Emil Ivanov studied from 1991 to 1996 at the university of Sofia. He earned his doctorate in 2002 from Christian Archaeology and Art History at the university of Erlangen. From 2003 to 2004, he was research assistant at the Bavarian State Archives in Bamberg. He investigating over 180 important records (from 14th to 19th centuries) about the Münchaurach monastery. Since 2004, he has been teaching at the St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia. He became professor for Christian Archeology in 2009.
He was visiting professor in Rome, Thessaloniki, Munich, Berlin, Jena, and elsewhere. In 2012, he established a journal for Christian Archaeology and Art. He translated two books from German: Die schönsten Reiseziele Europas (2008) and Kreuz und Kreml (2011).