visit the Chiprovtsi Monastery, though keep in mind that, as this is a working monastery, visiting times and access may be limited.
Monastery of the Holy Spirit
We all seek a place to help us push out the busy distractions and pressures of this world, a place where we can be restored.
Be inspired and gain a deeper appreciation of this sanctuary - a place that assists in communing with God.
When you hear of early monks and their joyful labors, you'll see into the hearts of those devoted men.
Explore beauty and simplicity at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit.
Experience a day in the life of a monk and learn about the history of the Monastic way of life at the Historic Museum.
Welcome to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit! We invite you to explore our site and visit our grounds to learn more about the monastic lifestyle.
History of Chiprovtsi
In 13th-16th century Chiprovtsi had been a busy mining village that enjoyed great favours. Here settled Saxon miners, who gave a further impetus to this activity. It is not accidental that right here in the flourishing feudal domains of the Bulgarian boyars Soimirovi a great part of the Bulgarian aristocracy settled after the Ottoman invasion. Chiprovtsi reached its economic, political and cultural boom in the first three centuries under foreign rule. Goldsmiths trade developed most in comparison to all other handcrafts. High artistic production had outlined the town as the biggest goldsmith centre on the Balkan Peninsula in 16th and 17th century along with Tsarigrad, Thessaloniki and Belgrade. Trade with the famous cups made in Chiprovtsi flourished not only on the Balkans and the Ottoman Empire but extended to Central Europe, too. Churches, monasteries, schools, rich and beautiful houses were built in this environment of considerable improvement and culture.
In 16th century the Literary School of Chiprovtsi emerged. Its heights are: Abagar by Fillip Stanislavov, the theological, philosophical and historical works of Petar Bogdan, Yakov Peyachevich and Krustyu Peikich. Petar Bogdan and Petar Parchevich headed the struggle for national independence in the middle of 17th century. In the beginning they relied on help from our western neighbours and the Pope, but were disappointed and began an independent preparation of a peoples revolt. In September 1688 broke the Uprising of Chiprovtsi that was headed by Georgi Peyachevich, Bogdan Marinov, the brothers Ivan and Mihail Stanislavovi and Petar Parchevich. The decisive battle took place in the area called Zheravitsa, where the troops of the Turkish vassal - the Magyar count Emerik Tekeli - defeated the Bulgarians. Those surviving fortified themselves in Chiprovtsi and in the Chiprovtsi (Gushovski) Monastery, but their defence was overcome, too. Outrageous slaughter and brutality occurred. More than half of the inhabitants were slaughtered. A great part of the survivors looked for refuge in Vlashko (Romania), Magyar and Croatia. The town was burnt down, devastated and ruined, after which it never reached its past glory. Chiprovtsi rebelled in 1836 (Manchovs buna) and in 1837 (headed by Varban Penev). Its inhabitants took part also in the uprising in Vidin in 1850.
In 19th c. carpet manufacturing developed very much. The famous Chiprovtsi carpets are handmade from pure wool on a vertical loom. Even today they find markets all over the world, and now in thousands Bulgarian homes the colours of nature in Chiprovtsi beam, collected and immortalized by the tender hands of the carpet masters in Chiprovtsi.
Medieval monasteries in England
Open a new browser window with a map of a medieval monastery.
Early monasteries originated in Egypt as places where wandering hermits gathered. These early "monks" lived alone, but met in a common chapel. By the fifth century, the monastic movement had spread to Ireland, where St. Patrick, the son of a Roman official, set out to convert the Irish to Christianity.
The Irish monks spread Christianity into Cornwall, Wales, and Scotland. St. Ninian established a monastery at Whithorn in Scotland about 400 AD, and he was followed by St. Columba (Iona), and St. Aidan, who founded a monastery at Lindisfarne in Northumbria.
These Celtic monasteries were often built on isolated islands, as the lifestyle of the Celtic monks was one of solitary contemplation. There are no good remains of these early monasteries in Britain today.
The Benedictine Rule
The big change in this early monastic existence came with the establishment of the "Benedictine Rule" in about AD 529. The vision of St Benedict was a community of people living and working in prayer and isolation from the outside world. The Benedictine Rule was brought to the British Isles with St Augustine when he landed in Kent in AD 597.
The Different Orders
Over the next thousand years, a wide variety of orders of monks and nuns established communities throughout the British Isles.
These orders differed mainly in the details of their religious observation and how strictly they applied those rules. The major orders that established monastic settlements in Britain were the Benedictines, Cistercians, Cluniacs, Augustinians, Premonstratians, and the Carthusians.
The first buildings of a monastic settlement were built of wood, then gradually rebuilt in stone. The first priority for rebuilding in stone was the chancel of the church. This way of proceeding meant that the rest of the monastery was at risk of fire, which accounts for the fact that many of the monastic remains you can visit today are in the later Gothic style of architecture.
Although the details of daily life differed from one order to the next (as mentioned above), monastic life was generally one of hard physical work, scholarship and prayer. Some orders encouraged the presence of "lay brothers", monks who did most of the physical labour in the fields and workshops of the monastery so that the full-fledged monks could concentrate on prayer and learning.
A Monk's Life
For an enjoyable look at the life of a medieval monk, read any of the excellent "Brother Cadfael" mysteries, by Ellis Peters.
The Daily Grind
The day of a monk or nun, in theory at least, was regulated by regular prayer services in the abbey church. These services took place every three hours, day and night. When the services were over, monks would be occupied with all the tasks associated with maintaining a self-sustaining community
Abbeys grew their own food, did all their own building, and in some cases, grew quite prosperous doing so. Fountains Abbey and Rievaulx, both in Yorkshire, grew to be enormously wealthy, largely on the basis of raising sheep and selling the wool.
Throughout the Dark Ages and the Medieval period, the monasteries were practically the only repository of scholarship and learning. The monks were by far the best-educated members of society - often they were the only educated members of society. Monasteries acted as libraries for ancient manuscripts, and many monks were occupied with laboriously copying sacred texts (generally in a room called the scriptorium).
In the areas where Celtic influence was strongest, for example in Northumbria, the monks created "illuminated" manuscripts beautifully illustrated Bibles and prayer books with painstakingly created images on most pages.
These illuminated manuscripts, such as the Lindisfarne Gospel (now in the British Museum), are among the most precious remnants of early Christian Britain.
The Abbey Hierarchy
The abbey (the term for a monastery or nunnery) was under the authority of an abbot or abbess. The abbot could be a landless noble, who used the church as a means of social advancement. Under the abbot was the prior/prioress, who ran the monastery in the absence of the abbot, who might have to travel on church business. There could also be a sub-prior. Other officers included the cellerar (in charge of food storage and preparation), and specialists in the care of the sick, building, farming, masonry, and education.
One of the main sources of revenue for monasteries throughout the medieval period were pilgrims. Pilgrims could be induced to come to a monastic house by a number of means, the most common being a religious relic owned by the abbey. Such a relic might be a saint's bone, the blood of Christ, a fragment of the cross, or other similar religious artefacts. The tomb of a particularly saintly person could also become a target for pilgrimages.
Pilgrims could generally be induced to buy an insignia which proved they had visited a particular shrine. Some popular pilgrimage centres built hotels to lodge pilgrims. The George Inn in Glastonbury is one such hotel, built to take the large number of pilgrims flocking to Glastonbury Abbey.
The decline of the monasteries
Monasteries were most numerous in Britain during the early 14th century, when there were as many as 500 different houses. The Black Death of 1348 dealt the monasteries a major blow, decimating the number of monks and nuns, and most never fully recovered.
When Henry VIII engineered his break with Rome in the 1530s, the rich monastic houses were one of his first targets. A few of the abbey churches near large centres of population survived as cathedrals or parish churches (for example Canterbury Cathedral, Durham Cathedral, and Westminster Abbey), but those that were isolated, including almost all the Cistercian monasteries, were demolished. Throughout the Tudor and later periods these shells of buildings were used by local people as a source of building material.
What to See:
There are numerous good abbey remains in Britain today Some of the best are:
It is believed that the first monastery in this place was founded some 2km to the north of the present-day buildings, in an area called The Little St Archangel. Its founders were two rebel boyars of the then-capital city of Turnovo –the Assen and Petar brothers. In the 14th century, the holy place was one of the main centres of Hesychasm and sheltered many monks. At the beginning of the 15th century, the monastery was destroyed by the invading Ottoman troops. Later on, it was reconstructed on a neighbouring site, known as the Big St Archangel, but the fate of this monastery was no happier than that of its predecessor. The Dryanovo monastery was restored anew at the end of the 17th century, this time in its present-day place. The main church of that time had a single nave and was half-hidden in the ground. It was standing very near to the present-day church besides it, there was also a secondary shrine. The renovation of the monastery was started at the time of father Rafail, during the 40es of the 19th century. The current residential buildings rising from the side of the river were built at that time, while the new church was finished in 1845. Gradually, the renovated Dryanovo monastery became a religious and cultural centre and one of the largest and well-kept cloisters in the region of Turnovo. Dryanovo monks took active part in the Bulgarians’ uprisings and plots against the Ottoman rule. One of the main quarters of the Bulgarian Central Revolutionary Committee in Turnovo was located exactly in the monastery and famous rebel leaders such as Vassil Levski and Georgi Izmirliev were often to be found there. There was a secret storeroom for food and arms, which was the reason why rebel leaders Priest Hariton and Bacho Kiro used the monastery as their fortress at the time of the April uprising. Only a small number of the Bulgarian rebels survived the battle with the Turkish troops, while the monastery was again set on fire with the church being the only building that is left relatively intact. The most recent reconstruction of the complex was carried out shortly after the Liberation. A new residential part and a museum were added to the existing buildings. The bell-tower was erected in 1925.
The Dryanovo monastery offers accommodation in cosy double and triple rooms. A few restraurants with good cousines are scattered in the immediate neighbourhood of the monastery.
The Chiprovtsi Monastery
The Chiprovtsi Monastery “Saint Ivan Rilski” is located 7 km from the city of Chiprovtsi. The monastery was declared a cultural landmark in Issue 22 of the State Decrees for 1975.
The monastery was founded during the 10th century, and during its existence encouraged literary and spiritual pursuits. The holy site participated in the country’s struggle against Ottoman rule that culminated in 1688 with the Chiprovtsi Uprising, when the monastery was used as a refuge for the insurgents.
The monastery has been destroyed more than once. The remains of those who died during the Chiprovtsi Uprising are preserved in an ossuary tower that is part of the monastery complex. The monastery church was built at the end of the 18th century and beginning of the 19th century. It has a single nave and apse. The Saint Atanasiy Veliki Chapel, which was built in 1880, is located in one of the wings that house the monks.
The Chiprovtsi Monastery is a functioning monastery. The annual celebration honoring the monastery church is held on October 19. At present the monastery does not offer overnight accommodations, since part of the complex is under repair. Informative materials and icons are on sale in the church, and the monks are prepared to provide information about the monastery’s history.
Availability for visits: Yes, free of charge. There is a path that leads to the entrance of the church. Accessible for people with disabilities
Transport accessibility: From Chiprovtsi, proceed northeast toward the village of Belimel. The monastery is roughly 7 km from the city and a short distance off the road.
Tourist infrastructure: Tourist Information Centre, 27 Pavleto Str.
The New Gold of Chiprovtsi
The Chiprovtsi rug is lightweight, woven from wool yarn and very durable. There are three features that set Chiprovtsi carpet weaving apart. First, the carpet is woven on a vertical loom, which is a much slower and laborious process, but the result is more precise and beautiful than the horizontal one. The vertical loom can only be manual replacing it with a machine is impossible. Secondly, each rug figure or ornament has its own symbolism, the origin of which lies deep back in the centuries. The oldest ones are the "kanatitsa" (from Turkish kanatlar - wings) and the "karachka" (symbolising the fertility goddess and also called "black-eyed bride") the later ones include the "tsveke" (flower), "pileta" (birds), spring and autumn vine the bombs", "the pots", "the suitcases", etc. are among the most recent ones. Another crucial feature of original carpets is the colour combinations, which should be harmonious, not too rich or bright. The oldest motives belong to the so-called "constructive period" when weavers were dependent on a still poorly developed hardware. The skill to weave in ornamental style only came later. Triangular motifs bear ancient symbolism, which, according to ethnographic studies, relate to male and female figures creating new life. This primordial symbolism has been somewhat lost in the new times and decorative aesthetics has taken the lead.
By the end of the 19th century, dyestuffs were only extracted from natural substances, hence the muted aspect of colours. Synthetic paints subsequently took the lead, but Chiprovtsi weavers continued to use natural ones as well. The bright red rugs we are so familiar with resulted from increased recent demand. Natural ingredients (e.g. onion peels and alum) provide pastel colours like tile-red. The brighter red hues had not penetrated the craft until the 19th century. Natural dyed carpets do not bleach and can be used for generations. The Chiprovtsi History Museum exhibits specimens from different periods, some more than a century old and perfectly preserved. A stunning one is the huge Chiprovtsi carpet, which adorned a rich family house in Svishtov before it wound up at the museum. The latter also has an original vertical loom. Live rug weaving can be seen in some of the ateliers in Chiprovtsi.
Nearly all of the artisans were women taught by their mothers and grandmothers and passing on the skills down the family. Until recently, a carpet class still existed in Chiprovtsi, but is no more today. This puts the craft's conservation in jeopardy, with the lack of any support or relief on behalf of the government making the situation of the few remaining artisans even more exacerbating. Unsuccessful (and often unethical) attempts have been made to borrow the Chiprovtsi rug weaving art elsewhere, including making imitations. Original carpets really exhibit the generations of experience and skills of these women artists. The demand for Chiprovtsi rugs does exist, with prices going much higher through middlemen than locally. If you prefer to buy a genuine Chiprovtsi rug and support the craft, go there or contact some of the local rug businesses.
Life Inside a New York City Monastery
Last Sunday, a few minutes before 11 a.m. Mass, about 20 parishioners wandered into a well-lighted chapel, exchanged pleasantries, and settled into pews. The celebrant was a young Franciscan whose sermon included a tale of Lenten penance gone wrong (as a novice, he forswore warm-water showers, but dreaded the cold ones so much that soon he was skipping those too). Before he began, he tapped the microphone and asked if he was audible: “The sisters said they were having some trouble hearing me.”
In the choir behind the altar, habits and bowed heads were just visible. They belonged to the ten nuns who inhabit Corpus Christi Monastery, the oldest contemplative Dominican monastery in New York State and one of the few active monasteries in New York City. Their sprawling seven-acre spread in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the South Bronx is a pocket of sanctity in a district—New York’s 15 th —designated by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2010 as the poorest in the country. A recent visit revealed a way of life alien even to regular churchgoers, especially in a bustling city.
Guests are welcomed warmly. Sister Mary Hansen of the Sacred Heart, a kindly former prioress and current vocation director, is the community’s de facto spokeswoman and frequent emissary to the outside world. Once there, however, access was restricted. Dining with the sisters was a non-starter—contemplative orders, it seems, don’t brook intrusion into their private spaces. So too was speaking with any of the other sisters—four Sundays into Lent, they had other, less earthly things on their minds.
In a conversation in the parlor—the room near the entrance used for receiving guests—Hansen explained the sisters’ daily schedule. Wake-up is at 6, followed by a morning prayer in the choir and Mass at 8. On Sundays, Mass is at 11 and wake-up is an hour later, a luxury denied this day by the beginning of daylight saving time. (Hansen had yet to adjust her watch.)
Midday prayer (11:15) is followed by dinner at noon and recreation at 1. Hansen described a casual and congenial atmosphere. “At recreation,” she said, “sisters laugh, some might play games. You know, do light things. One sister used to roller-skate. We used to have a basketball court, and we would play basketball.” She didn’t cop to any fierce competition, but recalled one sister who was “excellent.”
After mid-afternoon prayer (1:45) comes profound silence—where, Hansen said, “We try to keep complete silence. Throughout the day, we’re really not supposed to be talking, outside of recreation.” This goes for meals, where the only noises are spiritual readings or tapes. Exceptions are made on high holidays, sisters’ birthdays, and Sundays, when sisters “speak about personal things, things in their family, things that we have studied, our insights.” These (comparatively) chatty Sunday meals count as the day’s recreation.
Evening prayer, supper, and night prayer round out a demanding schedule, with an hour of optional recreation sandwiched between the last two. ”A few sisters watch the news” during this optional hour, said Hansen, “so they can pray for what’s going on in the world. Let’s say, we might pray for the leader of North Korea when he was threatening to….” She trailed off, but the prayer she alluded to is surely familiar to even the staunchest atheist.
The notion that most frequently needs disabusing is that the sisters are hermits. While they are contemplative—devoted to prayer rather than active ministry—they are not austere in the extreme like the Carthusians, who emphasize solitude and keep strict silence. “I don’t think I’m called to that,” said Hansen. “I mean, maybe for a short time, if I go on a retreat, for a week or ten days. But after that … I couldn’t do it permanently. I think I need community.”
The Corpus Christi cross that oversees the highway.
Her path wasn’t always clear. A child of privilege, she attended international schools in France and Germany, and spent breaks skiing in the Alps and visiting London and Paris with her mother. During the summers, she stayed with her family at their home on Manhattan’s Park Avenue. “I had everything, as far as material things,” she said. “But something was missing.”
The nuns at her Catholic grammar school had inspired her to become a nun herself. But, for a time, other interests got in the way, like a love of underwater photography that led her to join the excavation team of a famed Bronze Age shipwreck off the coast of Turkey in the early ‘80s. As for her calling, she said, “I didn’t think about it anymore. I was so busy, I guess, with my life. But then the call came back very strongly. At that time I thought God was calling me to an active community—because I wanted to be a missionary, work with the poor, and with children. But God had other plans.”
A vivid dream sealed the deal. Sight unseen, Hansen imagined herself in a monastery’s backyard picking pears with two novices. The next day, she said, she saw the same image on the Corpus Christi pamphlet her parish vocation director handed her. “When I came here,” she said, “as soon as I went into the chapel, I knew that this is where God wanted me to enter. You can’t really explain it, you know? You know it in your heart.”
When Hansen joined the community 20 years ago, right out of college, there were about 25 sisters (the monastery was built for 100). But recent years have brought fewer vocations—the last was a Sister Marie, who entered 15 years ago—and aspirants have come and gone without taking vows. Perhaps unsurprisingly, younger generations of aspiring monastics seem to be opting for a more active lifestyle. Hansen cited the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and the Sisters of Life as two popular choices for young people—and, indeed, Google searches of the communities yield pictures of hardy friars and dimply nuns.
As the sisters of Corpus Christi have aged, their numbers have dwindled. Of the 10 who remain, five are over 70, and doubts about the monastery’s future are common at chapter meetings. Doubts of a higher order are present in the contemplative life as well. “You do go through periods of darkness, or dryness, like you’re in the desert. That’s very common as religious,” said Hansen, invoking Mother Teresa’s prolonged dark night of the soul. She described doubts as “feelings” that don’t threaten to undermine her faith. “I don’t let it become part of me,” she said. “It’s just a feeling. And our feelings constantly change.”
She is sanguine in the face of the community’s uncertain future. “Sometimes we speak about the future and not getting vocations, and sometimes we have doubts,” she said. “But at the same time, God, if he wants this monastery to continue, he can do miracles—he can send people. So, you do have doubts—but what keeps me going is my faith.” She seemed similarly hopeful about the prospect of an article on the monastery. “Do you think we can get vocations?” She smiled. “You never know, right?”
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Klisura Monastery of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Montana
The Klisura Monastery of Saints Cyril and Methodius is a functioning nunnery. It is the fourth largest monastery in Bulgaria. It used to be a center of spiritual life as early as the Second Bulgarian Empire (1240). In the 19th century the monastery was completely restored. Numerous monks gather there.
Up until 2008 the Klisura Monastery functioned as a male monastery, with the last hegumen being archimandrite Antim. After that, with the blessing of Vidin Metropolitan Dometian, the monastery was inhabited by a sisterhood, headed by mother hegumenia Taisia. Situated beneath the Todorini Kukli Peak in the Balkan Mountains, in the Vreshtitsa River Valley, it used to be called Vreshtitsa Monastery. In the first years after Bulgaria fell under Ottoman rule it was destroyed and the place remained forgotten for a long time. In the 17th century six monks from another destroyed monastery in Bulgaria settled here with the intent to restore the monastery. That intent was thwarted by the events around the Chiprovtsi Uprising. The monks were brutally murdered because they refused to give up a band of rebels who took shelter with them before the search parties arrived. After the murder, the monks’ bodies were burned not far from the monastery. A spring appeared at the place of the pyre and later turned out to have healing properties. Many people with physical and spiritual afflictions were blessedly healed when they drank from the holy spring’s waters with faith. Six beech-trees rose above the spring – the same number as the murdered monks.
The monastery was restored again nearly a century later, in 1742, with a donation from the people of the nearby village of Klisura (today village of Barzia). But in 1862 the head of the Turkish army in Berkovitsa Yusuf Bei burned the monastery down, taking with him columns from the temple and even the throne stone to use in the construction of his bath. Over 120 people were murdered during this raid – men, women and children. After the massacre the monastery used to be called the Desolate Monastery. In 1867 St Nicolas appeared to Iliya Stoyanov from the village of Draganitsa and ordered him to initiate a reconstruction of the monastery. The Berkovitsa metropolitan at the time Dorotheus sent the young monk Antim, with the secular name Alexander Damyanov, to collaborate with Iliya Stoyanov. Aged 33, he came to this place and settled in a hut of branches and twigs. The drive to raise this place from the ashes made him first use his personal funds to restore the old chapel of St Nicolas, the kitchen and the holy spring. But years later he felt that this wasn’t enough. Archimandrite Antim wanted to erect a big temple to Saints Cyril and Methodius, as tall as we see it today. This was done with the permission of sultan Abdulazis, given in June 1874. In the following decade the interior decoration and the painting of the constructed temple continued. The lower part of the iconostasis was done by father and son Fandakov, representatives of the Samokov woodcarving school.
The icons on the altar were painted by Nikola Ivanov. The frescoes were done by professors Georgi Zhelyazkov and Georgi Bogdanov. The rise of the monastery between 1945 and 1987 was related to the service of hegumen archimandrite Antim III. During his time, with the cooperation of Vidin metropolitan Philaret, there was a gradual reconstruction of the monastery buildings, giving them their current look. In 1991 the monastery’s hegumen archimandrite Sionius, currently bishop Velichki, started a development project of the interior space of the monastery complex. After 2003, the hegumen of the monastery was archimandrite Antim IV, who erected monuments to archimandrite Antim Damyanov and Antim III, completely restored ownership of nationalized monastery properties and revived agricultural activity. In 2008 the monastery received a nunnery status. Six nuns live there, led by hegumenia mother Taisia. The sisters remain under the spiritual guidance of their elder archimandrite Antim IV. There is an iconography studio in the monastery where the sisterhood paints icons according to the tradition of the ancient Ohrid School. The technique uses egg tempera on massive boards. The liturgical process of icon painting is described in the traditions of the Orthodox Church. In its entirety, it has mainly been preserved in monasteries and has been passed down through the generations of monks. The medieval icon is deeply rooted in Bulgarian tradition and is part of the history of the Bulgarian people. It has adorned all the churches and monasteries in Bulgaria, it adorns the old temples that have managed to survive through the hard times. Furthermore, the monastery workshop produces decorated icons in a specific way. Their background is comprised of handmade details from gold and silver tinsel threads, beads, crystals and lace. In 2012, with the blessing of Vidin metropolitan Dometian, a Museum of Church History of the Vidin Eparchy was opened in the Klisura monastery.
The museum displays the history of the Klisura monastery from the 14th century to the present day. Apart from the history of the monastery, it is closely related to the church history of the entire Vidin eparchy, as well as to the Bulgarian church activists Exarch Antim I and Exarch Yosif. The Church Museum’s collection includes unique exhibits from the history of the Orthodox Church and the Bulgarian empire. The museum is the only one of its kind in the Vidin Eparchy and has a display case with items that belonged to the first Bulgarian exarch Antim I. He was also the first President of the National Assembly after the Liberation. One of the most valuable exhibits in the museum is a gilded silver gospel with fittings, weighing 25 kg. It was made in 1894 in Russia for a church in the town of Berkovitsa. Next to it pilgrims can see an even older gospel – from 1778 – donated to the monastery by Russian emperor Nicholas II. The museum holds many old icons and sanctified church items, painted and made for the Vidin Eparchy. This includes the Holy Mother of God from 1688, the time of the Chiprovtsi Uprising. The Mountain Leisure Park is located in the Klisura monastery and is accessible to all pilgrims and visitors to the monastery. Anyone can relax amid the heavenly nature of the Klisura monastery.