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LELIĆ, A MONESTERY LIKE NO OTHER: Here lies the legendary Serbian bishop

Just 11 kilometers from Valjevo, a city in Western Serbia, lies Monastery Lelić, probably the most important of the new monasteries of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Monestery Lelić is in the village of Lelić, and it is the endowment of the bishop Nikolaj Velimirović, probably the most influential bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and his father, Dragomir Velimirović.

The idea that the church in Lelić should be transformed into the Monastery was given by Bishop Lavrentije, and for a long time they were looking for the monks who would be living in this new monastery. The Brotherhood of the Kaona Monastery eventually took over the administration of Lelić, and finally, Bishop Vasilije read the decision to convert Lelić’s parish temple to the Lelić Monastery, on May 12, 1996.

On that day, they remembererd 40 years from the death of bishop Nikolaj Velimirovic and 5 years of the transfer of his remains from America. Holy Liturgy was held by Patriarch Pavle with numerous bishops.

The monastery church was built in the Moravian style, and the temple was built of stone and bricks. In front of the church there is a belfry and a church home. The painting were made according to the ideas of Nikolai Velimirovic, and the central scene is the scene of the Judgement Day.

In the monastery there is a museum devoted to Nikolaj Velimirovic, and in there is an active workshop with iconographers and engravers.

The monastery was, since 1929, a parochial church, until 1996.

Lelić is a male monastery, and on its forehead is abbot.

Two important holidays in Lelić are: one on March 18, the day of the death of Nikolaj Velimirovic, and the second on May 3, when Nikolaj’s remains were transferred to Serbia from the USA.

Bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church Nikolaj Velimirovic claimed that his native village, Lelić, was “the village of God”. On the tombstone of Nikolaj’s father, Dragomir, it was written that he was born in “the God’s village of Lelić”.

The locals find confirmation of these words of the bishop in the fact that from Lelić, a small village with about 400 inhabitants, come three bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and that there are two saints – St Nicholas and Avu Celijski Justin Popović, also from Lelić.

This article is a part of the project “Seven miracles of Valjevo”, supported by the City of Valjevo. Positions of the supported media project do not necessarily reflect statements of the organ supporting the project. 

(Come to Serbia)

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