Pilgrimage/Religious tourism

Church "St. Paraskeva - Petka", Troyan

The church "St. Paraskeva - Petka" dominate over the central part of the town of Troyan. It is the oldest church in the municipality (except for the two monastery churches in the Troyan Monastery). It was built in 1835 and was consecrated on 14th October in the same year. Today, it continues to function as a temple and as a cultural and architectural monument.

Even Felix Kanitz, the outstanding traveller, was impressed by its facade and  after visiting Troyan, described it as "the architectural beauty of the town". According to the plan, the church is a pseudobazilica, with a large, spacious and fully frescoed interior.

From the north, the church has a wide front door, over which there is an arched plate with carved relief. It depicts St. George in two symmetrical motifs. Above the neck there is a shallow bay in which St. Petka is painted. On the south side there are two doors, one of which is for the altar.

In 1877 Troyan was burned down, and among the few buildings that survived in the fire is the church (probably thanks to its thick 1.6m stone walls). All of its wooden parts, however, burnt - the holy throne, the iconostasis of the altar, the Bishop's throne, church books and many chronicle notes, ancient manuscripts.

With voluntary sacrifices and labor the Troyans quickly restored their temple. The new woodcarvings were created in the period between 1901 and 1934. The iconostasis is carved by Methodi Balalchev in the style of the Tryavna school with a variety of plant and animal motifs. The frescoes in the church were painted in two stages - in 1911-1912 by the artists from Pleven Yosif Kish and Vassil Brashlyanov and in 1936 by Georgi Zhelyazkov, Georgi Bogdanov, Ilia Pefev and Alexander Davidov.

Undoubtedly, objects of interest are the icons from the iconostasis. It is believed that the oldest (painted by the Bulgarian Revival master Ivan Popraykov, identified as one of the most prominent representatives of the Baroque in Bulgaria) were donated to the temple of the Troyan Monastery. The other icons are made by different icon painters - Pencho X. Naydenov from Troyan, Racho Tiholov from Gabrovo, Petko Iliev from Kazanlak, Tsanyu Zahariev from Tryavna and others.

From 2013, the church in Troyan also preserves a sacred thing donated by the Archbishop of Yas and the Metropolitan of Moldova and Bukovina Theophan - the miraculous robes of St. Petka Tarnovska (Bulgarska).

St. Petka enjoys exceptional respect among the Bulgarian people and is honored as our heavenly protector. By the end of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, the relics of the saint were in Tarnovo, later were transferred to Vidin and Belgrade, and in 1641 they were placed in the temple "Holy Three Saints" in the Romanian town of Ias.

Since 1989, there is a tradition of dressing up the relics of the saint several times a year, and the old ones to be donated to churches whose patron is St. Petka.

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