Saint John the Forerunner monastery
Manastir Sveti Jovan Bigorski
Манастир Свети Јован Бигорски
Sacred heritage \ Monastery \ Debar, Macedonia
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Saint Jovan Bigorski monastery
The Saint Jovan Bigorski monastery is located in the surroudings of Rostuse village very close to Debar. The monastery church is dedicated to St. John the Baptist (Saint John the Forerunner).
The Saint Jovan Bigorski monastery complex is comprised of monastery church, ossuary located next to the church, the seymen defense tower, complex of monastery mansions as well as the newly built guest mansion.
The Bigorski church most probably is built on the foundations of an older basilica from the 11th century, more precisely from 1021. This is written in the icon-painters record. There is a great probability that the icon of Sveti Jovan Preteca (St. John Forerunner) was painted the same year when the old church was built and fresco-painted.
According to the monastery's 1833 chronicle, it was built in 1020 by Archbishop Jovan. The Ottomans destroyed the monastery in the 16th century. The Saint Jovan Bigorski monastery was restored in 1743 by the monk Ilarion, who also built several monk cells. Later, in the period from 1812 to 1825 the monastery was expanded by archimandrite Arsenius.
One of the most valuable treasures of the Saint Jovan Bigorski monastery is the iconostasis created by Petre Filipovski - Garkata and Makarie Frckovski, which is done in tiny woodcarving. They did not miss to present in woodcarving their own figures through the scene of the master in contemplation and his associates while working. This scene is present at the iconostasis in both churches where these masters worked.
The Bigorski monastery ambient is redeemed with the old mansions with the spacious wooden balconies and the dining room furnished with authentic furniture from the time of construction, late 17th and early 19th century. The special guest mansions offer possibility to each of the visitors, under certain conditions, to stay longer and to enjoy the marvelous sunrise of this heavenly site.
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