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Cave Churches: an Undiscovered Experience

Spring is, for sure, the time to wander around Macedonia and discover its hidden and less known treasures. Numerous cave churches and monasteries, although not well known and not frequently included in tourist itineraries are real jewels. Over a hundred such spots exist around Macedonia. They are a curious phenomenon: centuries ago civilization and high spirituality blossomed in traditional animal shelters. It is believed that Macedonian cave churches appeared around the 9th century, while their frescoes date back to the 13th and 14th centuries. They are a result of the very popular and original Orthodox Christian monastic teaching, the so-called hesychasm. It is a special religious practice of isolation, of living alone and devoting one’s life to asceticism and prayer. The hesychast seeks enlightenment in God by being totally focused and concentrated on one dot. After hours of silent prayers these mystics would see the divine light that makes them one with God. Read more …