UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Trail 2: Bulgarian Church


The church “St Ivan Rilski”

The Bulgarian cultural-educational and ecclesiastic community was founded in 1980. Under the blessing of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church (BOC) and His Holiness the Bulgarian Patriarch Maxim, and at the request of the Bulgarians, who had been living in the United Kingdom, a decision was made which enabled the new Bulgarian Eastern-Orthodox ecclesiastical community “St Ivan of Rila” to be established on 1 March 1981 in London, UK.

On 3 March 1982, the first canonical priest, Father Tosco Kazakin, was sent to London by the Holy Synod of BOC. Since 1986, the parish, which came to belong to the Western and Central European diocese of BOC, had been taken care of by the then appointed archimandrite Nathanael.

bulgarian church…

At the decision of the Holy Synod and under the blessing of His Holiness the Bulgarian Patriarch Maxim, Father Simeon Iliev was sent on 15 October 1988 to become the spiritual shepherd of the Bulgarians in the UK.

On 19 October 1993, during the celebrations of the feast of St Ivan of Rila, the new chapel, adjacent to the Bulgarian Embassy in London, was sanctified by His Eminence the Western and Central European metropolitan Simeon. The chapel was built with the support of many Bulgarians and most of all of His Excellency Ambassador Ivan Stanchov who helped both financially and with legalizing the chapel’s statute according to the UK’s laws.

 Visit the church's website