Great Martyr Saint George Church


This ‘Great Martyr Saint George Church’ or in Bulgarian ‘Церковь Святого Великомученика Георгия’ was built in 1898. Today the national monument is a ruin and church, and volunteers are searching for funds to eventually restore the church.

The unique 125-year-old ‘Great Martyr Saint George Church’ was built on the ruins of an older church. The village of Garmen is located in a hilly area near the valley of the Mesta River and the slopes of the Western Rhodopes.

Last service

In 1990, the church was officially recognized as a cultural monument of national importance. Its historical significance and architectural beauty made it a cherished landmark. However, time took its toll. The last church service within the Revival Church, another name for this cultural treasure, occurred on Easter in 2003. Since then, the church has been left to decay, its once-sturdy walls now crumbling under the weight of neglect.

What once drew visitors were the intricate interior details and the majestic iconostasis. The walls adorned with sacred icons told stories of faith and devotion. But today, all the icons have vanished, leaving behind empty spaces that echo with silence. The interior, once a place of reverence and contemplation, now lies in ruins—a victim of time and the elements. The roof, once a protective canopy, succumbed to collapse, allowing rain and wind to infiltrate and hasten the church’s decline.

Saint George

The church is dedicated to Saint George, who passed away on April 23, 303. Saint George, a Christian venerated as a saint, had a remarkable life. According to tradition, he served as a soldier in the Roman army. Despite facing a death sentence for refusing to renounce his Christian beliefs, he remained steadfast in his faith. Over time, Saint George became one of the most revered saints and megalomartyrs in Christianity.

In Bulgaria, Saint George’s Day is celebrated on May 6. On this day, it is customary to slaughter and roast a lamb. Additionally, George’s Day is observed as a public holiday.

As you captured its fading grandeur through your lens, remember that even in abandonment, this church holds a silent history—a testament to faith, community, and the passage of time. There are preparations made to save the constructions. The cleaning of the church grounds has begun, water and electricity have already been installed. The church is searching for funds to restore the building to its old glory. I visited this abandoned church on my road trip through Bulgaria in 2022.

Built 1898
Abandoned 2003
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