Orthodox Christian Tours

Our first tour of Orthodox Bulgaria will be in September, 2019, from the 1st to the 12th.

Archpriest Rev. Fr John Tomasi, rector of Joy of All Who Sorrow Orthodox Church (OCA), Culver City, CA, will accompany the pilgrimage.
Please note: all passengers traveling internationally are required to have a passport valid for 6 months beyond your departure date.
Dates: September 1 to 12, 2019
Price: $1500 USD (does not include travel insurance or airfare)
Included: hotels, breakfast, lunch, dinner, bus transfers, all excursions described in the Itinerary, entrance fees to local attractions, taxes.
Prices are per person, based on double room occupancy.

Front page of our tri-fold brochure


Day 1

Arrival at Sophia Airport. Transfer to hotel “ATM”. Overnight in Sophia. Walking tour is possible depending on arrival time.

Day 2

Sophia bus tour. Tour the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, famous for its gilded domes and mosaics. Visit Russian church of St. Nicholas with relics of Seraphim Sobolev; Church St.George – Early Christian red brick rotunda that is considered the oldest building in Sofia; the Boyana Church – medieval Bulgarian Orthodox church situated on the outskirts of Sofia, and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Departing to Rila Monastery. Overnight at the Rila Monastery.

St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

St Nicholas Russian Church, in Sofia

Boyana Church

Rila Monastery

Day 3

The Rila Monastery, founded in the 10th century, is one of Bulgaria’s most important cultural, historical and architectural monuments, and a UNESCO site. Day at the monastery: tour of the monastery, visit main church and its narthex’s gallery, History Museum of the Monastery, have a short walk in the area. Visit the grave of its founder – Saint John of Rila and holy spring nearby with healing water.
Depart for city Troyan. Overnight in Troyan, Plaza Hotel.


Day 4

Visit the Troyan Monastery, the third largest monastery in Bulgaria, with one of the holiest icons in Bulgarian Orthodoxy, the Three-Handed Virgin.
Depart for Veliko Tarnovo, “City of Tzars”, capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire. Free time or walking tour.
Overnight in Veliko Tarnovo, Hotel Akvaya.

Troyan Monastery

Icon of the Three-Handed Theotokos at Troyan Monastery

Veliko Tarnovo

Day 5-6

Tsarevets -a fortress and strongest bulwark from 1185 to 1393, housing the royal and the patriarchal palaces. The castle complex is located in the centre, surrounded by an internal stone wall, two battle towers and two entrances.

Tsarevets Fortress
Church of St Demetrius of Thessaloniki with 14th century frescoes. Transfiguration Monastery, medieval monastery-fortress on the banks of the Yantra river. Arbanasi, one of the most picturesque old settlements in Bulgaria, with 17th- and 18th-century churches, richly decorated with mural paintings, wood-carving and elegant wood-carved iconostases. Visiting one of the monasteries in Arbanasi: St. Nicholas or Assumption of Virgin Mary monastery with valuable frescoes and icons. Kapinovski Monastery – looks like a fortress, with strong stone walls and cavernous entrances.
Dryanovsky Monastery of St. Archangel Michael with preserved valuable antique icons. If time permits, the Bacho Kiro cave, only 300 m (980 ft) away from the Dryanovo Monastery, a four-storey labyrinth of galleries and corridors that contain countless stalactone, stalactite, and stalagmite speleothem formations of great beauty.
Two night in Veliko Tarnovo, Hotel Akvaya.

View of Arbanasi

Dryanovo Monastery

Day 7

After breakfast, depart for Varna – sea capital of Bulgaria. The Dormition of the Mother of God Cathedral is the largest and most famous Bulgarian Orthodox cathedral in Varna, and the second largest in Bulgaria (after cathedral Alexander Nevsky in Sofia).
Visit to Aladzha Monastery – most famous medieval cave monastery on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. It was inhabited by hermit monks during the XIII- XIV centuries.
Depart for Plovdiv. Overnight in Plovdiv. Hotel Niko.

Dormition of the Mother of God Cathedral, Varna

Aladzha Monastery

Day 8

Tour of old Plovdiv. Small church dedicated to St. Petka Epivatska, which Tsar Ivan Asen II built in Plovdiv. Church of the Holy Mother of God. The Cathedral of St Louis – Roman Catholic cathedral in the city of Plovdiv.
Overnight in Plovdiv. Hotel Niko.

Church of the Holy Mother of God, Plovdiv

Day 9

The Bachkovo Monastery “Assumption of the Holy Mother” with an icon from 1311 known as The Holy Mother of God Icon, with a silver cover. This icon is believed to have miraculous powers.
Krastova gora (Forest of The Cross)– attracts countless pilgrims who believe that a piece of Jesus’ Cross is buried here; visit the main church and the 12 chapels dedicated to the Apostles, the spring with healing water and the Miraculous Iron Cross.
Overnight in Plovdiv. Hotel Niko.

Day 10

The Kuklen Monastery “Sts. Kozma and Damian” consists of two churches, residential and farming buildings and a big holy spring nearby which heals mental disorders. The main church dates back to the 15th century.
Asenov fortress is a stronghold that existed there from 5-4 BC, and later was inhabited and used during the Roman and early Byzantine era. One of the best preserved and most notable features of Asenov fortress is the Holy Theotokos of Petrich Church from the XII-XIII century. The Arapovo Monastery of Saint Nedelya. An old icon of the Virgin Mary, which is believed to possess wonder-working powers is kept in the temple.
Overnight in Plovdiv. Hotel Niko.

Church of the Mother of God, Asenov Fortress

Day 11

Transfer to Sofia and to the airport.