The Village of Raging Waterfalls and Religious Tolerance

The village of Kolesino famous for its many Christian denominations and more recently also for its marvellous waterfalls lies in the foothills of the picturesque Belasica mountain in the south-eastern part of Macedonia. Since the area around the waterfalls had been made accessible and tourist friendly, the village became an important point on tourist maps. Spiritual richness and natural beauty attract visitors to this remote corner of Macedonia. What is the spiritual magic of the diligent farmers, famous for their watermelon and peanuts, living at the altitude of 610 m. Imagine a community of 400 households with 1,300 residents having members of the Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Churches. And the Protestant believers are further divided into Evangelical-Methodist Church, Adventist Church, Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists and Pentecostals. The older residents, when asked about the different denominations, would usually count the village churches and the families attending the ceremonies. St. Spas Orthodox Church is visited by 160 families and is over 200 years old, the Evangelical – Methodist Church is visited by 60 families, the Adventist church is attended by 15 families, and the Church of Jehovah’s Witnessis visited by 10 families. The great variety of believers in this village has given rise to the saying “Whatever mother had lost her child, she will find him/her in Kolesino.” When did this unique religious richness come into being? First, the village is believed to be very old. In the legends, the name of the village is connected with the famous battle between Tsar Samuel and the Byzantine emperor Basil II on the Mount Belasica in 1014. They say “Kolezh” (slaughter) comes from the “terrible slaughter of the Macedonian soldiers defeated in the battle. Although, as if to illustrate to the notorious relativity of each oral source, the second legend associates the name with the first resident of the village who was called Kole and when people passed by his sheepfold they said “this is Kolesino” meaning “this belongs to Kole” Read more … 

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