Golyamo Bukovo Monastery
St Life-Giving Spring
The Golyamo Bukovo monastery “St Life-Giving Spring” is the only acting monastery in the Strandzha Mountain. It is located some 4km to the east of the village of Golyamo Bukovo (named Kodzha Buk until 1934). The monastery is situated at roughly equal distances from the villages of Kirovo, Trakiitsi, Granichar, Varovik and Bogdanovo.
According to legends, the Golyamo Bukovo monastery was built in the 12th c. over the foundations of an ancient sanctuary. The holy place was pointed to an inhabitant of Golyamo Bukovo, Kosta Yanov, during a dream, in which St Mother of God appeared before him. Kosta Yanov had long suffered from a disease but was cured after he followed the advice of the Holy Mother and washed himself with the water that still comes out of the spring beneath the monastery church. Some authors suggest that in the 13-14th c. the Parorian monastery, believed to have acted as a center of the religious school of Hesychasts, was situated in this area. The recovery of the monastery started in 1873 and ended in 1887. In 1903, thanks to the entrepreneurship of a monk named Gay, who traded a monastery’s flock of sheep for 1016 decares of arable land with emigrating Turks, the cloister became the biggest landowner in this part of Strandzha. The enriched and strengthened monastery erected new farm buildings, the old nunnery – an imposing two-storey stone building (at present semi-dilapidated), water-mills down the Byalata Reka river, etc. Until the end of the 80es of the 20th c. the old residential buildings of the monastery were used as a student camp. Around 1990, the monastery and the church were in ruins, while all other buildings were in miserable state. From the autumn of 1990 onward, the monastery was brought back to life as a Christian cloister thanks to Hieromonk Evtimii from the village of Rosen (Bourgas region) who made its recovery his own personal mission. Under his guidance, the church was rebuilt over its foundations, a new residential building was also constructed and the monastery started its new life. The church was covered with frescoes, while the walls of the residential building were painted, too. The cloister represents a complex of a church, a semi-destroyed two-storey stone nunnery, and a one-storey residential building. Currently (the summer of 2007), the construction of a new residential building that is planned to host guests of the monastery advances. The monastery church represents a three-nave pseudo-basilica built for the first time in 1876. The holy spring “Life-Giving Spring”, which is believed to be rich in minerals and able to cure a number of diseases, can be found in its altar part. On the 13th of April each year the monastery’s holiday – St Life-Giving Spring - is being marked. The monastery was declared a monument of culture in 1954, while at present it operates as a monks’ cloister. Hieromonk Evtomii is the only monk there, however, even if he relies on the help of a local family sheltered at the monastery.
Neither food, nor accommodation are offered so far.
The monastery can be reached down a satisfactory dirty road that starts from the village of Golyamo Bukovo in the heart of the Strandzha Mountain. The dirty road starts from the very village in eastern direction and it takes some 4km to get to the monastery.