Patriarchal Cathedral and Palace of the 10th-century

1 LOCATION

The Patriarchal Cathedral Church is located in the center of the Drastar Citadel in the Danube Garden in Silistra. About 60 meters north of it on the Danube coast is the palace patriarchal church, west of which is the patriarchal palace of the 10th century. The Patriarchal Cathedral and Palace of the 10th century are located near the northern fortress wall of Drustar, the central part of the town of Silistra, 429 km away from Sofia. There is a bus three times a day leaving from the Sofia Central Bus Station to Silistra, as well as a train three times a day from the Sofia Central Railway Station.
Патриаршеска катедрална църква и патриаршески дворец от Х век
SITE CLASSIFICATION: Religious site

2 DESCRIPTION

Patriarch’s Basilica of Patriarch Damyan Dorostolski (Drustar) in Drustar (Silistra) was the first Patriarchal church in Bulgaria and the second largest in the country. According to Prof. Atanasov, this is the “mother temple” of the Bulgarian Patriarchate. It is believed to be the cathedral church of the first bishop of Drustar after baptism of Bulgarians.

3 HISTORY

According to Prof. Georgi Atanasov, a local historian and curator of the Archaeological and Historical Museum in Silistra, the discovery of the Patriarchal Church and Palace confirms the thesis that the ancient Drastar was a major religious center of the First Bulgarian Kingdom. According to him on its scale, the temple ranks among the five most representative churches in Bulgarian history. According to Prof. Atanasov this is the “mother temple” of the Bulgarian Patriarchate.
The temple has massive walls filled with quads, there is a synthronon and powerful foundations. The presence of synthronon testifies that it is a cathedral temple.1
The Patriarch Basilica of Patriarch Damian Dorostolski (Drastar) in Drastar (Silistra) is the first patriarchal church in the Bulgarian state and the second largest in the country.
This is the first patriarchal church in the Bulgarian state and the second largest in the country. In the Dukan catalog (on behalf of its compiler the Frenchman Charles Dukan) Damian is referred to as the fifth spiritual leader of the Bulgarians. The text about him is extremely short, and reads: “Damian (who sanctified) in Dorostol, and now Drestas. During his reign Bulgaria has been honored as autocephalous. He, on the orders of Emperor Romana Lakapina,
proclaimed himself a Patriarch of the Imperial Council, and later he was reduced by John Tzimiskes”.
This means that Damian was the first Bulgarian patriarch to occupy this post until the fall of Bulgaria under Byzantine rule (1018-1019). The Medieval cathedral and Metropolitan Temple of Drastar became a Patriarchal residence of the 10th century.2
The impressive three-nave basilica to the northern fortress wall of Drastar-Silistra has been repeatedly reconstructed in its long history of a cathedral temple.
The Patriarchal Residence is a three-nave basilica with three apses and a narthex. It is believed to be the cathedral church of the first bishop of Drustar after the conversion. In 927 Drastar became the residence of the first Bulgarian Patriarch Damyan, the church was rebuilt into a cross-shaped basilica with a synthronons, a pulpit, a patriarchal mittorium, a marble altar barrier and a reliquary in front of it. The patriarchal residence quarters are developed to the west of the church.
The church was a cathedral temple of the Byzantine Bishops and Metropolitans of Drastar, and in the 13th-14th century it was restored after the Tatar invasion of 1242 and continued to be a cathedral temple of the Bulgarian bishops of Drustar. The Drustur Patriarchate is the first national patriarchate in the Christian world after the Apostolic Patriarchal thrones in Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antioch.3
During the excavations of the palace of Khan Omurtag, Prof. Atanasov also discovered the Patriarchal residence. This is evidenced by the unique miniature icons made of silver. Their relief are in the style of so-called Neo-Macedonian School. Archangels holding the symbols of royal power are depicted in the middle of the icons. This confirms the written sources of the era, according to which in the 10th century the Bulgarian patriarchs led the church precisely from Drustar.

4 SITE SIGNIFICANCE

Patriarch’s Basilica of Patriarch Damyan Dorostolski (Drustar) in Drustar (Silistra) is the first Patriarchal church in the Bulgarian state and the second largest in the country.

5 VISITOR INFORMATION

Remains of the cathedral church and the Patriarchal Palace are outdoors and have and are free to visit. The cathedral patriarchal church is buried for conservation purposes. There is a large plate on the spot.

6 REFERRAL AND EXTERNAL LINKS

  • G. Atanassov. The Christian Durostorum Drustar. The Dorostolian Diocese in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages (IV-XIV c.). Varna Veliko Tarnovo, 2007.
  • G. Atanasov. From the bishopric to the patriarchate of the First Bulgarian Kingdom in Drustar / Silistra /. Sofia. 2017; G. Atanasov. The Christian Durostsrum-Drastar. Brill Boston. 2018.

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Художествена галерия Силистра

Silistra Art Gallery

The Silistra Art Gallery is located at “Svoboda” Square, Silistra, Silistra Municipality, Silistra District, 429 km away from Sofia. There is a bus three times a day leaving from the Sofia Central Bus Station to Silistra, as well as a train three times a day from the Sofia Central Railway Station.

Дунавски парк - Силистра

Silistra Danube Park

The Silistra Danube Park is located in the central part of Silistra, Silistra Municipality. It is located 429 km away from the capital Sofia. There is a bus three times a day leaving from the Sofia Central Bus Station to Silistra, as well as a train three times a day from the Sofia Central Railway Station.

Природонаучен музей към Биосферен парк „Сребърна“

Natural History Museum at the Srebarna Biosphere Park

The Natural History Museum presents rich biodiversity of the Srebarna Biosphere Park, located near the village of Srebarna, Silistra Municipality. Situated 2 kilometers south of the Danube River and 16 kilometers west of the town of Silistra. It is located 429 kilometers away from the capital Sofia, Bulgaria. There is a bus three times a day leaving from the Sofia Central Bus Station to Silistra, as well as a train three times a day from the Sofia Central Railway Station.Ten buses daily are traveling to the village of Srebarna along the Ruse-Silistra route.