The Rila Monastery is the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. At the heart of this monastery's history is the story of the medieval hermit Ivan. He was born in the 970's, and chose seclusion because of the moral decline during the reign of the Bulgarian Tsar Peter. He retreated to the almost inaccessible Rila Mountains. There he worked on his ideas, that were aimed at the underprivileged and for equality between people. His cave became a place of veneration for the Bulgarian people.
Photo: EPA / Vassil Donev