The patron saint of the University of Mining and Geology is “St. Ivan Rilski”. Born between 876 and 880 in the village of Skrino, to the west of Sofia, he was the founder of the Rila Monastery (930-932). He died on the 18th August 946 and was canonised in 980. Having been transferred several times, nowadays his relics are kept in the Rila Monastery.
The age of the St Ivan Rilski was crucial for the Bulgarian country. That was the period when the Bulgarian people were converted to Christianity. The process began under the reign of Tsar Boris I, continued under Tsar Simeon’s rule, and declined under Tsar Petur when the Bulgarian state weakened. St. Ivan Rilski’s powerful spirited personality and ideas turned popular far beyond the borders of his humble retreat. Shortly before his death, he wrote his remarkable Testament with religious messages to his followers. St. Ivan Rilski is among the prominent figures of medieval Bulgarian, and ranks high among the most venerable Bulgarian saints. He is also the traditional patron saint of the Bulgarian miners.
During the centuries, the monastery that St. Ivan Rilski founded in the Rila Mountain expanded, becoming a genuine stronghold of a truly national spirit, as well as the largest and most significant religious and cultural centre in Bulgaria during the years of the Ottoman yoke.
Currently, the unique atmosphere, history and beauty have turned the Rila Monastery into a favoured tourist destination and a place of relaxation.