Thursday, October 22, 2009

Touring Tvrdos

After the Liturgy, we walked with Bishop Atanasije out to the monastery's gardens, where they have all sorts of trees and plants growing. The monastery is famous for its rakia, which is flavored with herbs they pick there. In the photo above, Bishop Atanasije and Fr. Stevan are picking herbs.

We then walked over beside the church, where the monks are building a guest house to entertain pilgrims. The photo above is the beautiful view from the window of the guest house, and below is the small building itself, along with drawings for other items to be built.

This is a photo of the front of the church, with the newly built guest house behind it on the right.

Next we walked down to the river, where the monks have recently built a wine-making facility in which they can produce their own wine from grapes grown in the area around the monastery. There are two interesting Reuters news articles about it here and here. Bishop Maxim, the monastery's abbot, Fr. Sava, and Fr. Stevan (a local married priest and iconographer) are pictured in the photo above.

We took a break to get warm next to the fire in the little shack next to the winery building, where two local men help the monks make the rakia. Behind Fr. Sava in the photo above, you can see the barrel where the rakia is being made. Of course, the two men insisted that we taste some.

The inside of the enormous winery building, with the latest wine-making equipment.

Walking back up the stairs to the monastery, with the church in the background.

A view around the back of the church.

Before we left, we had hot tea (a delicious blend of local mint, honey, and lemon) and discussion with Bishop Atanasije and Bishop Grigorije. Above is me with Bishop Atanasije.

Fr. Sava, the monastery's abbot, accompanied us on the next phase of our pilgrimage, but before we left the area we went once again to visit Bishop Grigorije's new cathedral in Trebinje. Above is a view from the balcony in the back of the church.

Then we set off on our trip to Kosovo, driving south from Herzegovina, through Montenegro and into the western part of Kosovo, which is known as Metohija. The proper (Serbian) name of the area is Kosovo and Metohija. Metohija is from a Greek word meaning property that is owned by a monastery. There are so many important monasteries in this area that most of the land was originally owned by them, hence the name. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We broke up the trip, which was about 5 or 6 hours, by stopping to eat in the capital of Montenegro, Podgorica. The photo above is of me and Fr. Sava standing in front of Montenegro's new cathedral in Podgorica, which is currently under construction.

For all the photos of this phase of the trip, click here.

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