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Veljusa - Monastery of the Most Holy Theotokos Eleusa

The most impressive encounter with this monastery is at daybreak. If you happened to set forth from Strumica by car half an hour before sunrise, after having driven some ten kilometres to the northwest of the city, you already climb up the winding narrow road above the Village of Veljusa , and there... you find yourself in front of the monastery gate. Around you there is the rural atmosphere of a Macedonian village that slowly wakes up. Dogs barking and roosters; smell of country yards and hen-houses, of chimneys and firewood that bring to mind images of breakfast being prepared. The area does not abound in vegetation. Nothing that would especially attract a new-comer's attention at his first visit here. You are much too close to the monastery as to see it. Knowing not what is on the other side, you cautiously step in through the gate... and then everything changes. All you hear is the echo of your footsteps on the stony path and the wind in the crowns of the trees, while in amazement you feel the gentle eastern light and the peace this place breathes with as they tame you. An oasis... of silence. Greenery bordered with flower-beds and roses. Recently planted trees. With great care and love laid out park, in which dominate the ancient church and several newly built monastery facilities in the characteristic Macedonian-Byzantine style of construction ? dressed stone and brick. An elevated sight. The monastery complex is situated on a rocky plateau above Veljusa and the Strumica Valley . Behind the mountain ridges of Ogra?den the sun rises. The clock tower shows the time that passes down there in the world, and here ? it stops, in a 'momentum towards Eternity'. And while you wonder if you were all alone in this celestial sight, quietly opens the gate of the monastic part and several nuns soundlessly go down the steps toward the entrance into the church. Spontaneously you follow them and you are already inside... It is time for Liturgy.

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