Gornjak Monastery

Gornjak Monastery

Gornjak Monastery is situated close to Petrovac in an interesting and tranquil Gorge of Mlava River called Zdrelo (literally “Pharynx”). All through the Mlava River Gorge there is evidence of past times: a solid fortress was here once blocking the road between two hills with its wall. Later the Mlava River Gorge become known for its hermits who lived their ascetic lives in cells within the caves as well as the remains of Medieval churches can bee seen in several places, among which the best known locality is called Mitropolija. Monastery is situated within amazing scenery of Eastern Serbia leaning on the vertical rock with its north side. Gornjak Monastery once called Zdrelo – until the 16th century – is an endowment of Prince Lazar built between 1378 and 1381 with the spiritual help of monk-hermit Grigorije from Sinai Peninsula.

Once a rich monastery endowed with 240 villages, Gornjak Monastery sank to obscurity in the Turkish times. In the 18th century Monastery was in ruins and immediately after the reconstruction it was burnt down again in 1788. In the First World War Gornjak Monastery was totally pillaged by the occupying Bulgarians while in the Second War it was set ablaze by the Germans who sent the abbot to the concentration camp never to return. Since 1968 Monastery has been nunnery.

Although Gornjak Monastery was built on the Medieval trefoil ground-plan of Morava Architectural style, the present day church construction dates back mostly from the 18th century while the belfry and the porch are from the 19th century. The fresco-paintings of Gornjak Monastery were painted in 1847 and are of considerable quality. In the small cave chapel above the main church, the relics of the monastery’s co-founder St. Grigorije are kept. Relics of Saint Gregory – Sveti Grigorije are very respected by local population and believers who consider them miracle-working and healing. Visitors to Gornjak Monastery the uniquely spiritual place can also see here fragments of the 14th century frescoes.

Photos CD “Moja Srbija” www.turistvodic.info