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Writer: Ayça Olcaytu İşçen
May 2009

If you follow 15 kms Mustafapaşa-Taşkınpaşa road from Ürgüp you will pass through Cemil Village; after 2 km from the Village on your right hand side, you will see “Keşlik Monastery” signboard. Park your car in the mini parking area and walk along the gravel road for 100 m; most probably you will be welcomed by Cabir Coşkuner, monastery appointed. Starting from that moment you are not a tourist or traveler but guest of Cabir Bey. With his always smiling face he will be inviting you to have a rest in his oasis under the trees and then offering you tea, steeped by the delicious water of fountain at the entrance of the Monastery. Once again you will be amazed by the richness of Cappadocia while you are walking around the complex with the conversation and lyrical guidance of this modern time monk, who dedicated himself to Keşlik Monastery.
Among all the endless beauties of Cappadocia, Keşlik Monastery has a special place in our hearts. What attracts us about the Monastery is not only it is interesting but also the love Cabir Bey has for it. Cabir Bey of Cemil Village is 51 years old, married with 2 children and he has spent most of his life here. The trees, on the front yard of Monastery, have been planted by him together with his father during his childhood. On a voluntary base Cabir Bey takes the responsibility of caring and protecting the trees and the area. He spends most of his time on this yard. He can speak French fluently but also he gives information in English and Italian. As you read the guest book, you understand that every person coming from different nationalities, loved here.

Life in Monastery
Before getting know more about Keşlik Monastery, it is better to give brief information about the monastery life in Cappadocia.
Saint Basileos of Kayseri (329-379), founder of Orthodox sect, organized under monasteries the monks who have been living individually. He also set up the rules of monastery life. For this aim, Saint Basileos took the model of Pakhomios, who established monasteries with hundreds even thousands of monks in Upper Egypt during the year of 300. He made necessary changes on the model and modified it to Anatolia. Saint Basileos foreseen that the monks would gather under monasteries in smaller groups compared to the Egypt model and under a certain administration they would produce their own daily needs as well as they would do charity work. During all his life Saint Basileos fought for this issue.

Keşlik Monastery
Within the territory of Keşlik Monastery there are rock engraved structures such as two churches, refectory, holy spring, various monk rooms, winery and small chapels. The entrance of church and refectory has been renovated by cut off stone.
Arkhangelos Church is one of the most attractive structures of the monastery. On the opposite side of the entrance gate, there is a destroyed fresco of Arkhangelos in a round shape niche and because of this fresco; the Church was named like this. Today, the Church is also known as Kara Church because of its being covered by soot. The down side frescos of the Church are totally destroyed and the upper side frescoes are well protected but because of the soot can not be examined very well. On the apses, the scenes of the last supper and the entombment of Jesus can be seen together with the scenes of baptizing, visit of Virgin Mary to Elizabeth, Anastasias, Jesus’ healing the paralyzed as well as metamorphosis of Jesus.
The cafeteria with holy spring was situated on the right side in the same rock mass of the Church. Upon the holy spring, there is an interesting relief engraved on the rock where the water comes out. 
Stefanos Church was located on a separate rock mass in the Monastery complex. A short footpath reaches till this rock block. On the west side of the rock block a winery and on the north side of it a two floored chapel have been constructed. Stefanos Church was located on the south of the rock. The Church with is flat ceiling plan, is also known as Haçlı (Cross) Church because of the big crux shape on its ceiling. The crux is known as Saint Euphemia cross and made during iconoclasm period (726-843). The cross is decorated around with various flower motives.
There is an altar stone on its apses. There is a cross on the ceiling of apses and inside the cross there are martyrs figures. On the frescoes within the niches on the side walls of the Church, themes from Bible were described. On the opposite wall beside the apostles, horse or deer figures can be seen. The grave hollows on the base of the Church were interpreted as that it has been used as a grave chapel.

Note: This article has been published in Peribacası Cappadocia Culture and Publicity Magazine, May 2009 issue. It is under protection of the copyrights of the magazine. No part of this article may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by electronic, mechanical or other means without prior permission from the owner.

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Reading Reading: 8371 Eklenme Tarihi Date: 2009-06-18
Cabir Coşkuner
Cabir Coşkuner
Keşlik Monastery
Keşlik Monastery
Holy spring
Holy spring
Scene of Anastasis
Scene of Anastasis
Scene of Baptism
Scene of Baptism
Stefanos Church
Stefanos Church

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