2 Tours and a Photo Shoot

Здраво! Zdravo!

That’s the Cyrillic alphabet and the Latin alphabet for saying “Hello!” in Serbian.

Last week, February  18-23, I went to Serbia for my second YAGM retreat. Specifically, we went to Fruška Gora, a national park, and Novi Sad, the Capitol of Love. It was a fun-filled retreat, jam-packed with adventures and friends. And, of course, God.

Fruška Gora

Our first full day, we toured three Serbian Orthodox monasteries. Our guide was Mirko, who was absolutely fantastic.

If you don’t know me very well, let me give you a brief, context-specific introduction. I was baptized Russian Orthodox when I was X-months old and attended a Greek Orthodox church during my childhood in my hometown since the Russian Orthodox church I was baptized in was about a 2 hour drive away. What this means is that I grew up in sanctuaries covered with beautiful icons and filled with the smell of incense.

If you’re a bit like me and need a very straightforward explanation: Because of my religious background, I absolutely, with all my heart, love, love, love icons!

So now I’m going to gush about the monasteries we visited.

Well, I will in just a short moment. It’s history time! (But, like, brief history time. Shouldn’t be more than a paragraph.)

Originally, there were 35 monasteries built in the Fruška Gora area. This was because the mountainous terrain was filled with nature, which helped hide the monasteries from invaders. The reason for hiding was due to the 1389 Battle of Kosovo, which I won’t get too much into detail for sake of this post. Out of the 35 monasteries, 16 remain standing.

The first place we visited was: Krušedol (Крушедол). It’s an all-male monastery, which also doubles as a library. Within the church are the relics (bones) of Bishop Maksim Brankovic and his mother Angelina. Unfortunately, I could not take pictures inside, but here are outside pictures!

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Serbian coat of arms. The 4 ‘C’s stand for: “Само Слога Србина Спасава // Samo Sloga Srbina Spasava” (or: Only Unity Saves the Serbs).
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Old well; no longer in use.
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The entrance to the sanctuary.

View of the sanctuary from behind plus plagues found on the side.

Monestary 1
My cohort in front of the entrance to to Krušedol.

 

The second was: Grgeteg (Гргетег). This used to be a male monastery, but now it’s an all-female one! And we got to take pictures inside too!

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This is the name of the monastery, written in Cyrillic on the side of the building!
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Entrance to monastery.
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St. Sava, who is Serbia’s most importation saint. He went from being a prince to a monk to an archbishop!

More information about St. Sava can be found here and here.

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Beautiful mosaic of Mother Mary, on the backside of the sanctuary.
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Inside the sanctuary.

Despite this monastery being all-female, women in Orthodox tradition cannot enter the alter space, which is behind the three wooden doors. This means that there are 2 male priests on the property; however, there are certain women who are allowed back there to clean, but they must be prayed over and perform a special ceremony.

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Icon of the Mother of God of “the Three Hands.” This isn’t the original, but a copy since the original at the Hilandar monastery, where women are not allowed.

More more info about this icon, including how a man regrew his chopped off hand, read this or this.

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I believe this is dedicated to St. Nicholas, which is this monastery’s patron saint.
Monestary 2
Cohort inside the monastery!

 

The third was: Novo Hopovo (Ново Хопово). This is one of the larger monasteries in the area.

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The outside of the monastery.
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Despite being around 50°F, there was this ginormous pile of snow. Inside the monastery was even colder!

Sorry, I don’t have any other pics from this monastery. Like the first monastery, we weren’t allowed to take photos inside.

However, I do have a second tour to talk with you about…

 

Novi Sad, Capitol of Love

On Friday, we all were able to walk around the city with an amazing tour guide, Martin, a PK (pastor’s kid) Slovak Lutheran. He showed us several different Slovak churches, around the city. There was only one tiny, little, itsy-bity issue.

It rained all day…and my rain jacket was in my closet…in Hungary…

Below, you can see just how rain-soaked I was:

Novi Sad Tour 2

I swear I looked decent in the morning! Here’s proof! Here’s my cohort at EHO (Ecumenical Humanitarian Organization), which is where my friend John is placed.

EHO Tour

(More info on EHO here. They’re a really cool organization!)

Still, I had a wonderful time on our tour. Martin is only 16, but he’s able to speak Serbian, Slovakian, and English! He’s also learning German right now. Plus, he’s a freaking magician! He wowed our entire table at dinner. It was so epic.

Novi Sad Tour 1
There’s Martin in front, with the bright green jacket. And we’re all in front of the giant Catholic church in the middle of the city.
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Here’s a less blurry photo of the cathedral.
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During the tour, we were told that these trees have been around since the dinosaurs! Not sure if I really believe it though… What do you think?
Me with my Anti-Stress smoothie at dinner after being amazed by Martin’s magic skills. And yes, the smoothie was legit called Anti-Stress, and yes, I did feel less stressed after drinking it.

 

Photo Shoot

So, I’ve let you know how my two tours went, but there’s one final section left. Thankfully, this one is mainly pictures.

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Our view walking to and from our retreat site to lunch.
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Me, admiring the view, pretending I didn’t ask my friends to take my picture…
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2/9 of my YAGM CE friends ❤

SO. MANY. ANIMALS!!! 😀

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The side of our Day 1 restaurant. 
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The dinning room we ate in. It’s so pretty!
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I’m a simple girl. I see a bridge, I go on it and ask for people to take pictures of me.
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I sat with my back to the wallpaper for the sole purpose of someone taking photos of me with it. #VainNoShame

 

Thanks for reading. GLYASDI xoxo

 

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