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Abstract

Through the rich Christian tradition in Macedonia from the early Christian, medieval and up to the modern period numerous churches and monasteries were built, where all forms of development of spiritual and cultural life took place. A historically remarkable location is Lesnovo Monastery, which has survived until today during almost one thousand years of spiritual and cultural tradition in Macedonia. The oldest indirect and legendary sources point to the conclusion that the original construction of the monastic church in Lesnovo should be moved to the period of the eleventh century, when from 1018 onwards, after the fall of Samuil's Slavic reign on the territory of Macedonia, the Byzantine state, political, and church protectorate was restored. As a consequence of the resistance to the restored Byzantine spiritual protectorate and the suppression of the established Slavic church tradition in this northeastern part of Macedonia, the anachoretic monasticism was revived, and as a reflection of the rising cult to the venerable hermit, St. Gavril of Lesnovo, the Lesnovo monastery was also affirmed. Its history directly reflects all the forms of spiritual and cultural tradition in Macedonia. In 2017, when the jubilee, the fiftieth anniversary of the restoration of the autocephaly of the Ohrid Archbishopric (1967-2017) as the Macedonian Orthodox Church - Ohrid Archbishopric is celebrated, the former abbot of the Lesnovo monastery Father Gabriel of Mt. Athos and Bishop of Velika was canonized as a saint (†12 January 1990). This blessed Christian act enriched the 10-century long spiritual tradition of the Lesnovo Monastery with the glory and honor of the holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel, of the venerable hermit Gavril of Lesnovo and of the Holy Bishop of Velika, the venerable Gavril Svetogorac (of Lesnovo).

Erratum

Revised 7/25/2017 to make some minor corrections in the footnotes.

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