Prilep, Macedonia, August 29, 2017
A wildfire is threatening the unique Treskavec Monastery in the mountains near the city of Prilep in Macedonia, reports RIA-Novosti.
The 13th century mountain Treskavec Monastery, dedicated to the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, is considered one of the most beautiful monuments of Orthodox architecture in the republic and one of the most important spiritual centers. The monastery sits at 4,200 ft. above sea level on Mount ZLatovrv, connected with Orthodox Byzantine culture and the Serbian Nemanjić dynasty. The monastery came under threat from a huge wildfire on Monday evening, the day of its patronal feast.
“Firefighters, municipal servicemen, and volunteers were fighting the flames around the monastery during the evening service… There are currently three active fires—from the western side of the monastery, where the landscape is impregnable, and also from the side of the villages of Gostiražni, Nebregovo, and Sivets,” according to Prilip fire chief Stanko Koleski.
Emergency services are investigating the possibility of arson, as local residents claim to have seen arsonists. The mayor of Prilep has asked the police to find and punish the perpetrators. The fire near the monastery has continued for 15 days; it was possible earlier to defend it by the efforts of the emergency services and hundreds of volunteers.
The fire was devastated by a previous fire in February 2013, which left only the church in usable condition. Today there is only one monk living at the monastery. The monastery also burned to the ground in 1990, but was restored by the local faithful and businessmen.