Rila Monastery is one of the most famous Bulgarian symbols. Not only is it the biggest monastery in Bulgaria, but also it is the most influential spiritual centre in the country and the second biggest monastery on the Balkan Peninsula.It was founded in the 10th century by the monk hermit John, who was later named Bulgaria’s patron saint and his disciples. John of Rila, popular in Bulgarian language as Ivan Rilski, was raised to sainthood by grateful Christian Bulgarian people in a sign of tribute to his life work. He lived in the Reign of prominent Bulgarian kings such as Boris I, Simeon and Peter I. At the present, his relics are being kept in the monastery’s main church « Nativity of the Virgin ».