Not an ordinary Macedonian village: Leshani

3 minutes to read

Leshani is a village in the south-west part of Macedonia and it is situated in the municipality of Debarca. The village comprised around 500 inhabitants and compared with other Macedonian villages it is pretty active and vivid. It is around 30 km north from Ohrid and just 2 km next to Velmej. Let me present you this Macedonian village called Leshani.

The people that you will meet in Leshani are not so much different than in the other Macedonian villages. Without doubts, you will be offered a coffee or even lunch in someone's home. If you don't match with the language, people here don’t mind to explain themselves through gesticulation.

What Leshani people are most proud of is the monastery of All Saints and the festivity that takes part 50 days after Easter. This day is a village holiday, so I highly recommend you to make your schedule in a way you to be in Leshani for this day.

Tip: It is calculated 50 days after Easter, this is according to the old calendar, this tip is for the one who loves precise planning and googling.

On this day, people in Leshani are preparing lunch for guests. This means their houses are open to everyone during this day. It is also like this during the casual days in the village, the difference is that this is the official day for offering the home to the friends. Whenever a religious festivity is happening in the villages in Macedonia, everything that the hosts are offering to the guests is in a hope for good health and family harmony, think a bit about saying ‘’no’’ if someone asks you to be their guest.

Before entering the monastery there are people from other villages, using the opportunity of the crowd of people around to sell toys, religious symbols jewelry, candies, and cherries.

If you visit this place on a day that is not this holiday, you can enjoy fully the harmony of the monastery. The monastery was built in 1452 on the foundations of the old one-aisle church dedicated to all Saints on the basis of a medieval basilica from the IX century. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, when the monastery had an active monk life, the monastery was well maintained. Then after 1971, with the death of the last nun, it began to ruin and fall apart.

The Leshani monastery was a female monastery during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the sisterhood counted up to 30 nuns until the Second World War. After the war, only Sister Eudoxia remained, who died in 1971 and was buried in the monastery. From the monastery complex to this day these things are preserved: the old monastery church, together with the ruins and foundations of the old medieval church, the new monastery church, the new bell object, the newly built church "The Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God" and the dormitories.

Just as I approached the door, a bright light appeared as from the reflector, when I looked better from the west side, four bundles of light began to climb the hill up. They flickered like flashlights to the place where now is the dormitory, as someone is scanning it. Suddenly two flaming bundles showed at the place in front of the lodge, while the other two stood behind the altars of the two churches. They looked like buns. A hazy, bright path showed and gathered from the bell tower to the church. As thousands of candles were burning around. This happened for up to two minutes at midnight. The whole monastery complex was illuminated as it is noon, and exactly at midnight, the four flaming bundles gathered in the monastery courtyard and disappeared.

Today, the monastery is reconstructed and there lives one priest, Vartolomej, with his mother. The re-constructional work happened mostly thanks to him and please don't skip talking to him while visiting the monastery! He can tell you his story why he stayed here and many more miracles which happened at this magical place of earth. The wisdom of him, combined with a faith in a miracle is a lifetime experience.

The author

Zlata Golaboska

Zlata Golaboska

I am Zlata and I am an architect living in the Balkans. I am passionate about cities, how people influence architecture and vice versa, and how places change our lives.

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