Island with an interesting history “Gospa od Milosti”
The smallest island of the Krtolj archipelago – the Island, popularly known as Our Lady of Mercy or Školj, is a common motif on postcards from Tivat and is one of the most beautiful decorations of the Tivat Bay. The lesser-known “brother” of the second Boka island sanctuary of Our Lady of Skrpjela in front of Perast, the island, unlike the Peras sanctuary, was artificially erected by pouring material around an underwater cliff, of natural origin. On this small island measuring about one hundred and fifty meters, there is a Franciscan monastery and a church dedicated to Our Lady of Mercy, which was built in the second half of the 15th century.
The well-known Boka priest and historian, Don Niko Luković, wrote that hermit priests who had later joined the Congregation of the Celestines of Sts. George.
During the 15th century, members of the Franciscan order also arrived on the island, arguing with the Celestines until 1524, when the latter were formally abolished, over this sanctuary. The monastery and the church on the Island were looted by the Turks in 1620, sailing on their skirts from Herceg Novi, after which the Franciscans restored them with the voluntary contributions of the faithful. In the 19th century, the island was taken over by the parish priests Krtol and Krašić, who lived on it while managing their parishes. During an extremely strong storm on January 27, 1844, lightning struck the bell tower of the Church of Our Lady of Mercy, knocked it down and significantly damaged the church and the monastery, and one of the two pastors was killed and the other injured. However, the ancient wooden statue of Our Lady, which dates from the beginning of the 15th century, remained undamaged, which had a special symbolism for the believers who have been making pilgrimages to the island for more than 500 years.
The church on the island was renovated in 1854, in 1901 the Bishop of Kotor Frano Uccellini rebuilt the monastery and decorated the church with his own funds from the ruins, and he also arranged a summer house for students of the episcopal seminary in Školje. The island of Our Lady of Mercy has maintained this appearance to this day, captivating with the harmony of the stone building of the monastery and the church, which, although located on such a small land in the middle of the sea, have a beautiful garden with a well. Apart from the historical one, this sanctuary also has a great monumental and artistic value because in its walls there are various fragments and architectural fragments of the Longobard and Romanesque style, as well as fragments of the beginnings of Slavic sculpture from the 10th century.
The authorship of the wooden statue of Our Lady of Mercy is attributed to the famous master Jakob Kotoranin, who in 1462 worked in high relief on the statue of the Virgin Mary for one of the churches in Milan, where this painted figure is still kept in the Art Museum. and a Roman stone altar dedicated to the goddess Juno Lucina – the patron saint of mothers, which is a rarity in archeology.
The monastery on a small island in the Bay of Tivat has one of the richest libraries in Boka with rare works of theological and scientific literature, and most visitors visit this unique sanctuary every year on August 15 when the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated according to the Gregorian calendar.
Source: Siniša Luković