Traveling through Europe doesn’t have to include visiting only the most popular cities like Paris, London, Barcelona, etc. The continent of Europe, especially the southeast, has other beautiful and breathtaking places as well, and those are not famous touristic centers;
those are ancient monasteries and have the most important role in the preservation of national consciousness through history.
The Monastery of Ostrog and St. Vasilije, the Wonderworker of Ostrog
Heal your soul and body in the forbidding mountains of Montenegro – visit this magic and rare jewel of the living Orthodox faith. This holy monastery is situated far away from the noise and rush of big cities, but every day a countless number of people rush to it. They bow down before the Holy Relics of Saint Vasilije and worship those relics with the prayer, trying to fulfill their spiritual and physical needs, to ask for the protection, or simply to give thanks to him for having helped them before. This saint shows the way through life’s many temptations and challenges.
The monastery is both a wonder of nature and history. The Ostrog cliff is the Balkans Mount Sinai, the place where God reveals, just as He did to Moses. As a rule, people walk barefoot up a rocky mountain slope to the Upper Monastery, unconsciously respecting God’s command to Moses on Mount Sinai.
When people come to this holy place, they naturally bring with them their sorrows and illnesses, their doubts and weaknesses, their sins and their repentance. When they leave the monastery, they feel blessed and reborn. From Canada to South Africa, from the United States to Australia, all Orthodox Christians have the same prayers addressed to St. Vasilije to help protect them. Many parents bring their children to be baptised in front of the relics of St. Vasilije, and many marriage ceremonies have been performed at Ostrog. In addition, there are a lot of books that can be seen as a testimony of the saint’s holy mysteries that healed people. The body of St. Vasilije, who actually lived in the 17th century, has not decayed, and his soul is as alive as he is living at the present time.
The Monastery of St. Naum
According to the number of monasteries and churches, the Republic of Macedonia takes the first place in the Balkans. Those symbols of their cultural heritage are usually hidden in the middle of the most beautiful natural scenery and landscape. The city of Ohrid is the pearl of the Balkans and has more churches than any other city in the world. The monastery St. Naum is an Eastern Orthodox monastery, named after the medieval saint Naum who founded it in the year of 905 and who is actually buried inside. This saint was well-known as a healer and miracle-worker during his lifetime, and now it is respected with great veneration. The monastery is situated along Lake Ohrid, 30 kilometres south of the city of Ohrid. During the Ottoman period, it has been demolished and rebuilt again in the 19th century. At the present time, it is worshiped among the believers and very popular among the tourists.
The Monastery of St. Roman
The holy bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church, St. Nikolai of Ohrid and Zica, who lived in the 20th century, wrote a poem about the so-called Heavenly Serbia, describing this country as a spiritual place with the physical existence only in Christ and only through Christ. This quotation has a significant meaning even today. In case you haven’t heard, Serbia has over hundred adorable ancient monasteries, which can transport you back in time. One of them is definitely the monastery of St. Roman.
The monastery of St. Roman is located in the valley between two small towns, Razanj and Djunis, in the southeast Serbia. According to the legend, the monastery of St. Roman was reconstructed by a servant of Prince Lazar Hrebeljanovic, who noticed the devastated grave of St. Roman while taking care of his sheep. It was in the 14th century. After that, the monastery of St. Roman was mentioned in some Turkish documents. From the 16th to 18th century, the monastery of Saint Roman was completely demolished. The main church of this monastery was rebuilt on the foundations of the old temple. If you visit the monastery of St. Roman, you will have the opportunity to worship the relics of the saint and ask for help and protection. According to the stories of many believers, the Holy Roman really hears the sincere wishes. St. Nikolai wrote the prayer called “In the service of the Holy Roman” and described him as the man of God who lived as an “earthly angel and a heavenly man”.
After visiting monasteries in Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro, you will get a complete experience and understanding of what is beneath the surface of the continent of Europe. And most importantly, you will certainly want to visit them again and again.