The greatest pride of the Vladimirci municipality is certainly the Kaona monastery. It is about 90 kilometers from Belgrade or an hour and a half by car.
In the heart of Machva region in Western Serbia…
Monastery building, churches, lake, auxiliary buildings, tourist facilities, perfectly maintained grass – everything is so perfectly integrated into the untouched natural surroundings of the beautiful West of Serbia make the monastery complex a place that captivates at first glance.
According to the legend, the monastery was built by Ikonija, sister of the legendary serbian warrior Milos Obilic, before the Battle of Kosovo in the late 14th century. She and Milos’s other sister, Vida, accompanied their brother to battle, and when they reached this place, also known as the Flat Meadows, Milos got thirsty. Ikonija hurried to a nearby spring to bring her brother some water.
Ikonija brought Milos a jug of water and said, “Oh, brother, what a good horse I saw, if ony there was a saddle built for it.” She was speaking about this wonderful place, a perfect location for a monastery. Milos then answered: “Make a saddle, Ikonija”, referring to the monastery. He promised to help her build it when he returns from Kosovo, but as we know, he did not return.
This is the legend, but according to historians, the monastery of Kaona was built by one of Nemanjic dynasty, while the first church in this place was built in the 11th century, before Milos Obilic and before Nemanjic dynasty.
Kaona survived almost 6 centuries of slavery under the Turks, and during the First Serbian Uprising the monastery fraternity became involved in the struggle for liberation. The monastery was turned into a hospital, and the monks themselves participated in the fighting. The main church even kept weapons for fighting against the Turks.
During the World War I, the monastery was badly damaged and its bells were stolen. It remained in ruins after the Second World War, and the communist regime allowed it to be thoroughly restored in the post-war period to get the look it has today.
The main building in the monastery of Kaona, the Church of St. Archangel Michael, was built on the foundations of the old church, and belongs to the Byzantine style. In the yard, right next to it, is a model of it.
Kaona is famous among the believers people by a relic stored in it – a piece of the miraculous remains of Holy Petka, one of the most revered saints of the Serbs.
In the monastery, there is a cross-shaped swimming pool, in which baptism is still performed according to the early Christian custom, by immersion in the water of the person being baptized. Water has a temperature of constant 11 degrees C, and is considered medicinal.
We owe the beauty of the monastery to the valuable monks of the monastery fraternity, who directed the local streams, made this lake and settled it with fish.
With the blessing of Bishop Lavrenty, in 2000, Kaona hosted a ceremony commemorating 2000 years since the birth of Jesus Christ. For this occasion Abbot Milutin, then head of the monastery, gave the idea to build a chapel above the monastery lake, modelled after the Bethlehem Cave of Christ’s birth. On the wall of the replica of this Cave of Christ’s birth, a remarkable fresco was made to represent it.
The text is part of the project “Kaona – Pearl of Serbia” co-financed by the Municipality of Vladimirci.
(Come to Serbia)