Lifelong Learning Programme

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.

Select language

This section of the Pathway through Religions portal provides administrative information for the project contractual partners and for the European Commission and it is password protected.


Homepage > ReligiousSite Map > Map

An interactive didactical map interactive didactical map giving access to sites with a religious relevance.

Back to the Religious Sites List

"The Sacred Heart" of Jesus Church

the town of Rakovski



"The Sacred Heart" of Jesus is a Christian church in the town of Rakovski, Bulgaria, part of the Sofia-Plovdiv Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church. The church is a parish church of General-Nikolaevo (Kalachlii). The parish is the birthplace of Father Mihail Dobromirov and Bishop Samuil Jundrin. At the beginning of the nineteenth century the parish was the seat of the bishop of the Sofia-Plovdiv diocese.
In 1643, Catholic missionary Jacob Homoyadi (Yakov Bozhkov) arrived in Kalachlii and built the first Catholic church in the village of wood and straw. Bishop Petar Bogdan visited the village on 21 November 1646 to consecrate the new church (and remained in the village for three days), and noted that the Catholic population numbered 500 people, mainly immigrants from Nikopol. With two years of interruptions from 1720 until his tragic death in 1738 the parish wass served by Father Mihail Dobromirov. At the end of the VIII century and the beginning of the nineteenth century Kalachlii was established as the seat of the Sofia-Plovdiv bishop. Bishop Andrea Tunov died in the village. After appointing Andrea Kanova as an apostolic deputy of the Sofia-Plovdiv diocese in the middle of the 19th century, he built brick temples in all the Catholic villages. In 1857, the first massive building was built in Kalachlii. A parishioner at that time was Father Edward Valpa. After the Liberation of Bulgaria many villagers who worked in the Turkish homesteads were going back to live in the village. So the soon-built church turned out to be narrow.
Since 1880, the parson was Father Samuel Nutini. After the Union of Eastern Rumelia with the Principality of Bulgaria Father Nutini bought the lands of the displaced Turks from the Turkish villages Bekirlii and Utahklare. The villages were laid down respectively in 1886 and in 1893 and their lands were joined to the land of the parish. In 1886, Father Samuel began to collect benefits for a new church. Countess Klimentina and Tsar Ferdinand participated with their own funds. Father Nutiini took a tour in Austria and Italy where he managed to gather a considerable amount of money for that time. The population of the surrounding Catholic and Orthodox villages also participated with voluntary benefits. The building of a new church began in 1891. The building was designed by the Italian Visey. It was built for 18 months. It was consecrated on October 4, 1892, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi by Bishop Roberto Menini. The temple was called the "Holy Heart of Jesus". In 1893 - 1894, Brother Ellijio of Bavaria - an artist and woodcarver - made the main and two side altars and pulpits. After a visit to the famous Bulgarian scientist Dr Lubomir Miletic in the village at the end of the XIX century, he wrote that "On entering Kalachlii village, a great impression is given to the traveler, the great and wonderful church, probably the largest and the nicest among all village churches throughout the Balkan Peninsula. Which is made in Gothic-Byzantine style and is 50 inches wide and 18.5 meters wide. " A temple was decorated in Lombard style. After his retirement in 1885, Archbishop Francesco Reynaudi moved to the parish, where he remained until his death in 1893.
In 1905, Father Clement Jundrin laid the foundations of a new bell tower 4 to 4 meters high and 30.5 meters high on a project by architect Mariano Pernigoni. From 1919 to 1927 the priest was priest Kozma Gulov. He supplied a clock to the temple. He was an initiator to build a bridge on the Brezovo-Kalacheli-Plovdiv road and the bridge to the square. His greatest merit was the construction of a hospital in his parish - the first hospital in a Catholic village in Bulgaria. The hospital's main stone was laid on August 24, 1924. The hospital was named after Bishop Peter Parcevich. The earthquake in Chirpan in April 1928 destroyed the temples in the Roman Catholic villages. The construction of the new church began in 1930 along with the temples of the neighboring Catholic villages - St. Archangel Michael in Baltazhi and Immaculate Conception of the Virgin in Aliafakovo. The Apostolic Delegate in Bulgaria, Angelo Roncalli, was a major contributor to this. The population of Kalachli - about 4,000 people was involved in voluntary work. The height of the bells was 41 m. The buildings were three-nave basilicas with about 2,000 worshipers each, with two square bell towers. They were designed by architect Kamen Petkov. The task of building the churches in the town of Rakovski the architect Petkov received after a competition between several Bulgarian and Italian architects, juryed in the Vatican.
It is said that the two twin churches in the town of Rakovski are the second largest Catholic temples on the Balkan Peninsula.
The temple "The Sacred Heart of Jesus" was sanctified on 20 December 1931 by Bishop Vinkenti Peev. A parish priest at that time was Father Ambrosius Komarov. From 1937 to 1941 the parish priest was Dr. Damyan Gulov. He electrified the temple. The parish priest, Father Raphael Stanev, participated in the first village management council from September 10 to December 31, 1944. But this did not prevent him to be sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in 1952 on the so-called "great Catholic process". Father Lino Draganov was a parishioner from 1945 to 1952 when he was arrested and sentenced to 14 years in prison. Father Lino wrote a chronicle of the priests who served in the parish since its creation in the 17th century.
The students should visit the church in order to broaden their knowledge.




Follow us


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.