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Chapels - locations and meanings

The religion in the village is Christian Orthodox and it is surrounded by 24 Chapels of different ages and sizes built after the Village was invaded by the Turks who decimated all the monasteries and the churches in the area.

These 24 Chapels are placed in a circle surrounding Momchilovtsi and signify a "fire ring". According to legend they were built to protect the inhabitants and the village from evil and diseases and from further invasion.

On the two highest points of the village there are also Crosses approximately 10' high which are illuminated at night to protect the villagers/inhabitants whilst they sleep.

The Chapels are open 24 hours a day and each one is maintained by the families of the village. They are centres for celebrations and contemplation. A booklet is being printed to show the location and walks linking them.

The chapels and crosses also provide places of peace and tranquility and interesting walks to view the surrounding areas and the village. In the centre of the village is the much larger Church of Saints Konstantinos and Helena. Services are held at 5.00pm on Tuesdays and Saturdays and at 10.00am on Sundays.

Directly south from the peak of St Ilia, hidden in the Pine Forest, is the "Ayazmoto" - a place where many believes received healing. One of the stories is as follows:

On 15 August, 1980 (the Day of the Mother of God) the family of Anastas and Velika Draganovi when the the Bachkovo Monastery to try and find an answer to the problems of not being able to conceive".

True believers stayed in the monastery overnight and made a tour of the nearby Chapels "Bachkovo ajazmo" and "Kluviata". At this time the woman had all the signs and symptoms of pregnancy but a year had passed and she still had not given birth.

The family then visited a clairvoyant "Kotteza" who told the woman "You are not pregnant but you are sick. Go back to your village where there is a piece of grass with a stone above it. Dig there for the Glory of God and healing water will spring out of the ground.

Drink this water and let the priest bless this place. Then make a small Chapel that will heal every suffering man"

The family came back to Momchilovtsi and did everything they were told. The spring was blessed and is used to this day by those believing that the waters have healing powers.

Many Christians still visit the place on 5th May - St George's Day. The pray, light a candle and wash their faced with the water. They then take some of the water back to their homes to bring health and happiness.

Some of the other Chapels in Momchilovtsi are:

St. Nedelja” chapel – built by Hadji Nedelcho Kanev (an Italian school of stonemasonry)
„St. Theodore”, „St. Athanasius”, „St. Nicholas”, „St. Michael, the Archangel”, „Resurrection of Christ”, „St. Petka”, „The Holy Apostles Peter and Paul”, „St. Mina”, „St. Thomas”, „Ascension of Christ”, „St. Demetrius”, „St. John the Baptist”, „The Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Cyril and Methodius”, „The Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Emperor Constantine and his Mother St. Helen”, „St. Pantheleimonos”, „The Transfiguration of Christ”, „The Protection of the Virgin Mary”, „Holy Spirit”, „St. George”.

“The Nativity of the Holy Virgin” chapel – it is situated in the village. Several times the Holy Virgin has appeared early in the morning in front of young girls, passing by the chapel.

The Holy Water – a life – giving spring and a chapel. The Holy Water is respected by Christians and Muslims. It is famous with its healing qualities and wonder – working power. Together with „ St. Elijah” chapel, the Holy Water and its chapel are situated in a natural park.

As it is almost impossible to view all the Chapels in one walk they have been divided into 3 separate walks (please contact the Tourist Information Centre for further information)

Tourist Information Centre, Cultural Centre, 5 Elitsa Str. Momchilovtsi Village 4750, Smolyan District, Bulgaria