Archaeologists Find New Fragments of Bulgaria’s Oldest Icon: 10th Century AD Ceramic Icon of St. Theodore Stratilates

New fragments have been discovered from the earliest known Bulgarian-made icon – a ceramic icon of St. Theodore Stratilates dating back to the 10th century AD, the height of the First Bulgarian Empire (632/680-1018 AD) – and the icon itself has been restored for the first time since its discovery in the early 20th century.

The restored icon of St. Theodore Stratilates, which is one of Bulgaria’s national symbols, has now been shown for the first time with the added newly discovered fragments at the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Sofia.

The icon was found at the beginning of the 20th century during archaeological excavations of the medieval Bulgarian monastery Patleyna located 2 km south of Veliki Preslav, today a small town in Northeast Bulgaria which was the glorious capital of the First Bulgarian Empire between 893 and 970 AD, connected with the reign of Tsar Simeon I the Great (r. 893-927 AD) and the period known as the (First) Golden Age of Bulgarian literature and culture.

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