Coroglash Monastery Is situated not far from Negotin, in Negotin valley. A medieval necropolis is still visible in the churchyard of the monastery.
It is not known for certain who had erected the monastery and to whom the church was dedicated. There is an assumption that King Milutin built it, but it is at odds with the time frame of Moravian style. King Milutin`s endowments belong to earlier Serbian –Bizantine style (also known as Vardarian style).
The base of the church consists of a nave ending by an altar apse. The altar apse itself is three-sided from the exterior and round from the interior. Along the north and south wall of the church there are three evenly dispersed niches respectively, and also on an outer part of the altar apse. The church façade is decorated by rows of bricks and stone. Parallel with rows of red bricks along the church and in arches above niches, stretch rows of decorative green tubular bricks. Alongside tubular bricks in the walls there are resonator pots which in case of air streaming produced the roar of air similar to a choir.
Although the church itself is devastated in a high degree, traces of very fine frescoes are visible.
During archeological excavations in 1975 and 1976, remainings of medieval necropolis, dated to long medieval period from XI – XV century, were discovered in the monastery`s churchyard. On that occasion 150 graves were discovered, though their number is surely much bigger. A lot of silver and gilded accessories were unearthed: earrings, bracelets, gilded diadems, remainings of arms and medieval coins. Those findings point to a conclusion that those who were buried here were well of, maybe members of Krayina aristocracy from Nemanic`s period.
Engravings are visible on the tombstones, with notions of arms, mainly swords and axes, horseman on some.
Folklore tradition about this monastery tells us that Marko Kraljevic, returning from Battle of Rovine, in 1395, gravely wounded, died here.
From all of explored graves in this medieval necropolis until now, only in one case was established that deceased died forcefully – namely arrow head was found in his thigh.
Austrian historian Felix Kanitz in monastery surrounding area found plate with inscription in Old Church Slavonic: “King Marko fell asleep (in eternal sleep).”
Otherwise, in village Milosevo (untill the XIXth century Coroglash), like in Negotin Krayina as a whole, exists deeply rooted cult of Marko Kraljevic. Inhabitants of this village, in which area monastery is situated, believe that grave of Kraljevic Marko is in fact there, and that he “flew” from Valahia (today Romania).
It becomes more interesting when you take into account that monastery is bound to Saint George`s cult, protector of warriors. St. George is also protector of Knight`s Order of Dragon, and by gravestones with knight markings, one could speculate in that direction. On every St George Day people gather and celebrate this Christian holiday in the churchyard.
Non-Christian rites, in connection with St George cult, are performed nearby, however much it sounds illogically.
The Cult of St George itself is shrouded in a veil of mystery. Although the Saint George originated from Cappadocia his cult is deeply rooted in Balkans. One should go further in the past, to antiquity and Pre-Roman period in the Balkans and take into account an origin of St George`s cult. Surely, parallels with Thracian Horseman (Green Horseman) could be traced, and this we shall discuss in subsequent articles.
Author: Milan Nikolic Translation: Zoran Reljin
Photo by Ivan Ristic- Panoramio