Bulgarian Government to Restore Ancient Monastery of St. John the Forerunner

June 04, 2015 (Source http://archaeologyinbulgaria.com)

[Originally reported on May 27]

Bulgaria’s Cabinet has allocated BGN 800,000 (app. EUR 409,000) for completing the restoration of the Early Christian monastery “St. John the Forerunner” (The Forerunner is one of the nicknames of St. John the Baptist in Eastern Orthodox Christianity) located near the southern city of Kardzhali.

The sum is substantial keeping in mind that the Bulgarian government recently provided only BGN 500,000 (app. EUR 255,000) for archaeological excavations and restoration of the 9th century Great Basilica and four other sites in Pliska, one of the medieval Bulgarian capitals.

The St. John the Forerunner Monastery, which was founded in the 6th-7th century AD after the end of the Iconoclasm period in Byzantium, is located on the right bank of the Arda River in Kardzhali’s Veselchane Quarter. It was part of a Byzantine bishopric complex called St. John Prodromos (prodromos in the Greek word for “forerunner”).

The ruins of St. John the Forerunner Monastery was first discovered by local amateur archaeologists in the 1930s. More parts of monastery structures were found in 1962, and the entire complex was excavated by Bulgarian archaeologists in 1980-1984.

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