Story about Papraca Monastery in Zvornik

The municipality of Zvornik covers 387 km2 and ranges from 135-600 meters above sea level. It is very rich in natural resources, primarily limestone, wood, and mineral water springs (notably the seven springs of Vitinicki Kiseljak which is one of the many tasty Bosnian mineral waters).

The Drina River itself is the greatest attraction in Zvornik. Rafting or canoeing around Zvornik has some really fantastic spots as does fishing in the region south of the high dam. The mild climate and land structure suit the production of berries, plums, cherries, and vegetables. This town has two annual festivals. In July, there is a week-long cultural festival with folk, jazz and rock bands performing on the river bank. In May or June, there is the annual canoeing competition. KKK Drina Zvornik, the canoe club in Divic that organises this competition, also rents canoes and water scooters at reasonable prices.

If there is sufficient interest, they will also take you to Srebrenica for a canoe trip from there to Bratunac, or even all the way back to the dam in Zvornik. Papraca Monastery in Sekovici is located about 20 kilometers southwest from Zvornik. The earliest written mentioning dates back to 1550. Lovnica Monastery, with a church devoted to St. George, is located several kilometers north from Sekovici.

A lot of documents are preserved in this church, as is some of the work of Longina, one of the most famous Serb painters of the 16th century. The tiny convent is open for visitors, and the nuns will open the old church’s wooden door with a huge brass key to show you around. Some of the icons and frescoes date back to the 16th century. In Kula Grad, a village that is part of Zvornik municipality, there is an Ottoman fort from which you have a superb view on the town.

The Papraća Monastery is a Serbian Orthodox monastery dedicated to the Annunciation and located in the village of Papraća at the source of the same-named river, near Šekovići in eastern Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The date of its foundation is unknown, but contemporary Ottoman documents give evidence that the monastery existed in the first half of the 16th century.

The monks of Papraća had contacts with Russian rulers in the 16th and 17th centuries, and they often travelled to Russia to raise funds and donations. In 1551, the monks travelled to Moscow through Volhynia in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, where they received a manuscript Gospel Book from Prince Dymitr Sanguszko, who was a grandson of Serbian Despot Jovan Branković.

Several years later, also in Volhynia, another group of Papraća monks received a psalter from a man named Nikola the Serb. In 1559, Papraća monks helped build a new church at the Tronoša Monastery in western Serbia. In 1645, Russian Tsar Aleksey Mikhailovich granted a charter permitting the monks of Papraća to collect donations in Russia once every eight years. They managed to travel to Russia even during the Great Turkish War (1683–1699).

The monastery was abandoned and ruined after the Austro-Turkish War of 1716–18. Its church was rebuilt in 1853, after the construction works were allowed by Ottoman authorities.

The rebuilding was helped by funds from Serbs of Sarajevo. The church was further refurbished in the following years, and it was consecrated in 1869. Monastic life was restored in Papraća in 1880.

During World War II, the monastery was ruined and its valuables were stolen. It was partially repaired in 1954, mostly through efforts by nun Varvara Božić from the Tavna Monastery. After further renovations, it was consecrated on 21 September 1975. The Papraća Monastery was designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2005.

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