One of the most significant monuments of culture in Macedonia is located near the town Kumanovo, in the village of Staro Nagorichane. It is the church dedicated to St. George, which by its uniqueness and beauty, both in regard to its architecture and the frescoes, is considered as one of the pearls of Christian artifacts in this territory.


The church St. Gjorgji, village of Staro Nagorichane, 14th century

It is believed that the church was built in 1313, although it has been ascertained that it was erected on the fundaments of an older sacral structure dating from the 11th century and built, according to the tradition, by the Byzantine Tzar Roman IV Diogenes (1067-1071). The year 1313 was imprinted on an inscription over the western entrance door and another inscription located on the southwest wall ascertains that the frescoes were painted in 1317-18.

The architecture of the church is three-pole (three-pillar) with a shape of a elongated cross. Five domes rise over the basis Ė a large octahedron dome in the center and four smaller domes. The lower part of the walls was constructed of cut stone and the upper part by alternate layers of stone and brick giving a serene and impressive (effective) tone (chromaticity). The altar apsis is elegantly (elaborately) parted, hemispherical on the inside and pentahedral in the upper part on the outside.

What makes this church exceptional is the preserved original altar partition, that is the iconostasis made of stone pillars, parapet plates and ornamented archigraph. This is a unique example of icons painted in fresco technique in our country. St. George and Mother of God Pelagonitisa have been painted in this technique on the left and right side of the Tsarís (Lordís) Gates.

However, an interminable importance of this cultural and sacred monument rests in the preserved frescoes painted by the renowned fresco-painters Evtichie and Mihailo. They are the authors of the frescoes in many churches and monasteries in the country, such as the church of Holy Mother of God Perivleptos, also known as the St. Kliment from Ohrid, the manastery St. Nikita in the mountains of Skopska Tzrna Gora near Skopje, but also they painted the frescoes in numerous sacred objects out of the country on the territory of the neighboring Balkan countries. The frescoes have been painted in the paleologic (paleo-) style of the 14th century with outstanding expressiveness, but also a remarkable subtleness, delicate stylization and moderate expression. The portraits of the founders (patrons) of the church, King Milutin and his young wife Simonida, are also impressive. They have been portrayed in the lower part of the northern wall. There are plenty of depictions of saints, life scenes, the sufferings and miracles of Jesus Christ ("The Crucifixion"; "The Way to Golgotha"; "Ascending to the Cross"; "The Mocking of Christ", etc.) and illustrations of calendars, as well as portraits of local saints Ė St. Clement of Ohrid (Ohridski), St. Joachim of Osogovo (Osogovski), St. Prochor Pchinski, who according to the legends, lived in a cave near the church before it was built.

M. Cvetanovska

About the churches in Macedonia


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