JOHN OF RILA
JOHN OF RILA, monk, St. (ca. 876–946). John founded the wilderness monastery of Rila in about 930 in the mountains south of Sofia, present-day capital of Bulgaria. The monastery quickly became and has remained the center of Bulgarian monasticism, and was recently returned to the Bulgarian Church (qq.v.) by the (now defunct) Communist government. Joh n was renowned for sanctity during his lifetime, a monastic life begun as a hermit and ended as head of the community. His cult increased following his death and eventually extended throughout the Orthodox oikoumene (q.v.), as evidenced by his “Life,” composed in the 12th c.