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Sveti Prorok Iliya monastery - Mustafa Kanaat tekke

Krushari, Bulgaria

RELIGIONS Islam, Orthodox


The Alexandrian Monastery "Sveti Prorok Iliya" is located in the Teketo area, about 1 km northwest of the village of Alexandria, 10 km from the village of Krushari. The monastery is a dual religious shrine, also known as the Tekke (Muslim sanctuary) "Mustafa Kanaat". It is equally venerated by Christians and Muslims. The Alexandrian Monastery can be reached by the exit to Krushari. From there to the monastery are 10 kilometers to the north towards the village of Alexandria. A short dirt road leads from the village to the monastery.
This holy place has been known since antiquity. Evidence can be found by the remains of an old pagan sanctuary in close proximity to the monastery. A church was probably erected at the site during the reign of Tsar Ivan Alexander (1331-1371). The Muslim religious complex (tekke) was built in the 17th-18th centuries. Its first inhabitants were most probably Bektashi, since they were patrons of the Janissary Corps and as such had the highest benevolence and patronage of the Osman dynasty. This provided the tekke with centuries of peace and gave it good opportunities for development. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, there was an abrupt change. New persecutions against heterodox dervishes were caused by the banning of the Bektashi Order and the dissolution of the Janissary Corps. The extent to which these persecutions have affected the cloister near the village of Alexandria is difficult to say. However, the religious activities were not put to an end. In the nineteenth century, the new Christian inhabitants of Alexandria started visiting the tekke. Thus it became a dual sanctuary in which the cult of the Muslim saint Mustafa Kanaat merged with the veneration of the Christian Prophet Elijah. Today, the former Muslim sanctuary has been turned into a Christian monastery, whose patron is St. Elijah. The restoration of the Alexandrian Monastery began in 2004 with the blessing of Metropolitan Kirill, and the church of the Holy. Prophet Elijah was built with donations. On October 22, 2009, the renewed temple was sanctified.
The Alexandrian monastery functioned until the 1950s. For almost a century it attracted pilgrims from various ethno-confessional communities: Christian, Shia; Qizilbash; Sunni and. Today, most Christians visit the monastery on Prophet Elijah's holiday (August 2nd), while Muslims hold big feasts for Hıdırellez (May 6th).
There are also pilgrims throughout the year. They came pray for redemption, health and protection. Some spend a night at the holy place before offering a sacrifice. Customary rites like hanging rags on the branches of the century-old elms or washing with holy water - in fact stem from old rituals related to the ancient pantheistic beliefs. The ancient veneration of stones, trees and water survives, now understood through the prism of folk Christianity and Islam. The eternal holy site is a monument to the centuries of peaceful coexistence of diverse religious communities.
- Direct visit
- Virtual visit: Watch the videos and see the photo gallery in the media resources section.
- Classroom activity (post-visit): Examine the shared values and syncretic spiritual practices of diverse religious communities as a basis for tolerance and interfaith dialogue. This could take the form of a discussion and a homework assignment. The topic could also be expanded to a research project encompassing two lessons and two homework assignments. For detailed instructions, refer to Research Project. (

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.