Lepavina Monastery

Sokolovac, Croatia

Lepavina Monastery is a Serbian Orthodox monastery dedicated to the Presentation of Mary. According to an old local chronicle, the Lepavina monastery was founded around 1550, very soon after the emergence of the first Serbian settlements in this region. A monk from the Hilandar Monastery (on the Athos peninsula, Greece), Jefrem (Ephraim) Vukodabović, together with two monks from Bosnia, built a wooden church here. However in August 1557, Turks and the Islamized inhabitants of Stupčanica, Pakrac and Bijela, under the leadership of Zarep-Agha Ali, burnt down the church and the monastic buildings, four monks were killed and two taken to slavery.

In 1598 Hieromonk Gregory came to Lepavina and re-established the monastic community and rebuilt the edifices. In 1630 the Orthodox population of this region, due to their constant involvement in the fights against the Turks and their allies, received great privileges, which created the conditions for building activity on a larger scale.

The still-standing monastery church was built in the mid-18th century. World War II was especially difficult period. Immediately after the occupation, the brethren were arrested and taken to a concentration camp. Hieromonk Joakim (Joachim, Babić) was killed and the others were deported to Serbia. On 27 October 1943 the monastery was bombarded, monastic buildings were almost completely destroyed, while the church and the dormitory were heavily damaged. Nevertheless, in the part of the dormitory that escaped destruction, the part of the monastery library remained intact and was appropriated by the Greek Catholic clergy. After the war monastery was renovated with the help of the World Council of Churches.

One of the features of interest was the iconostasis from 1775, a work by one of the best representatives of the Serbian early Baroque, Jovan Četirević Grabovan, destroyed during World War II, with only three pictures remaining. Besides these, the monastery keeps the icons of St Simeon Nemanja, St Sava and the icon of the Entry into the Temple of the Most Holy Mother of God (i.e. the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary), all painted in Lepavina in 1647.

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Lepavina, Sokolovac, Croatia
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Founded: 1550
Category: Religious sites in Croatia

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