The Boyar Church

The oldest underground church in Vratsa carries the name “Boyar Church of St. Nicola”. It is situated in the yard of the metropolitan bishop cathedral “St. Nicolas of Myra”, and it’s in very close proximity to Hristo Botev Square in the city center.

The church was constructed according to all the requirements of the Ottoman Empire – its height is not above that of a Turk, riding a horse. It is 4 meters under the ground and has a size of 7 by 3.80 meters (the original length of the church was 10 meters, three meters of it were destroyed in its western part). Historical evidence suggests that it was constructed by a boyar (nobleman) named Georgi at the end of the 16th century. His daughter was married to a rich Turkish tradesman in Istanbul. With tears in her eyes, she begs his father to build a church where he can pray for the sin she has committed – accepting another faith. St. Sophronius of Vratsa used to preach in the church during his period in town (1797 - 1803).

The Boyar Church, as it was known, was abandoned for more than 70 years. It was restored in the summer of 1943 by Peter Buchinsky, a prominent citizen. It was consecrated by Bishop Paisius, the then-head of the Vratsa diocese. This is all described in the stone sign, placed above the church.

The Boyar Church was abandoned again during the communist regime. The idea of the second restoration belongs to another prominent citizen of Vratsa – Hristo Iliev. With the help of his friends and family, he manages to restore it in about a year. The church was officially opened in 2017 with the blessing of Vratsa bishop Gregorius and with the support of Kalin Kamenov, mayor of the city. The Boyar church is visited by tourists from Bulgaria and abroad who are driven by the desire to feel the spirit of Bulgarian Christian history and to travel 5 centuries back in time.

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