St. John of Rila
Bulgarian IVAN RILSKI
One of the first Bulgarian monastics, St.
John of Rila was born c. 876/880
near Kjustendil. As a young man, he entered a monastery and eventually
became a hermit in the mountains north of Sofia. As his disciples gathered
around him, the monastery at Rila
was established and flourished. John
believed that monks should live in harmony and should include manual labor
among their spiritual works. His rule is his only surviving work. He is
said to have refused to receive Tsar Peter, co-ruler of Bulgaria and a
supporter of monasticism, because monks should have no contact with the
princes of the world. After John's death in 946, his body was translated
to Sofia and eventually returned to Rila.
Karen Rae Keck
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