Kumanica Monastery

Kumanica Monastery

Kumanica Monastery is located at the southwestern-most part of Serbia, between Prijepolje and Bijelo Polje, 13 km away from Brodarevo, so one immediately reaches it after crossing the border between Serbia and Montenegro. The Kumanica Monastery actually lies is the Vrbnica village, at the beginning of the gorge of the speed Lim River, on the right-hand side of the railway Belgrade – Bar. Kumanica Monastery was built in the beginning of the 14th century and was first mentioned in 1514. Kumanica Monastery is dedicated to Saint Gabriel, who is assumed to have been the Medieval educator and the arch-priest of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The ruins of the Kumanica Monastery kept parts that surely testify its age from the end of the 13th and the middle of the 15th centuries.

Unfortunately the northern side of the tiny Kumanica Monastery church was destroyed during construction of the railway, so the precise age of the first Kumanica Monastery church is impossible to be determined. It is presumed that the “golden age” of the Kumanica Monastery dates to the mid of the 16th and the 17th centuries. It is also presumed that the Kumanica Monastery was destructed and abandoned in the second half of the 18th century. Kumanica Monastery was deserted for long time during its long history. In 1926 famous Serbian art historian and architect Aleksandar Deroko, found Kumanica Monastery church in ruins. The first drawings of the Monastery church basis were done then, so later, in 1933 Đorđe Bošković finished them assuming that the church date from the 16th or the 17th century.

“At the time when it was originally built, at the entrance to the dangerous canyon of the Lim River, in the deep oak forests, beneath the rocky cliff, the Kumanica Monastery was an oasis of peace, that probably had no monastery in the Lim River valley. Kumanica Monastery was at that time guard of the holy canons until the 18th century, when it declined for unknown reasons”, says father Nikolay.

The origin of the name of Kumanica Monastery is not fully clear. According to some scholars it comes from the monks who flee from Kumanovo, while Deroko stated that Kumanica was named after Kumans – Bulgars. However the most common opinion is that the name of the Monastery is connected with the Noble Family of Kumanci or Kumaničići whose origin comes from this area. This monastery safeguards the relics of Saint Gregory of Kumanica, the Medieval Serbian Archbishop of the Saint Nemanjić Dynasty. Locals and visitors highly respect the cult of Saint Gregory of Kumanica Monastery. Before the Turkish destruction, the Kumanica Monastery kept the holy relics of Saint Haralambos who was great fighter against plaque that existed in the Middle ages in those areas of Serbia.

The monastery of Kumanica had been in pitiful state and in ruins for centuries, and it was restored and consecrated in 2000. Kumanica Monastery is one of the rare shrines of the Orthodox Church in the world where numerous people of various religions who believe in the curative-magic effects of the Holy relics of Saint Gabriel gather on the Day of Saint Archangel Michael, celebrated on the 26th of July. The lovely Kumanica Monastery Dormitory has been built recently and provides a beautiful place to stay for numerous pilgrims and all who respect the spirituality. Slavoljub Pušica, Director of the Prijepolje Museum has written and dedicated beautiful and interesting book to the Kumanica Monastery. Kumanica Monastery is our favorite starting point for rafting programs, blessing us all !!!