Monasteries and Churches of Montenegro

(Travel notes by Vera Bourenina)

In June 2012 my husband Vladimir and I had the pleasure of visiting Montentgro (translated from Venetian dialect of Italian Language meaning “Black Mountain” or “Crna Gora” in Serbian), a beautiful country on the Balkan peninsula, formally a part of the Republic of Yugoslavia.

We knew that this country with its clean air and beautiful beaches on the Adriatic Sea is one of the favorite places for vacations (especially for tourists from Russia and the Ukraine), but we didn’t know that we could find such historical and cultural places of interest! Now we can really consider this country as a place for orthodox pilgrimage.

In Montenegro, with population only of about 600,000 there are 60 functioning monasteries.  A church or two can be found in every small village.  Although other religions are also represented here, the majority of the population are orthodox Christians.

The entire history of this nation is the constant story of struggle with the infidels: the Turks during the power of Ottoman Empire, Romans and Venetians, and French forces during the Napoleon invasion. The people of Montenegro struggled for freedom and for the Orthodox faith. For several centuries Montenegro was a theocratic state, which means that all state power belonged to the Montenegrin Orthodox Church. Such a union of official and religious powers was needed to unite the scattered Slavic tribes into an organized, spiritually empowered people that were capable of resisting the numerous attacks of enemies and to keep the orthodox faith and nationhood.

The history and culture of Montenegro is very closely linked with Russia. Russian saints are venerated and honored in the churches; and the name of the Russian Tsar is mentioned at each liturgy (it would be appropriate to note that Nicholas II was canonized here even earlier than in Russia). One can see a lot of Russian icons and other church items – gifts to Montenegrin Church from Russia.

 

We brought out our brightest and most pleasant experience from Montenegro, not only because its history means so much for our Russian souls, but also because the purity and beauty of this county goes together with spiritual beauty of the people and their love to the orthodox faith.

So I decided to share my humble knowledge and my impressions of the churches and monasteries in Montenegro:

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