Believers Complete Annual Pilgrimage Honouring Miracle Maker of Rila

Believers have completed the 14th annual pilgrimage honouring the Miracle Maker of Rila. They walked from Sofia to the Rila Monastery in Southwestern Bulgaria from August 1 to 6, going through three mountains: Vitosha, Verila and Rila. The journey, which is a tribute to the most revered Bulgarian Christian saint, John of Rila, ended on the Feast Day of the Transfiguration.

About 150 people took part in the pilgrimage, Ivailo Ganchev, one of the organizers, told BTA. He said that over the last four or five years a group from the faraway Black Sea city of Varna has joined the journey midway along the route.

“The weather was auspicious. It was not hot, and we reached the monastery before the rain,” Ganchev said. According to him, most of the pilgrims took part in the journey in non-business hours as it fell on weekdays.

The Pilgrims’ Way for the Miracle Maker of Rila was conceived by the Sofia University Faculty of Theology. It involves religious services, chants, and readings from the akathist (hymn) of the St John of Rila.

On Sunday, the pilgrims attended a liturgy at the church of the Rila Monastery. The programme included a procession to the grave of St John of Rila.

Church leader greets nation on Feast of Transfiguration

Greeting the Bulgarian people on the Feast of the Transfiguration, the Head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Neophyte, gave a quote from the Bible: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

“This transformation is a constant call to humans, and our Christianization depends on its fulfilment – a permanent task for all of us who want to follow Christ,” Neophyte said, as quoted in a press release by his office.

“This task is particularly pressing today, when, regrettably, there is again so much injustice in our world and we are faced with an unprecedented crisis of our moral principles and system of values. We cannot and should not expect any positive change in our private and public life unless the transformation begins inside us,” he said.