At the same time here with special warmth and love to perceive everything in one way or another, connected with Russia and Russian people, stressing that the Russians and the Serbs is in fact one of the people who were separated over time, but retained the traditional cultural and spiritual ties.

the Correspondent of “Rossiyskaya Gazeta” decided to verify this by going to the legendary Dougie monastery, located 10 kilometers South-West of Trebinje, where is the gift of the Russian Empress bell, a miraculous icon from Russia, and is also buried Russian monks whose fate shows heavy upheavals and trials that befell the Russian people in the XX century.

Dougie Monastery dedicated to the Holy virgin, was founded in the XVI century. Being the centre of the diocese and a place of attraction of the Orthodox population, he received full support from the famous natives of the Herzegovina, who was on duty in Russia. For example, the closest associate of Peter the Great, count Savva Lukich Raguzinsky-Vladislavich contributed to the development of this spiritual center of Herzegovina.

In 1857, the Russian Consul Alexander Hilferding first visited Herzegovina. The results of the visit, he reported to St. Petersburg about the miraculous monastery and its needs, and later reflected the accumulated experience in a separate Chapter of his book, “Bosnia, Herzegovina and Old Serbia”.

According to the diplomat, “the best of the monastery, the brethren more industrious, zealous, and Trustees about the education of the people was not in the whole of Herzegovina and Bosnia.” “Just more impressed us at first glance – remarkably small size of Windows and doors; you are scared to bend down to enter his cell, – he stressed. – This comes from “fear of Turkish”: the Turks see in the big Windows and doors a sign of pride and independence of the host, and therefore Christians are compelled to avoid this architectural facilities. They are so used to the low door that always, even when there is no need, unwittingly bend, crossing the threshold of the room… the Impression that Duzhsky monastery made on us was most pleasant. We saw hope for the future, activity, love of people and their education.”

the Consul said that “the Church of the Dormition in Dugah large, quite high, built of good white stone”. “Near the Church, on poles, hanging a small bell that is preserved somehow from time immemorial Dogscom monastery: the Turks are so accustomed there to see that, although grumbled and leered at him more than once, but still did not dare to touch him; however, I must say that he was kept within the Church, and only recently taken out to the outside. It is the bottom circle a little wider than an ordinary cap; but such a great bell there in Herzegovina, and there is no other that posmel would be in the fresh air: because people extremely value it and admires them. Sometimes the monks will dare to slowly ring my bell”, ‘ wrote Hilferding.

According to historical evidence, the Russian Empress Maria Alexandrovna, wife of Alexander II, personally donated 1,500 roubles for the restoration of the monastery after the next looting by Turkish troops. She also donated, cast in Russia, the bell, loud sounding of which in 1860, for the first time after the battle of Kosovo (1389) and the development of the vastness of the Turks, testified to the desire of the Orthodox population to free themselves from Ottoman oppression. He to this day awakens his inimitable sound Herzegovina, Recalling the special spiritual ties between the Serbian and Russian peoples.

In 1926 the monastery was surrounded by white emigres, fled Russia from the horrors of civil war and red terror, one of them – Nikolay Rozhentsov, who took monastic vows in Herzegovina in 1924, it was even in 1928, Abbot Dougie.

Russian monks Serbs loved for bringing them to these places of culture, knowledge and reverent attitude to the faith imported from Russia the icon of the “Crucifixion of Jesus Christ” demonstrated his miracles and became one of the main assets of Dougie. In 1935, the monks painted the walls of the local Church in the new Russian style, but, unfortunately, those images have not survived to the present day.

during the Second world war in Yugoslavia in the anti-fascist movement was a distinct division of the partisans-Communists and the Chetniks, supporters of the monarchical structure of the state, which echoes in the Serbian society are observed to this day. However, some representatives of the guerrillas was seen as a threat to the monks of tsarist Russia. 22 December 1941 the Communists, forcing pre-dig their own mass grave near the monastery in the surrounding forest, using melee weapons was brutally murdered 80-year-old monks – Eugene (Chernetskogo), Michael (Sokolov) and Peter. It is necessary to tell and about the vicissitudes of fate. So, the Chetniks from Herzegovina by expelling the major part of the guerrillas, turned the monastery Dougie in jail and place of torture already supporters of communism.

According to the monastery’s information, Nicholas Rozhentsova managed to survive during the Second world war, and he moved to one of the Scandinavian countries, perhaps Sweden, where he continued to serve God.

the Novice of the convent, the Keeper of all secrets and relics from the past Week Gudelj during the conversation with the correspondent “RG” did not hide his special attitude to the Russian Federation, stressing that Dougie is located exactly on the border of the West (EU – Croatia, NATO – Montenegro and Croatia) and East (Eurasia), is an Outpost Of Russia in the region.

“It was in our monastery awoke the national consciousness of the Serbs, formed a national identity. It was here that organized all of the popular uprising (1857, 1861 and 1875)” she said, adding that “this is the first education center in Herzegovina: here opened the first school and had an extensive library, books which were sent from Russia and count Sava Lukich Raguzinsky-Vladislavich”.

Gudelj Week drew attention to the fact that “in the vicinity of the monastery there is a fertile world.” This, according to her, due to the fact that the earth is fertilized labour the bodily heat (and now have to wash your hands to handle, predominantly, stone ground), stained with the blood of the martyrs, including, and Russian monks, prayer watered by tears.” In this regard, the Serbian has invited the Russians, especially representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church to visit the monastery to worship the miraculous icon and the tomb of the compatriots, which certainly would contribute to the further strengthening of Russian-Serbian relations.