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Saint Jovan Bigorski Monastery

Coordinates: 41°37′19″N 20°36′42″E / 41.62194°N 20.61167°E / 41.62194; 20.61167
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Saint Jovan Bigorski Monastery
Monastery information
OrderMacedonian Orthodox
DioceseDiocese of Debar and Kičevo
Controlled churchesChurch of St John the Baptist
Founder(s)John of Debar
LocationMavrovo and Rostuša Municipality
Coordinates41°37′19″N 20°36′42″E / 41.62194°N 20.61167°E / 41.62194; 20.61167
Public accessyes

The Monastery of Saint Jovan Bigorski (Macedonian: Свети Јован Бигорски) is a Macedonian Orthodox monastery located in the western part of North Macedonia, near the road connecting the towns of Debar and Gostivar.

The monastery church is dedicated to St. John the Baptist. One of its most valuable treasures is the iconostasis, created by Petre Filipov - Garkata[1] from the nearby village of Gari, and considered one of the finest examples of wood-carved iconostases.


According to its 1833 chronicle, the monastery was built in 1020 by the Bulgarian[2] clergyman John of Debar who was the last Patriarch of Bulgaria before the fall of the First Bulgarian Empire.[3] The Ottomans destroyed the monastery in the 16th century, but it was restored in 1743 by the monk Ilarion, who also constructed a number of cells for monks. The archimandrite Arsenius further expanded the monastery between 1812 and 1825. The historical record also mentions a monk Iov, recognized by some researchers as the future educator Yoakim Karchovski, a Bulgarian priest who became an important figure in the Bulgarian National Revival.[4]

Most of the old monastery complex was destroyed by a fire in 2009, while the new sections of the complex and church were saved. Reconstruction of the old sections began in May 2010 with the goal of restoring the buildings as closely as possible to their original style.

Holy Relics[edit]

The monastery has a large collection of holy relics including John the Baptist, Clement of Ohrid, Lazarus of Bethany, Saint Stephen, Saint Nicholas, Saint Barbara, Paraskevi of Rome, Tryphon, Respicius, and Nympha, and part of the Holy Cross.

Another valuable monastery treasure is an icon dating from 1020 with supposedly miraculous healing power.



  1. ^ Lazar Trifunović, Jugoslavija: umetnički spomenici od praistorije do danas, Jugoslovenska knjiga, 1988, ISBN 8674110053, 265.
  2. ^ Снегаров, Иван. История на Охридската архиепископия, т.1. Второ фототипно издание. София, Академично издателство "Марин Дринов", 1995, [1924]. с. 195.
  3. ^ Пириватрић, Ср. Бугарски патријарх и архиепископ Јован. Почеци манастирске кнјижевности у Охридској Архиепископији. Годишник на Софийския университет, Център за славяно-византийски проучвания „Иван Дуйчев", 13, 2004, стр. 3-5.
  4. ^ Becoming Bulgarian: the articulation of Bulgarian identity in the nineteenth century in its international context: an intellectual history, Ost-European studies, Janette Sampimon, Pegasus, 2006, ISBN 90-6143-311-8, p. 234.

External links[edit]