Monastery of Venerable Prohor of Pčinja – Monastery Saint Prohor Pčinjski – Манастир Свети Прохор Пчињски
This monastery dedicated to St. Prohor Pčinjski (Pchinjski) is located in modern day Serbia just across the border with Macedonia amidst the forests of Mount Kozjak. The monastery is 36 kilometers north of Kumanovo, Macedonia and 302 kilometers south of Vranje, Serbia.
This monastery is of significant and important cultural heritage for both Serbia and Macedonia. For Macedonia, this monastery was the location the location for the inaugural session of The Anti-fascist Assembly for the National Liberation of Macedonia (ASNOM) representative body of Macedonian from 2 August 1944 until the end of World War II.
Before entering the monastery grounds we were greeted by a sign (9th gallery below) that reads “Monastery Saint Prohor Pčinjski was founded by Byzantium emperor Roman Diogen IV in the 11th century. It was reconstructed by Serbian king Milutin in the 14th century. By the Serbian government decree the surroundings of the monastery (2.606) ha was declared to be an area of remarkable beauty ‘The Pčinja valley’ and the Serbian Orthodox Church – Eparchy of Vranje was appointed guardian of ‘The Pčinja valley’”. This sign also gives a basic map of the monastery grounds, 2,606 hectares or 6,440 acres.
Not only is this an active working monastery, it is truly remarkable how the Prohor Pčinjski Monastery is self-sufficient. Around 30 minutes after our arrival, a priest came out and offered us tea. After enjoying a nice herbal mountain tea, he took us on a tour. The monastery’s horticulture extends well from flowers on the church grounds to greenhouses, orchards and uncovered gardens (gallery #5 below). They not only maintain a bee farm but also raise chickens, cattle, and goats (gallery #6 below). Even more to our surprise, they have their own energy source through a hydroelectric damn that even made for a nice fishing spot (gallery #7 below). Adjacent to the cemetery there were some old ruins, possibly of an old baptistery (gallery #8 below).
#1 – The Church Dedicated to St. Prohor of Pčinja
#2 – Entry Arch to the Church Grounds
#3 – Lodging and Administrative Buildings
#4 – Bell Tower
#5 – Horticulture
#6 – Bees, Barns and Livestock
#7 – Hydroelectric Plant
#8 – Ruins
#9 – Entrance Signs into Monastery Grounds