Ostrog Monastery

The Monastery of Ostrog is a monastery of the Serbian Orthodox Church placed against an almost vertical background, high up in the large rock of Ostroška Greda. Ostrog Monastery is dedicated to Sveti Vasilije Ostroški – Saint Basil of Ostrog, the highly respected saint of the Serbian Orthodox Church and miracle-worker whom many religious people pray. From Ostrog Monastery a superb view of the fertile Bjelopavlici Plain can be seen. Ostrog Monastery is the most popular spiritual and pilgrimage site in Montenegro and in the Balkans.

The Ostrog Monastery complex comprises two parts, the first of which, the larger lower monastery is situated around the Church of the Holy Trinity, built in 1824, containing the majority of the monastic residences, including the Dormitory. The white, rock-hewn upper Ostrog Monastery, a tough tiny 3 km walk uphill (accessible by car also from the Bogetici settlement), holds two diminutive cave-churches, one of which, the Holy Cross, features some splendid rock-painted frescoes by the great seventeenth-century Serbian artists-fresco painters Jovan and Radul depicting revered saints (including Saint Sava and one of Saint Basil-Vasilije Ostroski), scenes from the life of Christ, and religious holidays.

The Ostrog Monastery was founded by Metropolitan Bishop Vasilije of Herzegovina in the 17th century. Some records claim that the Ostrog Monastery was established around 859 in the times before the reign of dynastic rule of the Vlastimirović/Višeslavić/Vojislavić family and Budimir-Mutimir, son of Prince Vlastimir. Basil of Ostrog and Tvrdoš the Miracle-worker was the Serbian Orthodox Metropolitan of the Zahum and Herzegovina region from 1639 to 1671. The Bishop Vasilije /Sveti Vasilije Ostroški – Saint Basil of Ostrog/ brought monks to this secluded place after the Ottomans destroyed the Tvrdos Monastery. Sveti Vasilije Ostroški – Saint Basil of Ostrog died there in 1671 and some years later he was sanctified. His body is enshrined in a reliquary kept in the Cave Church dedicated to the Presentation of the Mother of God to the Temple.

The present-day appearance of Ostrog Monastery dates from the period of reconstruction in 1923-1926, after a fire which had destroyed the major part of the Ostrog Monastery complex. Fortunately, the two little Ostrog cave-churches were spared and they are the key areas of this important Orthodox monument. The frescoes in the Church of the Presentation were created at the end of the 17th century. The other church, dedicated to the Holy Cross is placed within a cave on the upper level of the Ostrog Monastery and was painted by master Radull who successfully coped with the natural shapes of the cave and laid the frescoes immediately on the surface of the rock and the south wall. Around the church are the monastic residences, which together with the church building and the scenery make this monument outstandingly spritual and beautiful.

The young shepherd Stanko – boy who tended his sheep in the Niksic area of Montenegro was killed on 15 September 1712 by the Turks for the Christian faith. The holy relics of the martyr boy Stanko – two hands were kept in the Upper Ostrog Monastery in the tiny church dedicated to the Holy Cross, but today they are kept in the newly built church of Saint Stanko above the Lower Ostrog Monastery. There is record kept in the lovely coffin in the Ostrog Monastery on the martydom of the shepherd boy Stanko of Ostrog.

The Ostrog Orthodox monastery is one of the most frequently visited in the Balkans, visited by believers from all parts of the world, either individually or in groups. Ostrog Monastery is the meeting place of all confessions: the Orthodox, the Catholics and the Muslim. According to the stories of pilgrims, by praying close to the Holy Saint’s relics, many have been cured and helped in lessening the difficulties in their lives.

South Balkans Tour

Balkan Tour Serbia – Montenegro – Bosnia and Herzegovina