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Saint John of Rila (Bulgarian: sveti Ivan Rilski) (876 - circa 946) was the first Bulgarian hermit and the founder of the Rila Monastery. He is today honoured as the patron of Bulgarian people and one of the most important saints of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
Saint John of Rila is also legendarily known to have performed a multitude of miracles in order to help people. This brought him fame throughout the country, which he did not desire and often tried to avoid contact with other people. With his growing number of followers, many young believers and supporters set up camps around his cave, seeking a blessing from him. This led the way to the creation of the Rila Monastery, which is considered to be the foremost monastery in Bulgaria.