HOLY 40 MARTYRS ON KRKARDASH, BITOLA - MARCH 21ST

Holy 40 Martyrs Church is located on Krkardash in Bitola in the area called Smilevski Bair. It was built 150 years ago, on the same place of the former monastery "St. Athanasius". Day of the church is every first day of spring, 21th of March.



Krkardash or Krkkardash is legendary region in northern Montmartre (Bair), where unequal struggle occurred between Macedonians and the Turkish army. When the Turkish army had conquered Bitola, the monks of the monastery gave fierce resistance fighting with cross in one hand and knife in other.
According to legends of Marco Cepenkov, there was a small fortress, in a possession of the feudal owner Toljo, which Turks closed during their conquest of Bitola. There, the entire Macedonian population fought back the Turkish army. All defenders of the fortress have fallen in bloody battle. Due to the strong and heroic defense, Turks named that region Krkkardash, which means 40 brothers. Today on this place are the Church "St. 40 Martyrs" and "St. Archangel Michael".

On October 29, 2012 with a large national gathering in Bitola, the Macedonian Orthodox Church canonized the holy 40 martyrs with solemn liturgy held in the Church of the Holy Great Martyr Demetrius.
40 white doves flied as a sign of their elevation for those who suffered for the Christian faith and sacrificed their lives during the conquest of Bitola by the Ottomans in 1385.

In honor of these 40 monks was built the Monastery "40 Machenici".

Each year on this day, in the evening hours, all citizens of Bitola visit this place and light a candle in a memory of 40 martyrs. People go there and on 22nd of March from morning until the afternoon.