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The icon of Saint Mina in the Obradovsky Monastery helps everyone who seeks its support

Photo: Darina Grigorova

On the outskirts of Sofia, about 7 km northeast of the city, lies the Obradovsky Monastery. It is among the oldest known monasteries around today's Bulgarian capital and is dedicated to the holy great martyr Mina (Menas), an Egyptian warrior who died for the Christian faith.

It is believed that in the 11th century, a large monastery complex with 40 chapels, numerous monastery buildings, a spiritual school and a metoch of the Holy Mountain, from where the pilgrims went to Mount Athos, was located here. The spiritual center was part of the monasteries that made up the Sofia Holy Mountai monastery complex. The invasions of the Crusaders and then the Ottoman Turks gradually destroyed the monastery and only at the beginning of the 20th century (1927) did the local residents come across its remains. The restoration of the monastery began in 1942, and after 1989 the monastery gradually ‎began to attract pilgrims from all over the country. "In the monastery, the miraculous icon of the Holy Martyr Mina has a magnetic power, and since 2010 a part of his holy relics are also an object of worship”, says the abbot of the monastery, Father Boris.

Father Boris

“Thus, everyone who approaches them with faith, a pure-hearted prayer and sincere trust in God's mercy receives the quick help of Saint Mina. Often, childless families, who have been trying to become parents for many years, soon after praying to the miraculous icon, get a child. Single people marry the right person. However, the most are the healings of seriously ill people. We have cases where doctors themselves tell their patients that they have done what they could and the rest is up to God. They themselves send them to pray here to the miraculous icon and the holy relics of St. Mina. Of course, where there is prayer and faith, God graciously works and manifests His Great Miracles."‎

Therefore, in the days surrounding the feast of the Saint on November 11, when the Orthodox Church celebrates his memory, the flow of believers to the monastery does not cease. And while they wait humbly to bow before the icon and the relics, people share with each other testimonies of the miracles and positive turns in their lives, thanks to the intercession of St. Mina. They also write down names for Holy liturgies and read thanksgiving prayers, offer gifts to the miraculous icon:

"In the monastery, you will see for yourself, mostly young people come”, noted Father Boris, who happily observes the young families. “Of course, everyone is called by God in a different way to walk the path of salvation. Sooner or later, it happens. Every one of us is given by the Creator to have this religious feeling to seek God. It is important to get to the right place, because today it is fashionable for young people to get carried away by Eastern teachings, occultism, and this is harmful to the soul. However, when they find the way to the Church, it cannot help but make us happy."

In the courtyard of the monastery, where the peace and timelessness inherent in such places reign, we meet a young family with a newborn child. ‎The mother Tanya kindly and with a smile agrees to share what brings her to the Holy Monastery:‎

"I have faith in all the saints and they have helped me a lot in my life. We hadn't been here for some time and that's why we decided to come again. The temple itself is very close to our hearts. That's why now we brought little Valentin. with us.”

During the short time while we enjoy the autumn scenery and solitude in the monastery, we also meet young parents who have chosen to baptize their child here so that she could grow up healthy and protected by the patron saint of the Christian family, St. Mina.‎

At the same time, the work on the restoration of the monastery complex continues, with the goal of rebuilding the chapels and buildings, where the spiritual and educational activity will once again be bustling.

Photos: Darina Grigorova

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