Sveti Đorđe - island of St. George, opposite Perast, Montenegro
Sveti Đorđe: St. George's Island - challenge to the Pope

Between the city and the Strait of Verige Perast there are two islets in the sea. Try to guess yourself, which of them is of natural origin, and which is man-made.


Coordinates on the yacht chart plotter:   42°28.979'N   |   18°41.339'E



St. George's Island (St. George's) is a natural island. It is given out by candle trees - century-old cypresses, water-sprinkled underground springs. This evergreen tree is a symbol of death in the ancient Romans and eternal life of Christians - a permanent sentinel in the monasteries of the Mediterranean.

On the guard of St. George cypresses guard the peace of the Benedictine abbey. The monks of the oldest Catholic order, looking for solitude and peace, or rather spreading the power of the Pope, chose the island in the X century. Surprisingly, the small abbey so quickly gained influence that the Pope himself undertook to supply the abbots to the island, and the surrounding lands became his monastic parishes - they worked hard for the benefit of the Catholic Church.

This situation did not suit the local residents. Imprisoning another priest in disregard for the parishioners and excessive interest in the benefits from the feudal possessions, the inhabitants of Perast in 1535 killed the church attendant right at the altar. In the same year, the townspeople were excommunicated by the Pope from the church, and on the island it is forbidden to serve. Only eleven years later in the monastery the bell will ring again.

The Islands of St. George and Virgin on the Reef, opposite Perast, Montenegro
The Islands of St. George and Virgin on the Reef, opposite Perast, Montenegro - SimpleSail sailing routes

 

In the summer, the medieval towns of Kotor Bay become theater grounds in the open air. Spectators, actors and musicians gather directly on the pavement of the city squares and as soon as the day's heat falls, performances begin. "Bokel D Minor" - a performance of the Tivat Theater Center is a legendary performance of the Bay of Kotor about a love story in a minor with a final chord on the island of Saint George, which happened two hundred years ago.

Since 1807, the ships of Napoleon stood in the Bay of Kotor. Residents of Perast, dissatisfied with the French occupation, in 1813 raised an uprising. The city was shelled. The ship, on which the officer Anto served, destroyed the house in which the lover of officer Katica lived. Anto will never leave the Bay of Kotor. He will become a hermit, Frano's brother on the island of St. George, and after death will be buried there, next to Katica.

View of the town of Perast from the island of St. George, Montenegro - Adriatic sailing routes of SimpleSail
View of the town of Perast from the island of St. George, Montenegro

 

By the way, until the XIX century, a string of mourning decorated boats often ran to the island, because a century ago the monastery cemetery was simultaneously urban. Since that time, behind St. George, the locals have had one more name - the Island of the Dead. Art historians insist that it is the island of St. George that is depicted on the painting of the same Swiss painter-symbolist Arnold Beklin.

From a distance on the island you can clearly see the sign of the inverted anchor - anchorages are prohibited here. Excursions are also not brought here, despite the fact that the monks on the island no longer live, the island is still a stronghold of the Catholic Church.

Nevertheless, under the walls of the monastery is often possible to see half-naked bodies of brave swimmers who get here from the embankment of Perast and challenging whether their own endurance, or to Pope.