An advocate is among four people charged with the attempted robbery of Rozhen Monastery in south-western Bulgaria, Blagoevgrad District Prosecutor’s Office Vessela Stoilova said on September 21.
The 44-year-old lawyer is suspected to have been the organiser of the attempted robbery. Most of those taken into custody were teenagers.
In the attempted robbery, which took place on the night of September 18, the group tied up a priest and then used pickaxes and spades to break open a wall behind the iconostasis.
The robbery attempt failed, barring the theft of the priest’s mobile phone, which the group took to prevent him calling emergency number 112.
Stoilova said that it was believed that the group were searching for treasure. Local legend has it that treasure was hidden in the monastery, which dates from before the 15th century, in 1901.
One of the four has been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm. The charge was pressed after a search of his home uncovered a gas pistol converted for lethal use.
Rozhen Monastery Abbot Epifaniy said that the damage to the building was not extensive and could be easily repaired.
Further arrests are expected.
(Photo: Todor Bozhinov)