Believers gather at Bulgaria's Bachkovo Monastery

STORY: The Bachkovo Monastery is located in the Rhodope Mountains and on the tentative list of UNESCO world heritage sites, and each year on Easter Monday worshippers gather to take part in a traditional procession carrying an icon of the Virgin Mary.

Ivan Hristov, a 56-year old construction worker first took part in the procession 25 years ago.

After suffering an accident, Hristov said heard a woman’s voice in his dreams telling him he had been given a second chance. Ever since, he’s travelled to Bulgaria's Bachkovo Monastery to honor the Virgin Mary, joining hundreds of other Christian believers each year.

"She is my protector, she helps me a lot in my life and guides me." Hristov said, "So, each year I thank her by coming."

As early as dawn people began to queue in the monastery’s yard to wait for their turn to bow, light a candle and speak their prayers in front of the icon, which is believed can perform miracles.

Following the icon, the procession makes its way through the woodlands surrounding the monastery, heading towards a nearby area where according to mythology the portrait was first found.

"During the whole procession we are praying to the Virgin Mary to protect us,” Bachkovo Monastery bishop explained.

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