Lesnovo Monastery of St. Gavril Lesnovski
See and learn about the iconostasis in the church.

The church is located in the village of Lesnovo, in the region of Kratovo. It is dedicated to St. Archangel Michael. It origin is related to the life of Gavril Lesnovski, an anchorite. The writings about his life state that the monastery existed during his life and that he entered the monastic order there. It is believed that the monastery was built when he entered the monastic order or after his death, when the cult of the anchorite life developed (as written in the short 1330 writings on his life). The exact period of the life of Gavril Lesnovski is not determined. It is believed that it should have been during the XI century; thus also that the monastery was probably built in the second half of XI century, when in the regions north from the river Bregalnica a hermit cult was flourishing, and Gavril was a part of it. The earliest written record about it dates from 1330, when Stanislav the writer transcribed a prologue in the monastery that includes a short history of Gavril Lesnovski's life. Presently this manuscript is kept in Belgrade. In 1341 despot Joan Oliver restored the monastery, and after several years the second section was added. During the 1347 ecclesiastic council in Skopje convened by Stefan Dusan, the monastery was designated as the seat of the newly formed Zletovo Episcopate, which superseded the Morozvidska Episcopate. Probably that was the reason to expand the monastery. In 1381 it was converted into an appendage of the Hilandar Monastery. In 1558, during the prior Neofit, the monastery was reconstructed, and in 1581, during prior Spiridon, the Kratovo nobleman Nikola Boichic renewed its roof. Thanks to the people from Kratovo and Kriva Palanka regions, the monastery has managed to survive throughout the whole Middle Ages till the present day, because they renewed it several times. In the late XVII century it was abandoned, but in 1805 revived again by Teodosij the monk. In 1814, according to a record, he was the monastery's prior. This monastery is among the highly valued literary centres in Macedonia. Manuscripts that were either written in it or originate from its rich library are now kept in a number of institutions abroad. It is known that there are such collections in Belgrade, Sofia, and Plovdiv.

Currently the Slavonic studies have identified a significant number of manuscripts that originate from this monastery. Among the more important are: the 1330 Prologue, the 1342 Menaion, the 1353 Paraneis, etc. Also the number of writers who worked in the monastery is significant. Among them the most prominent one is Stanislav - the first writer of the Lesnovo Literature centre and founder of the calligraphy school; Partenija, his disciple; the pseudonym writer Tahota; Kalinik; Drajko; Radonja; Silvester; priest Lazar from Kratovo; priest Nikola, etc. Its development into a literature centre is related to its economically sound status. Many churches, monasteries and villages piously obeyed it. It should also be noted that the monastery was a shelter for numerous revolutionaries and liberation groups who fought for the freedom of the Macedonian nation.
The iconostasis of the Lesnovo monastery
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