St. Gavril Lesnovski

The church is located in the village of Lesnovo, in the region of Kratovo. It is dedicated to St. Archangel Michael. It origin is related to the life of Gavril Lesnovski, an anchorite. The writings about his life state that the monastery existed during his life and that he entered the monastic order there.

It is believed that the monastery was built when he entered the monastic order or after his death, when the cult of the anchorite life developed (as written in the short 1330 writings on his life). The exact period of the life of Gavril Lesnovski is not determined. It is believed that it should have been during the XI century; thus also that the monastery was probably built in the second half of XI century, when in the regions north from the river Bregalnica a hermit cult was flourishing, and Gavril was a part of it.

The earliest written record about it dates from 1330, when Stanislav the writer transcribed a prologue in the monastery that includes a short history of Gavril Lesnovski's life. Presently this manuscript is kept in Belgrade. In 1341 despot Joan Oliver restored the monastery, and after several years the second section was added. During the 1347 ecclesiastic council in Skopje convened by Stefan Dusan, the monastery was designated as the seat of the newly formed Zletovo Episcopate, which superseded the Morozvidska Episcopate. Probably that was the reason to expand the monastery.

This monastery is among the highly valued literary centres in Macedonia. Manuscripts that were either written in it or originate from its rich library are now kept in a number of institutions abroad.

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