Ref Number: 38
The Church of St. Paraskeva-Petka (known to most Varna residents as simply St. Petka)
Ref Number: 38
The Church of St. Paraskeva-Petka (known to most Varna residents as simply St. Petka) began building in 1901. A stone excavated during the first sod turning and consecrated by Metropolitan Bishop Simeon now has a permanent home in the church. The church, which was built in 1906, was inaugurated much later by Metropolitan Bishop Joseph. There are no records of where the cash for the temple’s construction came from, but wealthy Varna residents are thought to have contributed.
Unlike some other churches in Varna, St. Petka has never been destroyed. Although it was built in the early twentieth century, it was not adorned until 1973, and throughout that time, it simply welcomed visitors with whitewashed walls. The portraits of the saints were completed in one year (1972 – 1973) by artists Dimitar Bakalski and Nikolay Rostovtsev, and the standard church adornment was the work of master-painter Alexander Sorokin. Although it is impossible to pinpoint the exact date of the first church service, it is known that services were held prior to the church’s official inauguration.
The fundamental motif of the church iconostasis is the unending battle between good and evil. The two dragons with their heads lowered in front of the cross, as well as the dove, which represents the Holy Spirit, signify God’s mercy, benevolence, and justice.
A church expansion was built in 1928 to serve as a communal kitchen for orphans and homeless, war refugees, and other impoverished people until 1945, when the communist regime took power. It is now utilized as a church baptistery.
The lovely church of St. Petka, surrounded by the greenery of a little silent park, is one of Varna’s most venerated and adored places of worship.