Since ole times the caves of the mountain were home for hermits, who used them for seclusion and praying. However the place became known only in the 17th century, after the monastery was founded by Vasilije, the Metropolitan Bishop of Herzegovina. He died in 1671 and after was pronounces Saint for his faith, sinless life, kindness and help to people. He was proclaimed Saint Basil of Ostrog. His body is enshrined in a burial-vault kept in the cave-church, dedicated to the Presentation of the Mother of God to the Temple.
The Ostrog monastery is not only an Orthodox sanctuary, but it is also visited by followers of all religions throughout the world, who come here to pay homage to the relics of the Saint Vasilije, in search of a cure for their body and soul. After the tomb of Jesus Christ and the Mountain Athos, the monastery of Ostrog is the third most visited shrine in the Christian world.
Where to stay in the Ostrog Monastery?
The monastery can be easily reached from the towns of Podgorica and Niksic. That is the reason why the easiest way to visit Ostrog is to either take a one-day excursion that Globtour Montenegro offers you, or to get there by taxi or rent-a-car. In this case you can just include Ostrog, as a point to see during your holiday in Montenegro, and stay at the seaside. On the other hand if you would like to feel all the sanctity of this unbelievable place, it offers you few variants of accommodation.
The first opportunity is to stay in the dormitory the monastery offers to the pilgrims. It is located at the foot of the upper mountain very near to the Lower monastery.
The second, surely more comfortable option, is to stay in the village of Bogetici, near the bottom of the mountain in a place called Kolibe (at a distance of 5 km from the Ostrog Monastery). This place offers accommodation in wooden bungalows and has all the needed facilities. It is located at the very beginning of the pilgrim path that leads to the great Orthodox Sanctuary.
What to see in the monastery?
Due to its spectacular architecture and location the Ostrog Monastery is a true symbol of faith and purity of soul. It is a place where true miracles happen, where people gain peace, where those who are ill get cured, and those who have lost their way in life find their piece of mind. The Ostrog monastery consists of Upper and Lower monastery.
Upper monastery has two churches: Presentation of the Mary to the Temple, a resting place of the Saint Vasilije’s relics, and Holy Cross. The churches are decorated with frescos painted by famous painters in the 17th century, which are partly painted on the rocks of Ostrog mountain.
Lower monastery was built in the 19th century and consists of the Holy Trinity church, monastic residances and religious school from the 18th century. Nowadays regular liturgies are held here, as well as baptism and weddings are performed.
There is a. 5 km long road from the Lower to the Upper monastery, but also a shorter foot path through the woods wich can be crossed in about 25 minutes. In order to experience the magnitude of this place you should walk this path as the most humble of pilgrims. The Ostrog monastery in not only religious, but also cultural and historical monument. It testifies about the past and present time, about belief, culture and tradition of the people how have lived here for centuries.
Many legends and sayings are related to this Saint place
It is believed that after his death on the 29th of April 1671, Saint Basil began to appear in the dreams of Father – Superior of the Monastery, telling him to open his coffin. The moncs did as they were told and saw that the body hadn’t become demoralized. From than on the relics of Saint Basil became a true sanctuary. A grapevine grew up from the stone on the spot where he passed away, even though there is no soil in the stone. It's believed that the fruits of this grapevine are cure for infertility.
The monastery was miraculously saved several times during its history. In the beginning of the 18th century when the Turks tried to burn it down, the brother of the Montenegrian prince managed to save the relics of saint Basil because he was believed to be turned invisible by him to fulfill that mission. During World War II in 1942 the fascists dropped a bomb into the Monastery, the gear cracked into two parts but didn’t explode. It is still kept in the monastery as proof of the sanctity of Saint Basil of Ostrog.
Ostrog is a place where people become kinder and more tolerant to each other, and their souls fill with high feelings, where they find piece and conciliation.
22.10.2013, Published by Globtour Montenegro