August 30, 2009

Monastery Gomirje in Croatia

The first monastery we visited crossing Croatia (see explanations here) was Gomirje Monastery, also called „Manastir Sv. Jovana Pretece“.

I was quiet surprised to see that the monastery was in a relatively good shape and it didn't looked like it has been destroyed or devastated in the balkan wars. A inhabitant of the monastery who showed us around gave us the explanation for that: the monastery was in the "neutral" zone during the croatian war of independence 1991 -95 so it could not be attacked.

This is the most westward monastery of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Europe and is located in Gorski kotar in the Primorsko-goranska County and is a significant parochial centre of the Serbian ethnic community whose most important feast is the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
Tourists of all kind of religions visit the monastery and the monastery makes efforts to encourage also the croatian catholic community to use their library.

The atmosphere in this monastery is pretty relaxed, as they don't feel any agressions or resentments from the local environment. The serbian ethnic community must simply not show of serbian national symbols.

The complex is in the ownership of the Serbian Orthodox church. After World War II it became a nunnery while in its previous history monks inhabited the monastery.

On the territory of the national state the monastery has a great parochial significance for the most populous, Serbian ethnic community, and has carried out its function continuously since the 17th century. The Serbian community that has settled in this region bought the estate from the Frankopan princes.

The monastery is particularly significant in the revolutionary year of 1848, when viceroy Jelačić recruited his army under its wing and prior Stavrofor of that time was a member of the Croatian Parliament and gave his priory for humanitarian purposes. The monastery played an important humanitarian role at that time, sheltering refugees and storing humanitarian aid.

The monastery has been renovated continually since 1999. The church roof has been repaired and the metal sheet roof covering replaced on the bell tower and church dome. The static consolidation of the apse was undertaken and the church facades and tower forms reconstructed. In addition, new drainage and rainwater canalisation systems have also been installed. A water supply system was brought to the complex and the semi-interred concrete cistern removed and a new one constructed.

The monastery church is oriented and located in the courtyard of the two storey lodging houses with a "U" shaped ground plan open to the South toward the river basin of the Dobra so that the mutual relationship of the construction directions are mildly slanting.
Today the complex is enclosed with a wall of façade brick and originally had a paling fence. The church and monastery were built from stone with arches, while the floors and roofing were made from wood. The roof covering is from sheet metal and grooved brick, originally shingle.
Until 1879 an adapted Frankopan tower with a square ground plan and an elaborately structured facade in the historicist form and with the same function and which crumbled from age stood in the place of the present day bell tower.
To the North, at the edge of the wood a group of stone and wooden outbuildings stood, including barns, hay-lofts storehouses and workshops and a walled-in monastery graveyard within which was the first church of which there is no trace today.

The monastery owns quite a lot of land, including woods, meadows, hayfields, plough-fields and on the northern side of the lodging house a large orchard. The present day church was consecrated in 1730. The monastery burned down in 1789 and again in 1812 and was renovated in 1842-46 and again in 1889. The complex was also damaged and burned in the First and Second world wars, repaired rather unprofessionally during the 50's of the 20th century.

The church is a typical Orthodox place of worship with an altar, iconostasis, a dome standing on four square columns and and tower at the entrance like those built in the baroque period throughout Lika, Kordun and Banija.

The interior was decorated with two layers of sign-paintings of which the baroque style one was preserved as the lower layer in the sanctuary and the upper one in the entire church which has two historicist phases. Because of the threat during World War II the baroque iconostasis with large-sized icons on canvas was dismantled and stored in Karlovac and Zagreb.

The monument is of national interest since it housed the main painting school, which supplied the surrounding Orthodox monasteries with iconostases in the manner of the Russian school. The monks were also engaged in bookbinding.

All the windows on the church and those that were in total disrepair in the hallway of the first floor of the lodging house have been replaced.
All the outbuildings also have to be renovated, primarily their roofs and wooden parts of superstructure on the stone foundations.

Here the website of the monastery and here the Council of Europe documentation to download.


  1. Прилози о манастирима су предивно свједочанство о дугој традицији и "дубокој укоријењености Србства и Православља" у овим предјелима Хрватске...

    Хвала Вам за ово "задовољство"!

  2. another good job Mrs!!!
    and I really love your Moleskine sketches---> during my trip I wrote a sort of diary (as usual) but I'm not good in sketches so there are only "memories" ;-)

  3. very good posting. i liked it. :-)


  4. Wow very nice shots! I was surprised to see that the monastery is still in good shape. Are there art galleries too? because it seems that Croatia is all rich in history and maybe there are artists who have paintings that exhibits the life of the Croatians in the past.

    Thanks for posting the pictures, really great shots.

  5. Hey my very first comment on your site. ,I have been reading your post for a while and thought I would completely pop in and drop a friendly note. . It is great stuff indeed.

    Paling Fence

  6. Слава Теби, Господе!

  7. AnonymousMay 29, 2013

    Very good website. Informative and creative. Thanks for all your great work - keep it up!