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Orthodox icons and Islamic prayer rugs adorn this shared sacred space in Macedonia



Today we visit a secret sacred shrine holy to both Christians and Muslims in a small town, Makedonski Brod, in south-western Macedonia. It's called Sveti Nikola/Hadir Baba Tekke, and it is a place, like El Ghriba and Mahakala Mandir that has a multireligious heritage and legacy that has formed the shared space it is today.


First built as a church in the 14th century, rebuilt by a Muslim bey in the 18th century, and today led by an Orthodox Christian priest, this aged small shrine is marked on the exterior simply by a wooden cross. But inside one finds an array of Orthodox Christian icons and portraits of Jesus Christ adorning the walls surrounding Islamic prayer rugs and a special stone said to be from the tomb of a Bektashi Sufi Muslim saint.

Christians and Muslims have shared this space for years and also annually celebrate the festival of Saint George by going to the shrine together, praying, and sharing a meal from the "table of love".


They model a faithful co-existence that is less seen around the US, where shared spaces more commonly take the form of a "time-share", or separate spaces on a "campus", rather than a fully integrated multireligious space.


Several such integrated spaces exist around the world and may open up new possibilities and new openings for how religions can share space.












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