Saint George Monastery Kurbinovo village

The church dedicated to Saint George is situated in the Prespa Lake area, near the tiny picturesque village of Kurbinovo, embraced by the Pelister Mountain-National Park. According to the time of its fresco-decoration as per the Greek inscription in the northern side, it is assumed that the Church of Saint George Monastery in Kurbinovo village has been built in 1191. The inscription in Kurbinovo church was completed in black letters, in four lines, on bright, redish-brownish background, on the spot of trapezoid shape, in the eastern side of the constructed altar table. That was the time when Byzantine Empire ruled territory of present Republic of Macedonia, the time after the reign of Tzar Samuil, the first Slavo-Macedonian Emperor, and the founder of the first medieval Slavo-Macedonian state. However there are still no reliable documented data on time of construction and the donor of Saint George Church in Kurbinovo village. The Church of Saint George in Kurbinovo village was built by stone, while bricks were used for construction of the altar double lancet window, arch-vaults and lunettes above the entrance, and partially around them. The Kurbinovo church was plastered in the outside, with fresco technique used to imitate the construction with stone and bricks, before the church had been fresco painted inside and on the western facade. In the 19th century, the Kurbinovo Church was renovated, and in the first decades of the 20th century a wooden ceiling and the porch were built, and the southern and the northern entrances were closed and transformed into two windows.

What impresses and amazes in this church is its fresco-painting, which, coupled by the one in the church of Sveti Panteleimon Monastery near Skopje, represents an original and a peak of the artistic mastery in the times of the art of Comnenes in Macedonia. On the west facade of the Saint George Monastery in Kurbinovo, there are visible remnants of frescoes with depictions of female and male characters in full size, vested in imperial clothes, as well as a figure of a church nobleman. It is most probably a depiction of the people who built the original small church of Saint George.

The fresco-painting in the interior of the church of Saint George in Kurbinovo village is divided into three zones. The drawing is expressive, dynamic, with accentuated slenderness, vivaciousness and movement of the painted figures, with the dominant feeling of the inner experience of the characters in the dramatic scenes. Typical is the depiction of the drapes that are vivacious in baroque style, with a great number of animated folds. The frescoes of Saint George Church in Kurbinovo village illustrate scenes from the life of Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary. In the altar apse of Saint George Church in Kurbinovo village, the composition Annunciation is painted, that has made this church exclusive and a part of the annals of the peak achievements of the Byzantine fresco-painting. The depiction of the Archangel Gabriel stands out and it has almost become a symbol and landmark of the church in Kurbinovo. Part of the Saint Gabriel fresco of Saint George in Kurbinovo village is depicted on the Macedonian banknote of 50 denars. Interesting and rare are the depictions of Jesus Christ and the patron of the church, Saint George, from the north and the south wall, with a monumental size. Outstanding among the frescoes of Church of Saint George in Kurbinovo village are the portraits of Ana and its daughter Mary, the Mother of God, painted in the lower zone of the south wall of the naos, as well as the portraits of the Macedonian en-lighteners Cyril and Methodius, in the altar space. The depiction of St. Methodius is its oldest portrait known in the entire Slavic-Byzantine world. Opposite from them, there is the figure of St. Clement of Ohrid. The fresco-painting of Saint George Monastery in Kurbinovo village is a synthesis of in-fusible into a single entity, a junction of its pinnacle elegance and the high expressiveness.