The Cherepish Monastery “God’s mother Assumption” lies in the gorgeous Iskar defile on the banks of the Iskur River. The monastery is located near the village of Ljutibrod, 10km away from the town of Mezdra and 25 km to the south of Vratsa. The origin of the Cherepish Monastery is connected to the history of the medieval “Koritengrad” which existed in the nearby unique natural area “Ritlite”. According to the legend, the monastery has acquired its name because of the white colour of the bones of the perished Bulgarian soldiers which were left after the battle of tsar Ivan Shishman with the Ottoman raiders. It was mentioned in a document kept in the Sofia church, historical and archeological museum that the monastery was destroyed during the battle.
The Cherepish Monastery was restored in the beginning of the 17th century by the renowned Bulgarian ecclesiastic, builder and painter Pimen Zograf of Sofia. At that time the present-day church was built.
During the period of Bulgarian Revival, the monastery was inhabited by men of letters and calligraphers who have left valuable works and literary masterpieces. Thus, the monastery gradually has become an important literary, cultural and educational centre. It housed a monastery school, where books, saints’ biographies and gospels were written and transcribed there, some of them are the Cherepish Gospel from the 16th century, enclosed in golden covers and decorated with scenes from the bible, as well as the Gospel of Monk Danail and the Book of the Apostles of Jacob.
Gradually the Cherepish Monastery has flourished and a few new buildings such as the old monastery’s kitchen, Rashidovata house, the building of Danail, the chapel with the ossuary, the belltower and so on were built in the beginning of the 19th century.
St. Sofronni of Vratsa found his shelter in the Cherepish Monastery in 1798-1799. The abbot Epifanii established here the Ljutibrodski Revolutionary Committee. The monastery was used to be visited by members of the Vratsa Revolutionary Committee within the period 1872-1876. The popular area “Rashov dol”where the last battle of Botev’s detachment of rebels against the Turks was conducted, led by Georgi Apostolov, lies in close proximity to the Cherepish monastery.
The Cherepish cloister was visited also by prominent Bulgarian writer Ivan Vazov in 1889 and 1907. In 1897 another renowned author, Aleko Konstantinov, stopped here during his tour of the region. Following his visit to the monastery, he publishes one of his popular itinararies, called “Bulgarian Switzerland”.
Photography: Nikolay Dimitrov