Saint John of Rila, the founder of the Bulgarian hermitage, is considered the heavenly patron of the Bulgarian people.
He was born around 876. During the reign of the Bulgarian Tsar Peter the Great (first half of the 10th century), he decided to retire from the world and began to live as a hermit in Rila Mountain.
Ivan Rilsky was canonized during his lifetime, and legends say that wild animals themselves found him and came to him, and birds flew in and sat on his hands. He knew how to speak with animals and birds, could influence the climate and people's thoughts, and his fame as a healer and miracle worker made Tsar Peter himself go to him personally.