Jovan Bigorski Monastery is located near the main road Gostivar – Debar. Two kilometers before the village Rostusa separates a minor road of one kilometer in length, which leads to the Monastery of St. John (Jovan) Bigorski.
The road is surrounded by trees and rocks of limestone (“bigor” – after which the name Bigorski comes) that rises slightly on a hill and ends at the main entrance of the monastery.
The monastery is located on the slopes of Mount Bistra, surrounded by lush forest and below the monastery, it in adjacent vicinity flow the clear waters of the river Radika, rich with diverse fish, mostly trout.
From the monastery spreads a beautiful view of the mountain Korab with its peaks Mal (Small) and Golem (Large) Krcin, as well as picturesque villages Rostusa, Velebrdo, Bituse, and Trebiste placed in its surrounding rich with forests and meadows.
Here adjacent are the villages Tresonce, Gari, Osoi, Galičnik Lazaropole, places from where originate a plead of engravers and painters from XVIII and XIX century.
These villages are tied with the names of the famous carvers Petre Filipovski called “Garka” and Makarie Frckovski, author of the iconostasis in the church St. Spas (Holy Salvation) in Skopje, the monastery church Gavril Lesnovski and St. John (Jovan) Bigorski monastery.
The monastery St. Jovan Bigorski is important not only for its beautiful carved iconostasis but also for the monastery quarters, the work of a master-masons from this region, which at that time were in groups as painters, engravers, and craftsmen-masons.
The iconostasis was made between 1830-1840, by the famous masters Petre Filipovski and Makarie Frckoski. The iconostasis in the monastery church of St. John Bigorski is a remarkable masterpiece of the master Petre Filipovski.
The method for processing the iconostasis, the wealth of figures and compositions with motifs from the Old and New Testaments, rank the iconostasis among the best achievements of carving in Macedonia and the world.
During its existence, the monastery was repeatedly destroyed and burned. Because the location of the monastery was such, located in the region of Western Macedonia which was full of robbers and bandits, there were numerous dangers for the monastery and some say only thanks to the wonders of St. John, the monastery survived.
History of the architecture
Because the monastery through the past was repeatedly ruined, there is nothing left of the first buildings from the days of John from Debar. The only thing that remains from that period is the miraculous icon of St. John the Baptist.
Today’s monastery temple dates back to the late eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century. Its construction is associated with the name of abbot Mitrofan (Metrophanes – 1796-1807). However, perhaps most significant for the present look of the monastery is the abbot Arsenij (Arsenius – 1807-1839), which called the famous Miak masters for the making of the famous iconostasis and renewal of the old mansion.
At that time the monastery quarters consisted of few buildings. The Monastic quarters, next to the church, known as the “Upper Mansions”, were built in the year 1814.
Just above the entrance of the monastery, there was an inn called “Dolni Palat”, which unfortunately burned down in 1912. The old inn, along with other shelters and buildings accounted for a closed whole, typical for monastery living quarters from the type of the monasteries in Sveta Gora.
Right from the entrance to the monastery, as well as before the church porch, are fountains with cold drinking mountain water.
On September 30, 2009, the monastery was caught in a fire in which completely were burnt the dormitories, dining room, guest room, kitchen, library, monastic houses, and the gallery of icons. The fire which broke out in the kitchen luckily has not embarked on the part of the monastery, where the invaluable assets like the icons, iconostasis, and the famous miraculous icon of St. John the Baptist were kept.
Shortly afterward, the process of renovation of the monastery began.
Photo Gallery - Part 1
Photo Gallery – Monastery St. Jovan Bigorski
- Date: 01.06.2018
- Photos: OFF ROAD Macedonia…