Church of Profitis Ilias

Μετάφραση Greek Version

Church of Profitis Ilias

The small church of Profitis Ilias is located at the top of Mount Kaimaktsalan, at an altitude of 2,524 m. It is dedicated to Peter and Paul and was built in 1920 on a site given by the Greeks to the Serbs. During World War I, terrible battles took place in the area between the Serbs and the Bulgarians. The battles took place from 12th to 30th of September 1916, when the Serbian army tried to occupy the peak of Prophet Elias while forcing the Bulgarians to retreat to Morihovo. During the period from 26th to 30th of September, the peak of Prophet Elias changed hands several times until it was finally occupied by the Serbs on September, 30th. In these battles thousands of Serb soldiers were killed. So, the Serbs built this church with remnants of these battles, in tribute to those soldiers.

At the entrance of the church there is a marble inscription written in Cyrillic that states: "The church is dedicated to the lions who put their breasts on the threshold of freedom." On the floor inside the church there are bombshells, while in the icons there are tributes and wreaths in memory of the killed soldiers. In the courtyard there are bombshells and barbed wire of war while a little further, two abandoned outposts and a cistern with rain water. When the snow melts, the trenches of the battlefield can be easily seen. About 100 meters below, there is a monument dedicated to the battle, inside in which are kept the bones of the soldiers who lost their lives in those battles.

The orthodox church was originally built with a hemispherical dome, but due to the heavy snowfall in the area, the Belgrade School of Architecture proposed to be replaced by a Gothic-style roof that remains to this day.

It is relatively easy to reach the church. During the winter, however, you need to be careful. The route starts from the facilities of the ski center and after about 1 hour of hiking an uphill path, you reach the church located in the third highest peak in Greece.