The monastery near the church, operated at full capacity during the 12th and 13th centuries as an independent abbey, under the governance of its abbot
In the mid-11th century, the priest Ivan Gaudi Grlić from Split built the church of St. Sylvester in the historical center of the settlement Poje, on the island of Biševo. He handed it over to the Benedictines from the Tremiti Islands. Church of St. Sylvester was built in the pre-Romanesque style, but its shape has changed in later centuries.
The Benedictines then moved to Bisevo and erected their monastery near the church, which operated during the 12th and 13th centuries as an independent abbey under its abbot. On the remains of the monastery, most probably during the Baroque period, a small set of stone houses with a garden was formed, which, together with the church, made a very harmonious historical unit.
In this church is preserved one of the oldest paintings of the Blessed Virgin, in Dalmatia, the work of Venetian painting from the 13th century (1220) – the Madonna from Biševo. Today it is located in the Cathedral of St. Stephen in the town of Hvar.
During the first half of the 13th century, several grants to the Bisevo monastery were recorded. In one of the grants to the monastery of St. Sylvester, is the first mention of the monastery of St. Nicholas in Komiža, being then only a subsidiary of the Bisevo Abbey.
In the second half of the 13th century, because of the danger of the pirates, the monks moved their seat/residence to Vis, to the monastery of St. Nicholas. By the charter of Pope Callixtus III, from 1458, the island of Biševo is donated to Toma Tommasini, the Bishop of Hvar. It’s only in 1890, when land estates on the island of Bisevo were bought up by the local farmers.
Nowadays, once a year, on St. Sylvester’s Day, which is the last day of the year, the Holy Mass is celebrated in the church, followed by a local gathering and an occasional feast.
Location: From Komiža to Biševo Island during the season, daily excursion boats operate. The ride takes 15 minutes.