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ORTHODOX CHURCH OF ST. KYRIAKI [St. Nedelia]

The roof with the dome of the Orthodox church of St. Kyriaki [St. Nedelya] is seen to the right of the cobblestone-paved Tsanko Lavrenov Street leading to the heights of Trimontium. The holy martyr Kyriaki [known with her Bulgarian name Nedelya] devoted her life to Christ and accepted death in the name of the Son of God, and she is directly linked with Bulgarian history. The Bulgarian kings of the Assen dynasty (12th-13th century) brought the holy relics of the maiden slain with a sword to the capital of the Bulgarian state Veliko Turnovo, and the Bulgarian Patriarch Euthymius wrote a eulogy to her.

In its present-day appearance the church was built in 1831-1832 by the master-builder from Bratsigovo Petko Petkov and it is a three-nave preudobasilica, 31 m long, 24 m wide and 16 m high. The vault of the central nave is 9 m in diameter and is supported by 12 columns symbolising the Twelve Apostles. The iconostasis was made of walnut wood at the time of the Bulgarian National Revival by the famous craftsman Yane Spirov. A memorial plate is placed on the outer wall in memory of Rada and her children who were killed by the Turks in 1837 and were subsequently proclaimed New Martyrs by the Orthodox Church.

The spark of the Bulgarian daring spirit to win the right to conduct divine service in Bulgarian flared first in this church and hence it entered history as a church that was a monument to the fight for national Church.

The iconostasis and the Bishop's throne, in which the woodcarvers have attained unsuspected artistic heights, amazing perfection and harmony between spiritual and material, are among the intransient Plovdiv values that praise the Bulgarian artistic genius.

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