Connecting Perls – Western Balkans, Serbia, North Macedonia


In the village of Jašunja, on the slopes of Suva Planina, about 17 kilometres from Leskovac, there is the monastery of St. John The Baptist, which is a men’s monastery, and a kilometre and a half away there is a women’s monastery of the Holy Mother of God. 

The monastery temple was built in 1517 on the foundations of an older temple from the Nemanjić period, and it was built by Andronik Kantakuzin and his brothers. The Kantakuzin family was in close kinship with the last descendants of the despotic lineage of the Branković’s.

The church has a single nave, with semi-shaped vaults and a porch on the west side.

The temple is completely flamboyant, and the oldest frescoes were painted in 1524 thanks to a certain Peter from Sofia. These frescoes are located in the nave. The frescoes in the middle zone of the narthex were painted later, circa 1584, when the western facade was painted.

The Vavedenjska Monastery of the Holy Goddess was built by the nun Xenia with the nuns Teofa, Marta and Maria in 1499, whose founder’s portrait can be found in the narthex. All four were painted in the church as nuns and women of age, but nothing is known about them. The inscriptions around their characters are quite short, and there are only mentions of their names. 

There are two biographies in the church, one from the time of construction and the other from the XIX century. The monastery of Holy Mother of God is a small building that has a rectangle that ends in the east with a semicircular apse, and in the west with a rectangular porch. This monumental complex is under protection as a natural monument of great importance.