Bulgarian Orthodox Church Proposes Development of Pilgrimage TourismTourism | February 13, 2015, Friday // 14:00| views
Rila Monastery. File photo
The Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church has proposed a better promotion of the country's sacred sites to tourists and their inclusion in pilgrimage routes.
These issues were raised during the meeting of representatives of the Holy Synod, including Bulgaria's Patriarch Neofit, and Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova, daily Dnevnik reports.
At the meeting it was agreed that the Holy Synod is to have a representative sitting at the national tourism council.
At this stage the representative of the Holy Synod will have no right to vote, but will be allowed to participate and make statements at the meetings of the national tourism council.
An agreement for partnership between the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the the Ministry of Tourism is expected to be concluded soon.
The opportunities for the promotion of holy sites – monasteries, churches, miraculous icons and holy relics, and their inclusion in tourist packages were also discussed during the meeting.
According to the representatives of the Holy Synod, pilgrimage tourism remains underdeveloped in Bulgaria.
Minister Angelkova stated that significant Orthodox monuments should be identified, which could be included in pilgrim routes.
The participants in the meeting discussed a mechanism through which part of the admission fees to sacred sites should be allocated for their maintenance and improving access for tourists.
The use of Orthodox temples for tourist aims will be regulated, so there is no disruption to order and the information presented to tourists should be accurate and compatible with Orthodox traditions.
The Holy Synod is to present a list with significant Orthodox temples and artifacts, which should be the focus of thematic movies and other materials promoting tourism in Bulgaria.