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April 9

Thousands of believers from various Bulgarian cities gather in Bachkovo monastery on the morning of April 9 each year to get a glimpse of the miraculous icon of St Mary.

According to tradition the icon was taken out of the monastery. A traditional procession took the icon to the Klouviata region. There, a mass was held for all of the believers who decide to travel to the monastery.

The legend says that the icon was taken out of the monastery during the first centuries of the Ottoman rule in Bulgaria. To hide it, the Monastery's monks placed the icon high in the mountain.

The icon was found in the 17th century and returned to the monastery. Although the doors were locked, the icon disappeared. It was later found in the place where it had been previously hidden.

Each year, the procession recreates the story and traces the path of the icon. According to beliefs, people who manage to touch the icon during the procession become cured of their ailments.

Source : Bachkovski Monastery : All Bulgaria Virtual Guide
See also : Bachkovo Monastery : Wikipedia