Kalishta Monastery (Манастир Калишта) near Struga

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Kalishta Monastery

Kalishta Monastery complex is placed on the coast of Ohrid Lake in a natural rocky environment.

The monastery is directly under the authority of the Archbishop of a Macedonian Orthodox Church, and consists of four churches: two dedicated to the Nativity of  Holy Mother of God (one old, in a cave and one new), a Church dedicated to Sts. Peter and Paul, the apostoles, and one dedicated to St. Athanasius the Great (in a cave).

Kalishta Monastery near Struga, MacedoniaThe cave church – The Nativity of Holy Mother of God, is the oldest part of the monastery and its fundament. It is built in the 14th century and is authentic, completely preserved with no restoration works. The church is built according to the space inside the cave. The east side is blocked with a stone wall and there are the altar apse and the entrance.

Kalishta Monastery near Struga, MacedoniaThe four churches – Church of St. Athanasius, the Church of St. Archangel Michael in village Radozda and the Church of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ in village Vishni, form the cave – church complex in this region. Three monk cells are placed within the rock in which the church is built – two on the first floor, and one on the second.


From the beginning of monasticism, the rock has always been a natural element and symbol of asceticism. The new church – The Nativity of Holy Mother of God was rebuilt in 1977, but the foundation dates from the 18 century. Divine Liturgy is served in this church every Sunday and for every holiday all over the year.

Kalishta Monastery (Манастир Калишта) near Struga

The church is fresco-painted in the Byzantine style and has a unique iconostasis made by Naum Donev from Ohrid. In this very temple, the wonderworking icon of Holy Mother of God is exposed.

Childless women are the most frequent worshippers of this icon and they visit the monastery every 21st of September to celebrate the name – the day of the monastery.

According to some stories, during the World War II the icon was thrown into the lake several times, but it always returned back by itself, as a testimony of the silent presence of the God’s blessing at this place. Today, this very important icon is kept in the church, and it is characteristic by the fact that the Holy Mother of God is painted with black face and clothing, holding in her hands the Black Jesus.

Holy Mother of God painted with black face and clothing, holding in her hands the Black Jesus - Kalishta Monastery, Struga, MacedoniaIn one of the buildings at the monastery there is a chapel built and fresco-painted in 2002 and dedicated to St. Theodore the Tyro. The monks at the monastery use it in the winter period to perform their everyday prayers. This chapel and the whole building are under the canopy of a very old tree – maple, which has a central place in the monastery. It is 645 years old, and people believe its age corresponds to the settling down of the first monks at this place.

Kalishta Monastery near Struga, MacedoniaThere is a spring under the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul built in 1991.

In the vicinity of the monastery Kalista, five-minutes walk away from the monastery buildings, there is embedded in the rocks, the cave church dedicated to the Alexandrian archbishop Athanasius. It contains the biggest set of medieval painting in Struga region.

Cave church of St. Athanasius is built in the 13th century: authentic in its special appearance and rare beauty, non-intrusive and an everlasting witness of the people from this region.

The natural beauty of this monastery complex, ennobled – with the graceful interventions of the people seeking and finding God, is enriched with an un-quenching love of the brotherhood at the monastery.

In accordance with their own strength and spiritual practice, they pray for health and salvation for all the visitors to the monastery.