The Obradovtsi monastery named “St Martyr Mina” lies 7.5km to the northeast of Sofia in the former village of Obradovtsi, currently a quarter of Sofia. It is built on the southern bank of the Vladayska river amid flowery meadows.
According to a legend told by the local people, the monastery was established in the late period of Roman rule over these lands. At that time, it represented an imposing complex with its 40 chapels (some of which were dedicated to St. St Apostles Peter and Paul, St. Nikolay, St. St. Kozma and Damyan, etc) many monastery buildings and properties. Foundations of buildings were come across when the bed of the Vladayska river was dug, while later on, the river carried tiles, stones and bricks for a long time. It is believed that there was a Roman bath close to the St Nikolay chapel that used a hot mineral water spring. The place nowadays is a marsh and does not freeze during the winter. Nobody knows for sure for how many years the monastery existed. After it was destroyed, only a legend told the story of the St Mina monastery until 1927. Then, around the Krustovden religious holiday, villagers from Obradovtsi while walking their cattle, saw that the cattle started to nuzzled tiles, bricks and other pieces of construction in the place of the old monastery. Later on, people from the village decided to dig deeper into the remains and found the foundations of an old church. They discovered the church’s altar and close to it, a small well built of stones. The well is believed to have been the holy spring of the church. The other items found by the people were a collection plate that is currently kept in the religious historical museum of the St Synod and the upper part of an incense-burner. All were convinced that the remains were a part of the St Mina monastery that according to legends was to be found in this part of the Sofia field. The talk of the discovery of the only monastery in Bulgaria dedicated to St Mina traveled quickly and people started coming to the monastery from all parts of the country. On the church’s official holiday on Nov 24, a lot people gathered there and gave their donations for the recovery of the monastery. The funds thus raised were immediately used for the construction of a wooden chapel with icons that existed until 1942. Then, a residential building that was used for sheltering pilgrims was also built and existed until 1969. The old building is currently replaced by a spacious two-storey building of 100 sq.m. and another one-storey building of 50 sq.m. It was in 1942 when the monastery’s managers in the face of the St Nikolay church staff in Obradovtsi and a nun from the Orlandovtsi church St Petka, Anicia, initiated the construction of a new church. After all materials were donated by local people, construction started on Aug 19 the same year. Construction ended 1945, with the main builder being a renowned master from Varna, Toma Ivanov. The altar’s icons were painted by prof. Georgi Bogdanov while the altar was carved by two masters from Sofia – Mircho Radulov and Kosta Dinoev. On October 21 the same year the church was consecrated. All items of the interior – vessels, chandeliers, icons, carpets, etc are donated by visitors. The church also has a very large icon of St. Mina, believed to be miracle-working, at its anteroom. In 1956, a chapel dedicated to St St Kosma and Damyan was started to be built and in late 1957, it was finished and consecrated. A holy spring is integrated into the altar of the chapel. Currently, the chapel is used as a winter church.
The monastery is easy to reach by heading towards the Benkovski quarter of Sofia and after leaving the quarter driving towards the Ring Road. Before reaching the Ring Road, a sign shows the way to the monastery. There is a spacious parking area a few meters away from the front door of the monastery. A trip to the monastery can be only shadowed by the fact that a water-purifying facility lies in its proximity. Before entering the cloister, one has to cross a bridge over a dirty water channel, surrounded by a rather bad smell. This, however, takes only 1-2 minutes.
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