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The monastery of Sv. Joakim Osogovski (St. Joakim of Osogovo), Kriva Palanka

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Masterpiece of the famous leaders of a national revival in Macedonia…

At about 3 km northeast of the town of Kriva Palanka, in the bosoms of the colorful secular oak forest, at the beautiful slopes of the mountains of Osogovo, it is situated the monastery dedicated to the wilderness inhabitant and miracle worker St. Joakim of Osogovo. It was founded in the 12th century, also known with the name of Sarandapor.

The history of the monastery begins with the arriving of St. Joakim at the region of Osogovo. At the time of his living (the 11th century), and the time of the foundation of the monastery (the 12th century), the region of Osogovo was a part of the Byzantine Empire. The monastery was built with the effort of the abbot Teofan and the local inhabitants, at the time of the domination of the byzantine emperor Manuel I Komnenos (1143 – 1180). It is interesting to be mentioned that the monastery didn’t have a ktitor, but the people were building it by their selves, and the people of Kriva Palanka are especially proud of that. The monastery during its long history had its own ups and downs. For its big significance speaks the indication that it was visited by many church important people, statesman and writers. On the initiative of Hajji Stefan Beglikchija in 1847 began the construction of the church dedicated to St. Joakim of Osogovo. In 1851 it was finished and sanctified. The construction was confided to the proto master Andrej Damjanov (1817 – 1878), native of the family Renzovci, the most famous builder of the Balkans from the beginning of the 19th century.

Damjanov raised in the extraordinary knowledge of the complex processes of building and projecting. Here he retreats from the solutions and concepts that are characteristic for him. By its architectonic disposition represents a monumental three-nave basilica, with two rows with three pillars, which divide the whole space in twelve crossbeams, above which there are domes. From the twelve domes with which is covered the church, nine are getting out the fifth fasade. Five of them are lift on a higher tambour and are forming a Greek cross on the ceiling construction. Four of the domes are blind and are covering the angle crossbeams of the object. Three of the domes are ending under the ceiling construction and can’t be seen from the outside. The naos of the south and the west side is surrounded with porches covered with eight blind cupolas. On the east side there are three apses, from which the middle one is seven sided, and the lateral are five sided.

Also the inside of the porches in the church was painted from the skilled arms of four Macedonian icon painters. Dimitrij Andonov Papradishki, in the period from 1884 – 1945 transferred with love all of his knowledge, painting the north and the south cupola of the porch, the west and the south fasade and the cupolas over the porch on the south side.

The most important part of the fresco painting is located on the west wall of the church that was painted by Papradishki. One of the most characteristic frescos is “The sermon of St. Paul” where the hand of the artist carried in it profane elements. On this remarkable fresco the national costume of Kriva Palanka is shining with all its beauty and rusticity.

The oldest object in the monastery complex is the small church of the Holy Mother of God, built in the 14th or the 16th century, over the basis of a church built in the 11th – 12th century. According to the building concept belongs to the small cruciform one dome churches, with cruciform basis, with three side apses from the outside and priprat. The building is in byzantine style. It was built with two rows of bricks and one row of stone in horizontal rows, with thick layer of mortar between them. The church is one of the first middle age churches in Macedonia painted most recently.

This thousand year sanctuary now is a parochial residential monastery of the Diocese of Polog and Kumanovo. Here are running manifestations, like the International art colony “St. Joakim of Osogovo”, Summer school of architecture and a Colony of the association of xylographers.

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