St. John Bigorski
See the Monastery and learn about its famous iconostasis.
See the Monastery from the air
The monastery is located near the Gostivar -Debar road, in the vicinity of the village of Rostuse. The church is dedicated to St. John the Baptist. According to the monastery's 1833 chronicle, it was built in 1020 by Archbishop Jovan. However, the information is believed to be a legendary one. In the XVI century, the Ottomans destroyed the monastery, only an old church survived. In 1743 it was restored by Ilarion the monk, who also built several cells. In the XVIII century famous priors of the monastery were Trifilia and Mitrofan. In the period from 1812 to 1825, Archimandrite Arsenius expanded the monastery and wrote the above mentioned Chronicle in the last year. Among the donors there is also a mention of a monk Iov, recognized by some researchers as the future educator Joakim Krcovski. Before that, in the year 1800, the monk Mitrophan expanded the church.
The iconostasis of St. John Bigorski
The authors of the iconostasis were the esteemed Masters Petre Filipovski and Makarie Frckovski. Here are some details of the iconostasis:
The monastery is also mentioned in the XVII century chronicle of fresco painters. The monastery had a remarkable collection of manuscripts. At the National Library in Sofia a Chrysostom of 1547 is kept, whose author was Visarion the monk, who served under Prior Seraphim in the Slepce Monastery, and stayed for a while at the library of Bigorski. On the sheet 165 there is a record from 1631. In the 1547 lessons of Cyril of Jerusalem (in Sofia), there is a note about the same author, written in 1697 by Bishop of Debar and Kicevo regions, Jakim. There is also an invitation for the hermits to the monastery, written in the vernacular to Pope Constantine by Prior Arsenius from the village Makelarij in the region of Debar, with the monastery's seal from 1755. It is kept in the National Library in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. According to a record from a monastery's manuscript, in 1564 its roof was reconstructed. In the monastery's collection from the XVI century, there is a book of the Four Gospels, and from the mid-XVI century a Patrikos, written by Kozma Vukelic in Lipovo. According to a 1757 record, the manuscript belongs to the monastery Bigorski, and is kept in its library under the signature M-4. Other known manuscripts from its collection are: the 1857 chronicle, the 1863 ecclesiastic codices written by Joan Harlosin; the 1868 chronicles; the monastery's overheads-revenues records for the period from 1900 to 1905. The Holy Fathers' Book of Sayings, written by the Russian monk Arsenius in Jerusalem in 1813, which used to be kept in this monastery, is presently at the National and University Library in Skopje /M - 12/; in 1851 Kozma Simonovic there transcribed the service of Ss. Athanasius and Cyril. In the Archives of Macedonia in Skopje from the XIX century, there are also documents from the Bigorski monastery. In 1924 Ch. Marijanovic published a monograph on this Macedonian cultural monument.