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Sveti Sedmochislenitsi Church (Sofia)
Description of Sveti Sedmochislenitsi Church
Sveti Sedmochislenitsi Church
was originally constructed as a mosque in 1528 during reign of Suleiman
the Magnificent. New Muslim prayer house was constructed on a site of a
former convent of the
It is a square structure with a dome covered by lead. The Black Mosque
as it was known at the time was credited to a famous Turksih
architect Mimar Sinan who constructed numerous buildings in the
capital of the Ottoman Turkish Empire, but this claim is somewhat
uncertain. After Bulgaria
gained its independence after Russo- Turkish War the mosque was
transformed into Bulgarian Orthodox Church by design of A.N.Pomerantsev
The 25 m-long mosque had a square shape and a large lead-covered
dome. The mosque was initially known as the Koca Mehmed Pasha Mosque
after Mehmed-paša Sokolović. Another name was the İmaret Mosque
after the imaret, a kitchen for the poor located in the vicinity,
the ruins of which were found in 1912. A madrasah, a Muslim
religious school, was located in what is now the small garden
between the modern church and the Count Ignatiev School. The
madrasah was later used as a prison after the Liberation of
Bulgaria. Other Ottoman constructions nearby included a caravanserai
and a hammam.
History The building was built in 1528 by Sinan
as a mosque on the orders of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent on a
property of the Rila Monastery with a monastery. Excavations in 1901
revealed the remains of an ancient Christian temple from the
sixth-sixth centuries and an even older sanctuary of Asclepius.
The mosque was named Koja dervish Mehmed Pasha in the name of
the great vizier Sokollu Mehmed Pasha. The mosque is believed to be
the famous Sinan (the architect of the Suleiman Mosque in
Constantinople). The temple became known as the Black Mosque because
of the dark granite from which its minaret was made. In the 19th
century, the mosque's minaret fell and was abandoned.
the Liberation of Bulgaria in 1878, the building was converted into
a military warehouse and later to a prison.
Between 1901 and
1903 the building was rebuilt into a church, which was consecrated
on July 27, 1903, designated by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church as the
Assumption Day of St. Clement of Ohrid and the Day of St. Seven
Wizards - St. Saints Cyril and Methodius and their students and
followers Clement, Naum, Ok, Owl, and Angelarium. This day is also
celebrated as a temple feast. During the reconstruction, the black
granite minaret and the madrasah located on the site of today's
garden in front of the church were demolished and the corner domes,
bell tower and narthex were completed. The reconstruction project is
of the architects Yordan Milanov and Petko Momchilov.
iconostasis in the church is the work of Debar masters of the
Filipov family. The royal doors and the crucifix cross were cut in
1902 by Avram Avramov and Peter Yosifov.
In the courtyard of
the church, next to his wife, was buried Petko Karavelov - one of
the leaders of the Liberal Party and later of the Democratic Party.
He is the brother of the writer Lyuben Karavelov and the father of
Laura Karavelova - the wife of the poet Yavorov. Their grave is
located behind the church.