The Sveta Troitsa Church (Biserica Sf. Treime)

The Sveta Troitsa Church, or the Church of the Holy Trinity, is situated in Bulgaria, at about 10 km north of Veliko Tarnovo. The monastic ensemble is located on the right bank of Yantra River. Sveta Troitsa Church is also known as a “patriarchal monastery” and it is actually pretty close to the site of the original monastery which was built in this region and bore the same name (within 1 km).


According to the historical data, the church has been erected in 1070, on the 27th of January. The founders of the church are said to be Georgi, a highly religious man from the region, and his son, Kalin.  We know when the church was erected due to a piece of rock on which the exact date was inscribed.

This was discovered under the altar of the old church from 1846 when the construction work for the present-day church had begun. The initial plan was to construct the church within a fortified encompassing which can be found on the road that connects Samovodene and Veliko Tarnovo. But the church ended up being erected on the site of an older church. The interior decorations, including the icons which adorn the church, are the work of the famous painter Zakhari Zograf Hristovich, original from Samokov.


But the church was destroyed completely on the 14th of June, 1913, as the entire region was shaken by an earthquake. Some of the old icons are preserved to this day, one of the oldest being the one illustrating the Holy Trinity (dates from 1708). The church was restored in 1927 and the look conveyed with this occasion is the one we can see today.


The edifices which hold the rooms for the officials of the monastery have been constructed between 1946 and 1948. Close by, there is a small chapel dedicated to the Birth of the Son of God. The throne found within the church is actually a pagan altar which had been brought here from the Roman Temple in Nicopolis ad Istrum (a Roman and Early Byzantine town founded by Trajan).

On the rim of the throne lies an inscription which says that the throne was dedicated to the Olympus Goods Zeus, Hera and Athena, and was built in the honor of the Roman Emperor Publius Aelius Traianus Hadrianus.


The architectural design is the merit of Nikola Fichev, the most renowned Bulgarian architect of that time. The church, which measures 30 m in length, consists of three naves which are supported by means of thin and tall columns, a main dome, and three other smaller domes.

The church stands out from the rest due to the uniqueness of its architecture. Nikola Fichev had distanced himself from the standard design used in the construction of Orthodox edifices and the eastern façade of the Church of the Holy Trinity stands as evidence for this – as it is basically an immense apse.


The iconostasis, which dates from 1870-1872, measures 16 m in length and 10 m in height. The artist to construct this church item was Anton Peshev, but the painter who illustrated the 73 icons found on the iconostasis was Nikolay Pavlovich. The church also comprises a baroque architectural element, the bell tower which was constructed later on (1883-1886) and followed the plan developed by Gencho Novakov.

The Church of the Holy Trinity is an important monument as it tells a chapter of the Bulgarian nation history. The efforts of Patriarch Eftimie to improve the Bulgarian language have been continued by his followers and all the work led to a better command of the language as well as to the development of the art of writing.