Saint Ivan Rilski was born around 876 in a village near the main road and at an early age of 25 he rejected civilized life and became a monk. After several years spent elsewhere, he headed deep into the wild and impenetrable Rila Mountains. He was first seen by a couple of shepherds who spotted him and he cured a man who was brought to him. Word of his holiness spread throughout Bulgaria. People were seeking solitude and coming to him= He did not send them away and they settled with him.
St. Ivan's relics were brought by the king of Bulgaria to Sredets (Sofia today) on the 18th of August, which became an official holiday for the Monastery of RIla. In 1183 the relics were brought to Hungary town Estergom by King Bela ІІІ and after Bulgaria's liberation from Byzantine rule and the declaration of Veliko Tarnovo as the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, Bulgarian Tsar Ivan Assen ІІ ordered to move the relics to the new capital in 1195 where he built a special sanctuary.
St. Ivan Rilski set an example for living a holy life , but also he united his followers and founded a Monastery that played a huge role in the future centuries of Ottoman rule.