August 15, 2023

The Miraculous Spring of the Theotokos in Bačko Petrovo Selo

Bačko Petrovo Selo is a village located on the right bank of the river Tisa in the Bečej Municipality, in the South Bačka District of Serbia. It is situated in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina. The village has a Hungarian ethnic majority.

The Monastery of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Bačko Petrovo Selo is better known as Vodica Monastery. For three centuries this monastery has been the spiritual and cultural destination of this region. The holy spring ("vodica") is the special feature of this monastery, due to its miraculous properties, especially on behalf of those with ailments of the eyes.


After the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, the Serbian army retreated north towards Central Europe, to Hungary, before the invasion of the Turks. This area was owned by Serbian despot Đurđ Branković in 1412 and remained in the domain of Serbian despots until the arrival of the Turks in 1526.

After the conclusion of the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699 and the departure of the Turks from these regions, there was a significant influx of the Serbian population to these areas and the first mention of the monastery in Bačko Petrovo Selo.

A tradition from 1711 is recorded in the monastery chronicles, which describes the event that led to this place becoming the spiritual center of the entire region. On the eve of the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, a villager named Milivoj, who was suffering from an eye disease, grazed his flock here. In the afternoon, he had a vision of a woman who addressed him as son. She told him that she was the Mother of God and that in the place where she was standing, water would flow with which he would heal his eyes and which would be a place of healing for all believers. Milivoj informed the local priest about this event, who immediately came to the scene and verified that water appeared at the place of the Mother of God's appearance - water that smelled of myrrh. On the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, a procession went from the village to this place where the people were convinced of the truth of this miracle. Although in recent times there has been a lot of debate about the healing properties of this water, many sick people have found healing and spiritual strengthening here. Believing in the power of healing, people come to the monastery on foot for pilgrimage from near and far.

Over time, a brick well was dug in that place, and a large wooden cross was placed next to it. The church and municipal administration appointed someone who took care of the contributions of the growing number of pilgrims. During the 19th century, there were attempts, due to the arrival of a large number of people on the feasts of the Mother of God and on the feast of the Saint Marina, to build an inn for the people. This idea was realized in 1872. Then, with the contributions of the faithful, a baked brick church covered with shingles measuring six fathoms was built, and two years later, a modest building for the people was built made of wood covered with reeds. Various testimonies about healings in this monastery are recorded in the monastery annals. It is recorded that this place is revered not only among Orthodox but also among Roman Catholic Hungarians. That is why in 1892 a Roman Catholic from Bačko Petrovo Selo presented the statue of the Virgin to the monastery as a sign of gratitude. The well was restored in 1960. A new well was made with a metal cut and a new cross was placed.


In 1972, during the ministry of priest Miroslav Naumov (later priest in Sombor, where he served until his death), the Board of Directors of the Serbian Orthodox Church made a decision to build the present chapel/church, which is dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos, from the voluntary contributions of the locals. The present church was built in 1973 with the blessing of the late Bishop Nikanor of Bačko. A church 9 meters long and 3 meters wide was built with contributions from believers. The iconostasis and icons in the temple were built by the academic painter Dragan Bjelogrlić from Novi Sad, modeled after the iconostasis of the chapel of the patriarchal court in Sremski Karlovci. In the 1980's, all the current accompanying buildings in the monastery were built. Later works were continued by archpriest Stevan Krunić.

A piece of the relics of Saint Theodore the Tiro was brought in 1976 and is kept in the monastery today.

By the high decision of the late Bishop Sava of Šumadija, who as the administrator of the Diocese of Backo issued a decree on July 14, 1988, this place was officially declared a monastery.

The Monastery of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Bačko Petrovo Selo is a metochion of the Holy Archangels Monastery in Kovilje. The monastic brotherhood of Kovilje takes care of it.

The two primary feasts of the Monastery are on August 15th for the Dormition of the Theotokos and on July 17th for Saint Marina (popularly known as the feast of "Fiery Marina" due to it being the hottest time of the year).

Saint Justin Popovich on the Miraculous Spring

"In Bačko Petrovo Selo, there has been a miraculous spring (i.e. a well with water) since ancient times, called by the people 'Water of the Theotokos'. Over time, many miraculous healings have taken place from this holy water, especially of eye diseases. One such miracle happened in 1926, when a blind man was healed after washing himself with this holy water with faith and piety. The most recent miraculous healing happened in 1975, on the feast of the Protection of the Theotokos, when a twelve-year-old boy Miloš from Novi Sad, who was suffering from spinal curvature, was healed at that place. In 1969, a small but beautiful church dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos was built next to this holy water. On the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, a large national prayer meeting takes place in this miraculous place."

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