The Monastery of Saint Jovan Bigorski is one of the most beautiful Macedonian Orthodox monasteries. It is located in the western part of Macedonia, near the road between the cities of Debar and Gostivar.

The monastery church is dedicated to St. John the Baptist (Sveti Jovan Krstitel). One of its most valuable treasures is the iconostasis, created by Petre Filipovic - Garkata from the nearby village of Gari, and considered one of the finest examples of wood-carved iconostasis.

Part of the iconostasis

According to its 1833 chronicle, the monastery was built in 1020 by Ivan I Debranin. The Ottomans destroyed the monastery in the 16th century, but it was restored in 1743 by the monk Ilarion, who also constructed a number of cells for monks. The archimandrite Arsenius further expanded the monastery between 1812 and 1825. The historical record also mentions a monk Iov, recognized by some researchers as the future educator Yoakim Karchovski.
Entrance in the monastery complex
 Most of the old monastery complex was destroyed by a fire in 2009, while the new sections of the complex and church were saved. Reconstruction of the old sections began in May 2010 with the goal of restoring the buildings as closely as possible to their original style.

Inside of the church
Holy Relics

The monastery has a large collection of holy relics including John the Baptist, Clement of Ohrid, Lazarus of Bethany, Saint Stephen, Saint Nicholas, Saint Barbara, Paraskevi of Rome, Tryphon, Respicius, and Nympha, and part of the Holy Cross.
The entrance of the church
 Besides the iconostasis, the monastery is also known for the icon of St. John the Baptist is believed to have miraculous powers. According to tradition, the icon was found by the monk John in 1020. It came to the place where the monastery was later built and hovered over the springs of the river Radika. In the sixteenth century, during the reign of Sultan Selim II, the Ottomans burned the monastery, and the icon mysteriously disappeared, then even more mysteriously returned  undamaged. The monastery records state that the icon of St. John the Baptist was not protected for 35 years and that it was not until 1885 when the icon was coated with silver armor. It is believed that the icon helps parents who cannot have children.
The miraculous icon of St.John the Baptist

Source: wikipedia
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