Cave Cathedral: A Phenomenon created by Faith and Need

If you go along the road between Tomislavgrad and Posusje, somewhere at the border of cantons, do not skip the traffic sign of Bukovica. One of the most special temples in our region, the Cave Cathedral, is hiding in that small village.

In beautiful natural landscape, a cave with a stream, there is a church in which holy mass is being held on a regular basis. Legend says that this tradition exists since the 17th century, and it was renewed 20 years ago.

There are stories that masses in Bukovica cave were secretly held during the Ottoman Empire, since they allegedly were not allowed during Turkish – Christian wars. There was a perish formed in the locality of Duvno, and other religious rituals including christening, weddings, etc. were held in this cave as well.

Bishop from Makarska, Nikola Bijakovic, dedicated the cave to St. Ignatius, and legend says that bishop used to live in it once. Due to the fact that it was home to a bishop himself, this special space was named “cathedral” amongst people.

This improvised temple, placed in really idyll Herzegovina nature landscape, was used as shelter for those who needed it much later. Decades, centuries, empires were passing, and the cave cathedral was witnessing numerous events about which people still tell stories. There is also a plate that was placed in 2005, which represents a memorial to seven people who were taken from this place back in 1945.

Today, when you stand in front of the cave and imagine this place hundred or more years ago, you can easily get the impression of secretiveness and easiness for some pursuit to get lost in numerous stone hills that are hiding fugitive, protected by the cave and the God.

Shortly after the war, Fr. Marko Juric, then pastor of Bukovica, decided to hold a holy mass here once during the summer.

Our history is more burdened than any other, prone to political interpretations and ratings. But then, the Cave Cathedral has strong symbolic, as well as peace and calmness as no other temple.

(Source: R. D./

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