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The Church of the Birth of the Holy Virgin – a Monument from the Fourth Century

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Herzegovina is full of cultural and historical monuments, and one of the most valuable ones is the ancient temple in Ljubinje or today’s Church of the Birth of the Holy Virgin and three churches that are placed underneath it. Archaeologists found numerous remains of earlier buildings underneath the stone building, of which the oldest one is probably dating from the fourth century.

“Today’s temple was constructed back in 1867 on the foundations of three early churches. These were the temples from the fourteenth century, the twelfth century, and the oldest remains belonged to a temple that was built between the fourth and sixth century, so this is a monument that originates from the early Christian period,” said Sasa Kojovic.

The Church of the Birth of the Holy Virgin in Ljubljana is a national monument of BiH, stated Kojovic, and it had this status even before archaeologists found the remains of older churches underneath it.

“The area of Ljubinje is still unexplored, and we cannot argue that the ancient temples underneath today’s church are the oldest objects in this area with certainty. Archaeological excavations on the church were conducted in the year of 2014 by experts from the Museum of Herzegovina in Trebinje and the Institute for the Protection of Monuments from Banja Luka,” stated Kojovic.

The church was constructed with the use of carved stone, it has a bell tower with three bells, one of which was damaged during the World War II. The church was covered and reconstructed several times.

After the last archaeological excavations, the interior of the church got glass floor on one part, and parts of the earlier temples on which it was constructed can be nicely seen. In this way, this unique monument in Ljubinje became a multiple cross-section of history and testifies about centuries that were left behind it.

The Old Church in Ljubinje  was built in 1866. The church was built of stone and has a bell tower with three bells, one of which was damaged in 1941, in the Second World War.  The church was covered with tiles and rebuilt several times, last time in 1998.

The Holy Gospel with silver adornments,  weighing eleven pounds, is of a special value. This was a gift for the church from Russia along with a silver icon with the figure of Christ and the Virgin Mary, the gift of Zorka Radonjic in 1901. A school building was built next to the church in 1878. The building was nationalized in 1959 and returned to the church in 1992, and renovated in 1998.

Source: turizamrs/sarajevotimes

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