St. Michael – Holy Archangel Michael – Св. Архангел Михаил in Berovo – Берово, Berovo Monastery – беровски Манастир
The Berovo Monastery, a female monastery (convent) and church dedicated to the Holy warrior, Archangel Michael is located in Southeastern Macedonia in the town of Berovo near the Maleševo (Малешево) Mountains. An inscription above the entrance reveals the church was built in 1818. The church has three naves, a large altar apse and as customary the entrance is on the western side of the church (covered by a porch).
The legend behind the founding of this monastery begins with the priest, Peco (Пецо – Petso), from Berovo who campaigned and successfully obtained from the Turkish authorities permission to build the church. Peco was given three conditions regarding the building of the church. 1) He was to forfeit his daughter to the Sultan’s harem, 2) The church had to be completed within 40 days and 3) The height of the church had to below that of the road passing by the church. Peco and the had-working devoted community successfully built the church in less than 40 days and the height of the church was below the ground level of the road leading to the springs of the Bregalnica (Брегалница) river. However, Peco refused to give up his daughter to the Sultаn’s harem and the Sultan had him imprisoned.1
Another version of the legend states that the church was not below the ground level of the passing road and the Sultan had Peco had two of his clergy executed. The daughter is said to have fled to Bulgaria after her father’s execution.
In Hebrew, Michael (Михаил) translates to “Who is like God?, a rhetorical question that serves to remind us that none of us are “like God”. Michael, the patron saint of chivalry, warriors and of healing, continues to watch over the Bregalnica valley.
We visited this monastery in its beautiful setting in the Bregalnica river valley as part of a weekend trip to the Strumica (Струмица) area where we also had the pleasure of visiting the Monastery of the Most Holy Virgin Eleusa in Veljusha and the St. Leontius Monastery in Vodocha.
- Kornakov, Dimitar. Macedonian Monasteries. Matica Makedonska, Skopje 1981, pp. 167 – 171.