Priest Stoyko Vladislavov (born, as he himself would point out in his “Autobiography”, in 1739), who later adopted the name Sophronius of Vratsa, was born in Kotel, in the family of a cattle trader. He studied at a church school in his home town reading Slavic and Greek church books. He worked as a tailor but his aspirations towards spiritual occupation were notable. занимания. In 1762 he was ordained as a priest. He worked as a teacher and a bookman in Kotel. His meeting with Paisius of Hilendar in 1765 would prove fateful. Paisius showed him his “Slavobulgarian History”, of which Sophronius made his first copy, now known as “Sophronius’ copy”. Sophronius of Vratsa traveled to Sveta Gora (1770-1775). In 1792 he left Kotel. He served at the Karnobat parish, then went to the Arbanasi Monastery (1794), and on September 17 was ordained as bishop in Vratsa under the name Sophronius. There he was socially active and according to some information initiated the sending of a political delegation to Moscow on behalf of Vratsa’s citizens. He maintained relations with the Greek Phanariotes. The bishop’s duties were becoming ever harder for him to carry out. After the commotion in Vratsa (caused by the troops of the rebel Vidin Pasha Osman Pazvantoglu – 1797) he left the city and roamed throughout Northwestern Bulgaria. He stayed in Vidin for three years – this period is important to clarify his objectives as writer. In 1803 he left for Bucharest – again on matters relating to the public good. There he served as a church notable. He was relieved of the bishop’s position at his own insistence but continued to sign as Sophronius of Vratsa.
Between 1806 and 1812 he was one of the most prominent representatives of the Bulgarian people in the relations with the Russian high command during the then Russian-Turkish war. In later years he retired to a monastery near Bucharest. The date of his death is unknown (it is dated according to the last signed document of August 2, 1813). That same year D. Popski wrote an ode about him. Sophronius of Vratsa would write his best works during his Bucharest period. “Kiriakodrumion”, i.e. “nedelnik” is a collection of precepts and sermons for every holiday of the year based on Greek and Slavic sources – the only printed work of Sophronius of Vratsa. This Collection is historic in significance as it laid the foundations for the New Bulgarian printed book. And imposed the vernacular as the literary language. It was widely popular amoung ordinary folk as “Sophronie”. He also wrote another collection “Sunday Evangelic Interpretation” (1805 – Shumen Archeological Museum). The Life and Sufferings of Sinful Sophronius ” and “Appeal to the Bulgarian People’ made Sophronius the most prominent representative of Bulgarian literature in the early 19th century.
He was canonized as saint on December 31, 1964 by the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church. His memory is honored on March 11.
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