Veljusa, Monastery of the Most Holy Theotokos Eleusa
Veljusa Monastery or Eleusa monastery was built in the 11th century. In 1080 completed the construction of the church, built in the old style with stone and brick. It is important to mention is that this church is the only one that is not broken. The first time this church was frescoe painted in the 11 th century, 12 th and 14 th century, but the frescoes are poorly preserved. The last preserved layer of frescoes is from the 19th century. The frescoes existed until the beginning of the First Balkan War. In 1913 the Greeks set the church on fire from the inside and then nearly all the frescoes that existed burned down. Today only a little part of the frescoes from the 11 th and 12 th century are preserved.
Founder of the monastery, is Bishop Manuel, who is originally from Asia Minor and Mount St. Auxentius where he lived as a monk for many years. In his older days he was appointed to be bishop of Tiveripolis (Strumica). It is believed that he was from a wealthy family and inherited a great heritage, and that all his property was invested in the construction of the Veljusa monastery complex. At that time the monastery have dealt with translation and transcription activity and also had knowledge of art, so many of the frescoes were painted by the monks themselves. The monastic life continued in continuity and was interrupted for the first time around 1945. During the World war II the monastery was a hiding place partisans. In the second half of the 20th century is under the protection of the Institute for Protection of Monuments, when archaeological research began. Reconstructions of the floor moazik and iconostasis were made. From 11 century preserved the pillars and the upper beam, two three capitals and a small piece that is built into the bottom plate of the altar screen. In 1995, monastic life in the monastery was restored and restarts again as a male monastery. About a year later it become a female monastery .Since then liturgy service is being held daily. The priests are from from Strumica and have a week duty. Bishop Manuel devoted Veljusa monastery to the Presentation of the Virgin Mary. People from the village began to celebrate this great Orthodox holiday of the Virgin Mary on 21 September in the monastery. Namely that day Eleusa Monastery is the most visited. In the monastery bell existed in the past, but is now built a new one.
Today the Veljusa Monastery community consists of ten nuns of various nationalities (Macedonian, Romanian, Croatian, Russian, Serb descent). The regulated community life is cenobitic , with emphasis being put on the practice of the Jesus prayer. The day begins before dawn, when the sisterhood takes the first blessing from their superior, sister Sara, as they gather at a common brief syn axis , at which by reading counsels on the prayer, they prepare for the prayerful stillness in their cells until Liturgy. Visitors and the guests in the monastery can get in touch only with the sister-archontaris (guest master), whereas the other sisters while doing their monastic tasks cherish silence and continuous saying of the Jesus prayer.