Be sure to read: Monk Siluan Krivi Vir
With great pride and pleasure, we present to you a unique program of visiting the village of Krivi Vir in the household of the monk Siluan. A place where it is still possible to breathe with full lungs, which is surrounded by untouched nature, at the foot of the magical mountain Rtanj and Kučevo mountains.
Between the two world wars, this village was one of the most developed in Serbia, in terms of education, manners, and way of life. The village, which once had 4,500 inhabitants, today has barely 250, many of whom are not there all year round.
Monk Siluan is one of those who live there and whose mission is to build a monastery on the slopes of Rtanj. In the village of Krivi Vir is the source of Crni Timok, and near the source, there are numerous sources of hot water, the most famous of which is Vrelo, on which the Turks built the Turkish bath. Locals say that the water temperature is high enough during the winter that one can bathe in them, and young people who come still use them today.
A little downstream, two surviving old watermills are more than 200 years old. And even without millers, the people keep them alive as a monument to how grain used to be ground in the village.
When we asked Monk Siluan why Krivi Vir is so special, what led him to build a monastery there, he answered:
“Everything I might tell you, might not be so vividly explained in letters.
I will tell you, but to be honest, the most beautiful and practical thing would be if you were able to come and see where I am, where I live and then, in one way, it is different when you see it, different is when I tell you that. You have nice accommodation here, you have a nice place to spend the night, you have a warm room, to see this nature, the ambiance, to see these animals, to experience it in your own way.
I have a nice cheese, there is everything to see how it is here in the countryside, to see how it is under the mountain Rtnja, to feel, to talk a little and I think it will be a wonderful vacation. It doesn’t matter when, it doesn’t matter what time of year I enjoy it.
Maybe you will see and experience much more than I would convey to you in words.
The village is called Krivi Vir, there is the source of Crni Timok. You will see the cave, you will see where the Black Timok springs. It is very beautiful there and the nature is beautiful. There is also a Turkish bath with hot water, a hammam that used to be Turkish, for bathing. We have cows, sheep, donkeys, poultry, dogs, and this year, God willing, we have that monastery property which is about 7 hectares in size and we start with the first spring, construction of lodgings, barns, churches, etc.”
When asked who comes to him most often, we received a somewhat unexpected answer:
“A lot of people come to me from Belgrade, from Novi Sad, from Nis, Sabac, they come from all sides … they come to see me…There is a small residence here with the blessing of Metropolitan Agafangel and there we have a small winter church, a chapel where worship is performed.
Foreigners and people from abroad came this summer, they were there, they stayed and came back… You know, there are a lot of acquaintances, people who know me from the monastery, and then that circle expands… Some people really love nature, love to come, love to be there, to escape from that noise of the city. People who have never seen or experienced some things and then they experience it here is an event for them. It remains in their fond memory, in their memory.
Doctors, lawyers, vacationers, people who are engaged in responsible and demanding professions, both physically and mentally, have fled here to me. They enjoy doing some drudge stuff, they’re happy to chop wood. Someone has never taken an ax in their hands… It is a pleasure for them to order a stove, to knead bread, to make proja, to go and pick greens, to make soup… In this way, they get closer to me, to each other, live our family, common, Christian, religious.
I have a lot of guests. It’s been over 600 people since last summer since I’ve been here. As soon as the better weather starts, from April, I have a lot people here. I am sometimes not even able to take everything to the boarding house. I can accommodate up to 12 people, I can’t take it anymore! That is why we want to start building lodgings, log cabins, bungalows as soon as possible, as our finances allow, so we will work.
I love when people come, mountaineers come, down there in the yard where the sheep set up tents… People are looking, they want healthy food. We have very nice cheese, goat and sheep, cow’s milk, homemade milk, all those things that are rare today. Here were Poles, Czechs, French, Portuguese. When they come, they scream! They scream with happiness and pleasure!
It was a pleasure for them to take ranches and sticks and go to the mountains to keep goats, for goats to follow them up the meadows, to pick flowers and herbs.
There was also a song, a choir came from the Czech Republic, they sang so beautifully all the time they were there, they cooked me food according to their recipes… they will come this summer, they will come back, I know that… they will come for sure…
All guests who come are first delighted with the air, nature, they have accommodation here, so we prepare everything from food. We don’t eat meat here, but we have plant foods, dairy products. All those people who come want to participate in something in some way.
One wants to help make cheese, the other wants to help milk cows, sheep, goats. Some want to go up to the goats in nature, to take them to graze in the meadows. Someone wants to learn how to knead bread.
There are always some activities. These are not mandatory activities, but when people come, they want to learn and experience them themselves. When it is summer, we go together to pick herbs, herbs, teas, and dry them. When the heat is great in summer during the day, in the morning they go with the animals up the meadows, collect hay, work in the garden, water the garden.
Everyone wants to get involved in some way, to relax and unwind a little.
Their satisfaction is great. From here, it is rare that someone has not returned again, sometimes I feel sorry, people who were there call me to talk, I do not get on the phone to answer, I answer after day two…
Everyone who came here came to understand, everyone wants to come back, even to find a home here.
Through the people who come here and who tell others that a monk lives somewhere alone and that he has his mission, according to God’s promise, I managed to meet other people. When someone comes and comes home satisfied and tells someone about me and what I do here… That’s how the circle of people expanded here. “
His mission is to build a monastery, and he is firmly determined to reach the goal as soon as possible!
The monastery is dedicated to the Most Holy Mother of God Trojerucica, it is celebrated on July, July 24. Then a lot of people come and the Holy Liturgy is served.
“I am here with the intention, with the blessing, to build a small monastery there. The monastery will contain the economic part of the yard, where we have a lot of cattle, where we will make cheese, sour milk, cream, everything that is natural, grow fruits, vegetables without pesticides and create a small spiritual center for believers. for people who want to come, to be in nature with animals, to help the people, to experience what they could not in the city.
To try to relax themselves both spiritually and physically. Many people bought properties in the village so that they would be close, they also bought houses just to stay there. Upon arrival, the people organize themselves to help build monasteries and lodgings as best they can. They see what I’m doing, to build it and then they ask themselves how much more you need, we’ll buy it for you.
Someone brought pillows for lodgings, someone brought a pan, someone a cup of coffee, someone a sherpa. Someone help me physically if I need anything. Everyone helps in their own way.
There is neither – MUST nor – SHOULD here. I am glad that someone comes, that he feels comfortable even when he leaves here to be satisfied. Everything else is up to them. I did not ask for anything, nor did I ask for it, nor am I asking for it now. They come once, they see, so the next time they come, they bring and say – Siluane, we saw that you miss this, here we have brought you.
In such a humanitarian way, unconditional those who can help. I have no income from everything, except what I organize so that I can have, and all the income goes to the construction of monasteries and lodgings. I have been here for a little over a year, but I am doing my best to create conditions for all people who come to be as beautiful as possible. The conditions are beautiful, but it can always be better. “
With his modesty, peace, and wisdom, this fantastic man restores faith in people, in God, in what most of us are unsuccessfully searching for in the constant pursuit of life.
“I want to welcome everyone. I don’t see who he is, what he is, and where he is from. I will not take God’s work into my own hands, for me, they are all the same. My door is open to everyone, and when a man comes here, the Mother of God takes care of it, I don’t care … I have nothing to worry about, the Mother of God takes care of everything, I’m just a servant here and nothing else.
These are some times of lawlessness, times of insensitivity, no more brotherly love, nothing more… The people somehow withdrew, lost trust, only God remained something that people believe in and rely on, that’s how it should be, but in today’s it is hard to find someone who wants to listen to you, to stand up for you, to pay attention to you and to be a truly faithful Christian brother. To feel you in torment, in sorrow, in grief, in falls… Today, everything came down to hatred, gossip, malice, and then one just doesn’t know where to go.
A man in a big city when he has a problem, he no longer knows who to talk to, whom to trust, he doesn’t even know who to tell. Then man withdraws into himself, and the devil takes his own. The devil starts torturing man, injecting him with various thoughts, and then man, God help him, deviates from the path of problems and torments.
It’s a completely different way of life here than in the city. Here people get up, birds sing in the morning, soften goats, smell everything, breathe the morning air, watch the sunrise. It is a shame to sleep in this environment. It’s a beautiful spring…
There are many things that I can’t even remember at once, and that words can’t convey, can’t be compared to what a person experiences in reality.
People have retreated to their homes, there are no more visits because of the Crown, everything has fallen to the human race. It’s not for nothing! Surely God warns us about something, because of which, I don’t know, we will see… God is love. God loves man, he will never do harm to any man, but God sends something to make man better.
God arranges everything. Just calm and meek. Calmness is the basis of all good things. Sometimes it doesn’t go the way we want. Maybe it shouldn’t go the way we want… It should be according to God’s will. Sometimes we want something, but we don’t know if it’s good for us, so when time passes and it happens differently, we say Better that it wasn’t the way we wanted it to be. “
This text may not be what you expected at first, but if it seems to you that in Krivi Vir you can find what you were looking for in other places, listen to your heart, sometimes it takes us to the right place. And we greet you just as Siluan greeted us –
“God help you, and I hope to see you soon!”