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  • hbanziger

C + 6 : Catholic in the East - Orthodox in the West - Crossing Religious Borders Several Times

Updated: May 7, 2021

Last night we anchored close to a place called Stari Milni (Old Mill) under an impressive range of lime stone mountains. When we woke up this morning, the sea was so flat it looked as we were on a lake.

The Kotor Bay at 7 am - Kotor town and fortress are to the left We decided to visit Herceg Novi or Castelnuovo today where in 1538 the infamous invasion plan of Charles V and Pope Paul III to conquer Istanbul failed (C - 24). Admiral Barbarossa (he still has a monument on the Bosporus) first defeated the Holy League's Fleet in Preveza then the Spanish Advance Guard of 4'000 men in Castelnuovo - albeit at the terrible cost of 20’000 Turkish Turkish elite soldiers. Human life did not have much value then!

Leaving the Bay of Kotor - Perast to the right - the island of Saint George right ahead of us

Orthodox priests in Herceg Novi Until 1687 Herceg Novi therefore stayed in Ottoman hands. Usually, they did not interfere in religious matters. But in Herceg Novi they did. The Catholic Church which supported the Spanish Troops during the siege was thrown out and replaced by Orthodox who’s Patriarch in Istanbul reported to the Sultan. Made life easier for the Ottoman garrison! Thus Kotor to the east is catholic and Herceg Novi to the west orthodox. One of the few exceptions to the divide between catholics and orthodox which mostly follows the old Byzantine border.

Approaching Herceg Novi - the Spanish Harbour Fort in front - the 3rd fort is on the hill top

Herceg Novi from its Middle Castle which the Ottomans re-inforced heavily.

The new Spanish Fortress (which gave the town its Spanish name) overlooking Herceg Novi. It is sadly not accessible ... 😢. Temperatures climbed to 35 C - we decided to have a drink on the town square and then retreat to the Dragonfly - spending the afternoon on the sea

Austrian Mamula Fortress which blocked the entrance to the Austrian Naval Base in the Bay of Kotor. It was an ideal place for lunch and swimming despite the current. We would return into the Bay of Kotor for the night.

Gospa od Milosti

On the way to our anchor place we came across Montenegro’s famous Benedict Monastery with the Church of the Holy Maria. There is no prospectus in Montenegro where its church is not figuring prominently. You can get there only by tender though which we did. Not expecting any body we found a group of Jesuits monks who look after the monastery during summertime. Happy about our interest, they showed us around. Sadly, the monks will leave Montenegro as they already left Bulgaria, Macedonia and Serbia. Catholics emigrate from these countries due to the political turmoil. The old monastery will be returned to the Diozese of Kotor by the end of the year. Rumours have it that the island will be converted to a boutique hotel. A sign of times. Hope it is not true.

Sunset over the Bay of Kotor - as soon as the sun was down, fireworks erupted. The Swiss on holiday here were celebrating our national day - it was 1st of August! Just to the left of the sun is the monastery we visited an hour earlier.

Tomorrow morning we will sail to Tivat, clearing emigration and then head for Cavtat in Croatia. Time to hoist the Croatian Flag.

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