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Boka Kotorska - today Montenegro

Boka kotorska is also known as the Bay of Croatian saints.

Out of eleven Croatian saints and blessed (St Leopold Mandic, St Nikola Tavelic, St Marko of Krizevci, Bl Augustin Kazotic, Bl Ozana of Kotor, Bl Jakov Zadranin, Bl Gracija of Mulo, Bl Julijan of Bale, Bl Alojzije Stepinac, Bl Ivan Merz, Bl Marija Petkovic), three of them are from Boka kotorska:

St Leopold Bogdan Mandic (1866-1942),

blessed Ozana Kotorka (Kata Kosic, 1493-1565),

blessed Gracija from Mulo (1438-1508).

Out of 38 churches existing in the Kotor region (annexed to Montenegro in 1945) 36 are Catholic and only 2 are Orthodox (one of them was a gift of the Croats in Boka kotorska). On the photo you can see two beautiful churches on islets in the Boka bay, belonging to the Croatian Catholic community in Montenegro, built in the first half of the 17th century (Sveti Juraj and Gospa od Skrpjela near the town of Perast). It is interesting that the Church of Gospa od Skrpjela is built on an artificial island! Each year a procession of Croatian Catholics encircles in numerous fishing boats the island of Gospa od Skrpjela and pilgrims throw pebbles around it.

An important monument, showing uninterrupted presence of the Croats in Boka kotorska during many centuries, is the cathedral of St Tripun in the town of Kotor, built as early as 1166. As we have said, it represents the oldest known Croatian cathedral. Its ciborium is decorated with a beautiful interlace pattern which is even older than the church itself, and of the same type as numerous exotic interlace patterns found in many pre-Romanesque churches along the Croatian littoral. The town of Kotor has a surrounding wall which is about 5km long.

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