"St. Theodor Tyron and Theodor Stratilat" church

Bulgarian sights
Location:  Blagoevgrad Region, Dobarsko

"St. Theodor Tyron and Theodor Stratilat" church is a unique monument of culture located in the village of Dobarsko, Razlog municipality, Blagoevgrad Region. It is situated 18 km north of Razlog, 19 km in the same direction of Bansko, 70 km east of Blagoevgrad and approximately 164 km south-east of the capital Sofia city.

the legend

The temple's history is intertwined with ancient mystique and legendary tales. According to an ancient tale the saints Theodor Tyron and Theodor Stratilat were Byzantine warriors, patrons of the Christian army. Legend has it that the first people to have settled here were King Samuil's warriors blinded after the battle of Klyuch in 1014. After the defeat they leave for Rila Monastery but bad winter conditions prevent them from reaching it. They are healed by the water that springs from the church's yard. According to another legend Clement of Ohrid used to heal his eyes with the water.

The church was built in 1614 although judging from the inscription on the plate, dug into the floor before the altar, it can be assumed that the year of construction is 1122. The temple was small in size and did not differ on the outside from the other buildings as the Turks demanded. It looked more like a small fortified stronghold - dug in the land by half, without a bell tower and dome, with small windows - vents.

The church itself represents a small three-nave basillica where you can still see the excellently preserved faces of above 460 biblical and local heros. Nothing in the church has been restored. It is famous for its priceless frescoes and icons characterised by great craftsmanship and non-traditional methods.

the frescoes

The frescoes in "St. Theodor Tyron and Theodor Stratilat" were made by an unknown craftsman from the village of Dobarsko who has represented biblical scenes, the faces of a lot of saints as well as local legends.

  • "The Donor portrait" - the three donors and their craftsmen. Legend has it that the most prominent of them - donor Hasina, visited Jerusalem and other holy places and brought sacred soil from the Holy Land in this church. For this reason, people who can not get to the Holy Land, receive blessing, purification and spiritual grace by visiting the old church;
  • The Golden iconostasis - on the bottom row in gold frames are arranged the icons of St. Theodore Tyron, St. Theodore Stratilat, Virgin Mary, Jesus, John the Baptist and the Archangel Michael. The 12 apostles of Christ are above them in ful length;
  • The mural, depicting one of Christ's wonders - healing the blind. Two blind men are paited on the mural and the canon dictates that only can be painted. Researchers suggest that this reflects the legend for the blinded warriors of King Samuil;
  • "Transfiguration of Christ" mural, where Jesus flies to heaven in body resembling a rocket;
  • "Resurrection" mural depicting how Jesus Christ descends into the underworld in a capsule-like appliance to resurrect the dead.

There is a spring  in the courtyard of the temple whose water, according to legend, is healing. Nowadays the church is among the cultural monuments protected by UNESCO. Although worships are not performed here, the church is open to visitors. The temple was declared a national monument of culture and is one of the 100 Tourist Sites of Bulgaria.

At the beginning of the village of Dobarsko you will find a visitors' center offering different services as well as information and promotional materials and souvenirs.


The village of Dobarsko can be reached if you take main road E85 east of Razlog. After 5 km you take the left turn and about 15 km farther you reach the village itself. The church "St. Theodor Tyron and Theodor Stratilat" is situated in the very center.


Visitors of the village can take advantage of a few guest houses and one hotel in Dobarsko as well as of 2 villas and 1 hotel in the village of Dolno Draglishte /7 km in the south-west/.

Sources: http://kasnaprolet9999.blog.bghttp://bulgariatravel.orghttp://www.pravoslavieto.com
Photos: http://www.tourism-bg.nethttp://bulgariatravel.orghttp://www.pravoslavieto.com

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