St. John Bigorski - dedicated to Saint John the Baptist (sv. Jovan Bigorski) - Macedonia
The monastery church is dedicated to St. John the Baptist. According to the monastery's 1833 chronicle, it was built in 1020 by Archbishop Jovan. The Ottomans destroyed the monastery in the XVI century. The monastery was restored in 1743 by the monk Ilarion, who also built several monk cells. Later, in the period from 1812 to 1825 the monastery was expanded by archimandrite Arsenius. Among the donors there is also a mention of a monk Iov, recognized by some researchers as the future educator Joakim Krcovski. One of the most valuable treasures of the monastery is the iconostasis created by Petre Filipovski Garkata and Makarie Frckovski from the nearby village of Gari. This iconostasis is considered one of the most beautiful and most valuable wood-carved iconostasis in the Orthodox religion. Another valuable monastery treasure is an icon dating from 1020 with supposedly miraculous healing power.
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Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.
The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.
Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".
Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.
Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights.
In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states.
Text by Steve Smith.