Monastery of St.Spirit-monument
Each visitor to the district town of Medzilaborce immediately notices the monumental building of the Orthodox monastery of St. Spirit - Monument. Its unique architecture has attracted visitors both from Slovakia and abroad. In 1998, the monastery of St. Spirit commemorates the 50th anniversary of its origin.
With the blessing of the then Archbishop Jelevferion of July 5, 1947, the responsibility for construction of the monastery was taken over by the then Orthodox pastor Mitr. Prot. Nicholas Sčerbey, later director of the bishop’s office in Michalovce, and the curators.
To Orthodox believers, construction of the monastery was the matter of existence, because the old wooden monastery had been destroyed in the World War II. The task, however, was not easy. The post-war period was difficult, everything was destroyed, and there was a lack of financies and building materials. Moreover, the idea of monastery construction did not appeal to some authorities.
Help came from the then Minister of Defence of the CSR, later President of the CSR, Ludvik Svoboda, who provided both material and moral support. In gratitude for his help, the believers gave the monastery the name Monument of Dead Heroes - the Slavs of the World Wars I and II.
The project was developed and construction was guided by pastor Andrey Kolomacký who had extensive experience with construction of monasteries in Bohemia, Moravia, and the Transcarpathian Ukraine. Thanks to support of Ing. arch. Luka Antich from Kroméŕíž, the project was prepared very quickly, and was submitted for approval. The National Construction Office issued the respective permission on October 7, 1947, and excavation works started almost immediately. The believers worked with enthusiasm, which helped them overcome numerous obstacles. In autumn 1947, concrete was laid in the basement.
The greatest progress in construction was made n 1948, when, with the help of volunteers, the rough structure was completed to the extent that eliminated any leakage. In 1949, both interior and exterior walls were plastered. Wall paintings are the work of nun Mary (Klain). Two bells were purchased to announce the good message of monastery consecration. The happy moments of consecration are still remembered.
Ever since the monastery has been servcing its purpose, including daily divine services, christening, weddings, burials.
However, climatic conditons such as rain and frost, damaged the monastery in the course of time to the extent that it had to undergo complete reconstruction. The rusty sheet was replaces by brass to eliminate any leakage.
Five years ago, Slovakia was visited by a world-known icon painter, Dimitrios Leussis, by origin a Greek living in the USA, who undertake to implement a demanding and responsible work of providing the complete monastery with brand new paintings. This work took four years. Visitors are intrigued by a remarkable composition of colours of 350 icons on the monastery walls covering an area of 1 600 m2.
We are grateful to the Almighty for his saint love and help. We appreciate the work of Dimitrios who deserves credit of all those who visited or will visit the monastery. We are grateful to the late Dušan Kandričák who assisted in the reconstruction of the monastery. Unfortunately, he did not live to see its completion. Our indebtness goes to all those who financially supported the monastery construction, to believers and curators who did their best in elevating our sanctuary. Let the Almighty reward everybody with his rich mercy.
After 50 years, the monastery is as if new, and we hope that the religious people will see to preserving the monastery as a dominant building of Medzilaborce for future generations.
Prot. Michal Bega