Where silence has its temple
What took us to the spiritual abode over the village of Kalugerovo… A friendship where two play checkers and to these days remain the same children of the 1980s. It’s a long story. And it’s a personal one. We promised it will stay like this. But we’ll show you the monastery, because it’s one of the beautiful and peaceful places in Bulgaria and it’s worth swerving off the road in order to see it. Or else the road could take you right there.
No matter which direction you’re travelling from, make sure you reach Pravets and from there take the road to Kalugerovo. Once you are no longer on the motorway, the road is far from perfect, but not really bad. Anyway, it’s only 17 km on a narrow, but extremely scenic asphalt road.
The Chekotinski Monastery is at the end of Kalugerovo village right below the neighbourhood of Chekotin. It’s a men’s monastery. Only men can stay the night. Women are put up in another building at the end of the yard. The monastery is clean and tidy, everything meticulously maintained with a great deal of care and hard work. There are pretty drawings on the walls and the rooms don’t suggest asceticism. You can only spend the night twice a year: for Easter and for Archangels day ( 8 November)
Otherwise, volunteers turn up all the year round as there is a lot of work to be done and these people have to be accommodated for the night. There’s the vegetable garden, chickens, and a beehive which yield enough for a visitor to buy some organic produce. Home-made jam and walnuts are also in demand. Visitors leave donations.
Chekotinski Monastery dates back to the mid-twelfth century. According to legend, Tsar Ivan Shishman himself took part in building it. Destroyed during the Turkish invasions at the end of the 14th century, the monastery was rebuilt a hundred years later. It used to be a spiritual center and a school for teaching and copying theological literature. At the end of the 17th century it was robbed and set on fire by gangs of kardzhalii (Ottoman robbers and outlaws). It was restored again at the end of the 18th century and hasn’t been closed since.
See also the old church St.Archangel Michael. There are wonderful murals. The icons and iconostasis date back to the end of the 17th century. It’s so peaceful in there that not only will God hear your prayers, but you’ll hear your own heart. How it beats, what it desires, who it loves.