Slavčo Stojmenski bb.

Although these two churches in the middle of Strumica’s Roma district are dedicated to the same holy cause, they couldn’t in actual fact be more different. The building on the left is a typical modern church constructed in 1972 and that’s worth a quick look inside, although it’s the foundations and the surviving wall fragments of the building to its right, whose construction dates from between the 4th and the 9th centuries, that’s by far the most interesting of the pair. The 15 Holy Martyrs in question were murdered during the 4th century for not adhering to the Byzantine pagan beliefs of the time and are now the unofficial patron saints of the city. December 11, the day on which it’s believed that the killings took place, is a special day in Strumica and is observed by Orthodox believers all over the city. Try to find one of the friendly and knowledgeable nuns that live on the site for a fascinating conversation if you can.

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