Cherepish Monastery

The Cherepish monastery “Uspenie Bogorodichno was built during the rule of tsar Ivan Shishman (1371-1393). In the monastery statute, which was written in the period between 1390 and 1396, it is mentioned that the monastery was destroyed during one of the last battles with the Ottoman invaders, which took place in that region. Until this moment there hasn’t been found any data about the history of the Cherepish monastery in the following two centuries. The architecture type of the today’s Catholic church confirms that it was built in the end of the 16th C. In 1762 Paisiy Hilendarski mentions in his “Istoriya Slavyanobolgarskaya” that the famous Bulgarial painter Pimen Zografski “renovated the Cherepish monastery by the river of Iskar and here passed away…in 1610”.

During the Bulgarian National Revival the monastery became a cultural and educational centre. A church school was founded and books, martyrologies and gospels were written and rewritten. Some of them include: “The Cherepish Gospel” from the 16th C. (1512), bound with golden covers and ornate with scenes from the Bible; “The Gospel of Danail”, rewritten in 1616, “Panegrik”- 1623; “Apostle” – 1630, a collection of sermons and instructions, called “Margarit” from 1732. In 1798-1799 during the time of the attacks of the kardzhalii (brigands in the Ottoman Empire), Sofroniy Vrachanski found shelter in the monastery. By 1836 the abbot Joseph had built “The Methodius building”, The Vladish building, the old abbot house, the reception building, the Rashid house, the church school, the Danail building, the chapel with the charnel house, the belfry, etc. The monastery church was repainted with mural paintings by Jonko Popvitanov from Tryavna and Vasil Iliev from Debarsko. Drillings have found that parts of the old mural paintings, created by Pimen Zografski, have been conserved. Among the prominent subjects of the interior decoration of the church is an iconostasis with an artistically made fretwork and a shroud, embroidered in 1844. The monastery has been declared a cultural monument of national significance.

The Cherepish monastery “Uspenie Bogorodichno (“The Assumption of Mary”) is situated in the Iskar gorge by the shore of the river Iskar. It is located 3 km away from the village of Ljutibrod, 90 km to the north of Sofia, 13 km away from the town of Mezdra and 25 km to the south from the town of Vratsa. You can reach the Cherepish monastery by car from Sofia following the main road to Mezdra through the Iskar gorge. In case you travel by train, you should get off on the Cherepish station and walk to the monastery (10 minutes).