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Travel Macedonia - January 23, 2006

January 23 2006

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Say the name of the city occurred on behalf of the ancient Slavonic pagan god Veles. Picture is different than in Skopje: the city is only one mosque and 5 of the current Orthodox churches. As a result of a recent survey of 55,000 residents 85% consider themselves Orthodox. Locals told how during the Second World War Velez miraculously was saved from the bombing.

Enemy pilots who sought shown on the map a small town, misled velestsev home. Houses with tiled roofs, standing on the slopes, when viewed from above was impressed by tall buildings. Assuming that underneath some other big city, the pilots sent planes with the deadly cargo passing.

Maybe it's just a legend, but, perhaps, miraculous rescue the city from the barbaric destruction associated with another story that occurred several centuries earlier. On the outskirts of Veles at the foot of a low shrubby mountain is a monastery in the name of the martyr Demetrius with the church of the XII century. In the XIV century, when the Turks held sway in the Balkans, perceiving hostile to Orthodox shrines, above him in danger of destruction. And then the congregation brim filled the small church of the land, hiding it from hostile eyes.

Only in the XIX century, a certain pious local resident named Peter in a dream come martyr Demetrius, and ordered to dig a church. White marble tombstone of the grave of Peter is now at the entrance to the temple. It is very likely that the life and home velestsev the war have been preserved by the Providence of God in memory of their ancestors, uberegshih from desecration and destruction of the House of God.

Venue for performances of Russian choral church became Panteleimon. It is located on the outskirts of town on a hillside, from which all Velez visible as daylight. Leads to the temple bruschataya road, meandering in a chaotic maze of streets between the small houses with tile roofs, pressed together tightly, as if strung on a string of beads. In the evening, when we follow this path, everything breathed of peaceful tranquility and simplicity. Doors and windows of houses hospitably thrown open, sitting on the porch, talking loudly among themselves, older power housewives past them shouting worn dark-haired kids. On islands free of paving the ground digging tabunki colorful chickens. Buses are not spread out, so the participants of the concert and velestsev who wanted to visit, dovozili from downtown to the place by taxi, free of charge. Steep and winding road machines overcame a matter of minutes, literally flew into the mountain, skillfully maneuvering through the narrow streets.

By the beginning of the concert house is full, and in the churchyard continues to pour into the group well-dressed men and women, including seniors, who deftly stepping on the round stones in high heels. To so delicately balance on the sloping cobblestone street, probably to be born in Veles: the slope is so steep that we are in a normal shoe had to walk, holding each other, so as not to slip. Macedonians though that, they stalk sedately to church, friendly, smiling and nodding his young Russian chorine in long concert dress, gathered at the entrance to the temple.

Time of its construction - in 1840, a large three-tiered gilded iconostasis created in 1855.Interesting feature of church architecture can be noted a special chapel, where the crown vtorobrachnyh, the same place as we were told, women usually pray. Temple created by the architect Andrei Damyanov - representative of the well-known not only in the Macedonian dynasty of architects. Him and his two brothers in the Balkans, built about forty churches. Church of St. Panteleimon never closed it - cemetery and around the mountainside strewn with gravestones gravestones. Covering every slightest fit bench lands, they rise up to the summit. It turns out that each new generation of citizens, which has taken place here resting place, is getting closer to heaven.

In Skopje, back away after midnight. In the morning the delegation left the capital of Macedonia, this time for good - our way lies to the southeast, the city of Strumica. On the way we pass the small town Radovish, the main attraction is a huge Trinity Cathedral. Temple entirely new - it began building in 1997, and the consecration took place in October 2003. The iconostasis of the cathedral produced in Kiev, the murals the artist wrote from Russia and Ukraine. One of them depicts a full-length cathedral Churchwarden - the famous Macedonian businessman Hristo Guterova with his family. However, remarkable is not it, and placed above him two medallions with portraits of Philip and Alexander of Macedon, thank God, without a halo. "We honor them as well-known men who stood at the origins of the Macedonian history" - says the abbot of the temple.

Attitude to Alexander the Great here, really, really anxious. Portraits of the commander, the image of his famous military phalanxes placed on t-shirts, badges, bags and other souvenirs. Guides in his stories draw astounding listeners the story of a great conqueror of antiquity as great Macedonian empire, which later doom doomed to disintegration and humiliation. Hope to recreate some of the hotheads still cherish today. Even the first currency of the independent Republic of Macedonia was originally supposed to call statirom, as well as coins times of Alexander, but because of protests Greece's idea was rejected.

The main attraction of the area of Strumica is a monastery in honor of Our Lady the Merciful "- Eleousa, the Macedonian footing" Velyusa. Incidentally, here called the monasteries and churches by the names of heavenly patrons - "Saint Jovan", "Saint Naum", or by title Theotokos icons to which they relate. Velyusa founded in 1080 by Bishop strumitskim Manuel, who came here from Chalcedon, from the Monastery of St. Avksent'ev. In the years of communist rule, this monastery, and many others, was closed, the first nuns came here only in 1995.

Crossing the threshold of the monastery, you find yourself in an oasis - a tiny courtyard is covered with manicured lawns and flower beds, on its edges planted young pine and silver weeping willows. In the heart of the temple courtyard of traditional Byzantine architecture, from its thick stone walls significantly breathes antiquity. Inside the dome of the fragments of frescoes XI-XII century, among them a rare image of Christ Emmanuel - twelve-year boy. Dwellers and the congregation of the monastery dauntlessly walk on the marble floor plate, which has remained in the XI century.

Since the Byzantine era monk in what is now Macedonia, was very common. Said by residents of the country: the monastery we have on each mountain. And, indeed, a very small area within the State - about twenty-five thousand square kilometers, is indicated several dozen monasteries. The first Slavic monasteries on the territory of present Macedonia founded St. Naum, a disciple of Cyril and Methodius.

img alt = "Temple Monastery Eleousa" hspace = "10" src = "/ img/9757.jpeg" align = "left" border = "1" /> In addition to his superiors Macedonian monks are revered saints Gabriel Lesnovsky, Jovan Isagovsky Prokhor Pchinsky and Jovan Rila. Currently, the number of existing dwellings and their occupants is increased. After the atheistic persecution, in which her tragic role played and three centuries of Turkish occupation and decades of communist rule of Tito, the country is a spiritual rebirth.

Particular attention is paid to education: in each diocese has its own publishing division, out of magazines, newspapers and books, often it's translations of contemporary Russian authors. Macedonian bishops, many of whom came from Mount Athos tend to strengthen in the monasteries isichasm traditions. On the eve of our arrival, held the episcopal ordination of a new bishop Strumitskogo, also a former monk of Mount Athos. All this was told Feofanija nun who became for us a guide to the monasteries of Strumica. Russian mother herself, a native of Tula. Marrying a Croat, had gone with him to his homeland, where she lived for thirty years, having given birth to two daughters. Church life was not interested as long as the eldest daughter - a graduate of the University of Zagreb, suddenly the mother had not gone to an Orthodox monastery. "I often went to her, visited, asked questions. - Says mother .- started to think about faith, reading spiritual literature and realized that outside of Orthodoxy there is no salvation. Gradually came to the decision to take monastic vows.

By this time my mother has been widowed, so that the special obstacles to the implementation of its intention not to have. Now the eldest daughter of her nun Nahum - resident of Eleousa, and she Feofanija sister lives in a nunnery, near Skopje. By the daughter comes to visit. "Of course, we can not do without temptation - mother says Feofanija. - Family relationships were, and they can not disappear anywhere, but my daughter took the veil before, the highest ranking it higher than me, and in spiritual matters, I should listen to her. " Furthermore sister Naumov Eleousa ten nuns - for Macedonia is a lot. The sisters live very modestly, and their daily diet is very poor.

The reasons for this - poverty reviving the monastery and its lack of a traditional Russian rural farmsteads with livestock and vegetable gardens. How to tell the same mother Feofanija, sister - bad biznesmenki: handing out more than selling. " For this reason the community was a herd of cows obzavedshayasya of fourteen goals and his mini-dairies, three years later went bankrupt. The nuns make iconography, translations of patristic works, but the basic income generate donations.

Eleousa stands on top of the mountain, and at its foot, near the village of Vodochi or Vadiochi, is another ancient monastery of Saint Leontius Byzantine. According to legend, the name of this place shall the tragic events that took place in the XI century. It is here on the orders of the Byzantine emperor Basil II Bolgaroboytsy blinded - "laid out the eyes" of fourteen thousand soldiers of the defeated Greek Bulgarian Tsar Samuil. Christian basilica here was already in the V-VI centuries, XI appear references to the monastery.

His temple, once famous for luxury furnishings, mosaics, precious utensils and icons, the cathedral served for Metropolitan Strumitskih. In the mid-nineteenth century Leontevsky monastery visited the Russian writer Grigorovich. Abode severely damaged by the earthquake of 1930. Ancient temple regained its historical appearance in the late XX century, during the restoration, which lasted a decade. Now living here three nuns, the monastery is ascribed to the monastery Eleousa.

To be continued.

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