Bulgarian experience – monastic products in orthodox monasteries

The 2nd SKIVRE meeting was held in Bankya, Bulgaria, with the participation of all SKIVRE project partners. The meeting featured working sessions on the SKIVRE training modules as well as study visits to three monasteries; two of which are involved in the production of monastic products.

The meeting had several working session dedicated to reflecting on the development of the Training Scheme and Digital Training Platform. This was complemented by a deeper analysis of the results of the SKIVRE survey which was implemented in January / February 2019. The survey outcome is valuable input for the training modules, which were discussed on methodology and content.

After the work sessions, SKIVRE partners had a chance to conduct a study visit to the Kremikovtsi Monastery of Saint George, where they were kindly welcomed by the Igumen (Abott) and a team member working with the monastery shop. This offered a unique chance to see the magnificent frescoes, as well as learn about the various activities the monastery is carrying out, and their focus on quality, organic production and employment opportunities for the local population. After the meetings, the group visited the picturesque Divotinski Monastery in the small village of Divotino, where partners had a chance to talk with a monk, who gave an in-depth explanation of icon interpretation and symbolism.

On the third and final day of the meeting, SKIVRE partners visited the Giginski Monastery, production site of yogurt, cheese, and various animal products, where they met the abbot, monks and members of the staff, who gave them a comprehensive overview of monasteries in Bulgaria, their production activities, and the challenges and opportunities they are facing. A unique feature regarding production is their herd of buffalo, a special Bulgarian breed, and the wonderful yogurt which is the final result. The day ended with a visit to the Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Sofia.

Overall, this second SKIVRE meeting provided partners with a fresh perspective, renewed insight and an invaluable experience regarding monastic production in orthodox monasteries, which will no doubt contribute to the development of successful training modules.

We would like to thank our partner INI-Novation Bulgaria for hosting us and to all partners for the great presentations and discussions.

(text credits: FRH / media k; picture credits: FRH)

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