Monasteries and churches

Monasteries Mileseva beli-andjeo

The monasteries represent an important historical and cultural inheritance of Serbia. Built between the XII and the XVII century, they have shaped not only the landscape of the orthodox Serbia, but they represent the reliable medieval architectural and painting witnesses. From Fruska Gora in the north until Kosovo in the south, these sacral monuments have been since always the guardians of the Serbian culture. For their cultural and historical importance, five monasteries were classified with the world inheritance of UNESCO: Studenica, Stari Ras, Sopocani, Djurdjevi Stupovi and Decani.

At the end of the XII century, Stefan Nemanja had succeeded to form the State centralized around Raska – now Kosmet- and had built many monasteries, Studenica the most important among them. His successors at the head of the Serbian State would, each of them, construct at least one monastery in order to show the splendour of their actions: the most famous are Zica, Gracanica Decani, Sopocani or Krusedol.

Today, these monasteries attract the tourists from all over the world who come to admire their extraordinary architecture, frescos, icons and manuscripts. During the XIII and the XIV century, the construction of these monasteries  was influenced by two schools of architecture. In South Serbia, it was the school of Raska (Studenica, Decani, Mileseva, Sopocani, Arilje), in Central Serbia the school of Morava (Ravanica, Lazarica, Ljubostinja, Kalenic).

However, the reputation of all these monasteries would not be so important in Europe without their wall decorations. The frescos and the murals, which cover walls of all of these monasteries, win you right away by the beauty and spirituality that they release. Orthodox religious painting represents one of the most important heritage richness of Serbia.

Come and discover their secrets!

 

HILANDAR

monastires hilandarHilandar is an Eastern Orthodox monastery on Mount Athos in Greece. It was founded in 1198 by the Serbs Saint Sava and his father, Emperor Stefan Nemanja (Monk Simeon) of Raška. Due to the fact that its founders are Serbs and the first monks were of the Serbian Orthodox Church it is also called “The Serbian monastery” thus it is nowadays the monastery where the Serbian orthodox monks traditionally reside. Now, Hilandar presents the greatest shrine for Serbian people.

In the 1970s, the Greek government offered power grid installation to monasteries on Mount Athos. The Holy Council refused, and since then every monastery generates its own power, which is gained mostly from renewable energy sources. During the 1980s, electrification of monastery Hilandar took place. Electricity was needed mostly for lighting and heating. In 2004, an accident happened when one of the heaters was not turned off and the old, dry wood used to build that part of monastery ignited. The fire significantly damaged Hilandar. About 40-50% of the monastery burned to the ground. It is currently undergoing restoration. Their example was followed by other Serbian feudal lords, the families of Mrnyavchevich, Brankovich, Lazarevich and others. The monastery also prospered thanks to the assistance from the tzars of Russia, starting from Ivan the Terrible down to Peter the Great, as well as the Wallachian rulers. At a later date the funds were provided by the Serbian rulers of the Obrenovich and Karadjordjevich dynasties In Chilandar, which represents the spiritual and cultural centre of the Serbian people, many valuable treasures have been collected during the eight centuries of its existence. In the altar area and treasury there are two crosses embodying fragments of the true Cross, and there are also splinters from the Crown of Thorns, and the reed of Our Lord’s Passion There is also the Royal Door curtain embroidered in gold on silk by the nun Euphemia in 1399, as well as the cup and flag of Tzar Dushan. The monastery houses the oldest and the largest Serbian library of codices, illuminated manuscripts, incunabulas, charters, chrysobulls and copperplates.Chilandar boasts the largest number of miracle-working icons, not only on Mount Athos but throughout the Christian world. The only Serbian monastery on Mount Athos now supports some thirty monks, who follow the strict rules of the Chilandar Typikon written by St Sava.

PATRIARCHATE OF PEC

patriarchate-of-pec-s-jpgThe Monastery of the Patriarchate of Pec is located at the very entrance of the Rugova gorge near Pec. The complex of the Pec churches is the spiritual seat and mausoleum of Serbian archbishops and patriarchs. The temple of the Holy Apostles was built by Archbishop Arsenije I in the third decade of the 13th century. He was also responsible for the painting of the church around 1260. Archbishop Nikodim built the temple of St. Dimitrije next to the northern side of the church of Holy Apostles between 1321 and 1324, while Archbishop Danilo II built the churches dedicated to Virgin Odigitrija and St. Nikola on its southern side. He also built the monumental parvis in the shape of a magnificent open porch in front of the western facades of the churches of St. Dimitrije, Holy Apostles and Holy Virgin Odigitrija. At the time of Patriarch Makarije, the elegant openings with dual arcades were walled up. An entire history of the styles of medieval wall painting can be seen on the walls of the Pec churches. The church of the Holy Apostles was also decorated around 1300, then around 1350 and 1375 and twice in the 17th century. The church of St. Dimitrije was painted for the first time at the time of Patriarch Joakinije, around 1345, and the new layer of frescoes was painted by Georgije Mitrofanovic around 1619-1620. The church of Holy Virgin Odigitrija was painted before 1337, while its parvis was painted in the 14th and 16th centuries. The church of St. Nikola was painted by painter Radul in 1673/1674.

DECANI

decani-sOne of the jewels of the Serbian medieval civilization, the monastery Visoki Decani (High Decani) is located at the foot of the Prokletije Mountains, in the valley of the river Bistrica. The construction of the church, dedicated to Christ the Pantocrator started in 1327. as the foundation of King Stefan Uros III Nemanjic, later called Decanski. The architect was Vita, a friar from Kotor, while the “building and fortifying” of the church were supervised by Archbishop Danilo II. In 1330. King Stefan issued his famous founding charter, signed in gold, giving to the monastery rich properties. After Stefan’s death the construction was continued by his son Dusan, who completed the monastery in 1335. An adjacent hospital was built too. The alongside building works were done by protomaster George and his brothers. Painting started soon after finishing the building and lasted until 1350.

Visoki Decani Monastery is a major Serbian Orthodox monastery, situated in Kosovo & Metohija, 12 km south from the town of Pec. Its cathedral is the biggest medieval church in the Balkans which contains the largest preserved monument of Byzantine fresco-painting.  

The monastery was established in a chestnut grove by king Stefan Decanski in 1327. Its original founding charter is dated to 1330, however. Next year the king died and was buried at the monastery, which henceforth became his popular shrine. The construction activities were continued by his son Stefan Dusan until 1335, but the wall-painting was not completed until 1350.

GRACANICA

gracanica-sThe Gracanica monastery, near Lipljan in Kosovo, is one of the last monumental foundations of King Milutin Nemanjic. Built on the ruins of the former Church of the Holy Virgin, the monastery, finished in 1321, was dedicated to the Dormition of the Holy Virgin. On the southern wall of the chapel is written the king’s charter, including the following words: “I have seen the ruins and the decay of the Holy Virgin’s temple of Gracanica, the bishopric of Lipljan, so I have built it from the ground and painted and decorated it both within and without”. The focal paintings of Gracanica include the Festival Cycle, the Passion and the miracles of Christ. Inside the narthex, there are portraits of the founders: King Milutin and Queen Symonida, Queen Helen d’Anjou (king’s mother) as a nun and King Milutin as a monk. Of particular importance is the Nemanjich dynasty genealogy, the first ever painted, which starts with Stefan Nemanja and ends with Milutin. Also in the narthex, there is an exhaustive illustration of the Last Judgment. Of the former monastic compound, only the church has survived. The narthex and the tower were added a few decades later, in order to protect the frescoes on the west facade. The narthex was heavily damaged by the Turks several times between 1379-1383, when the tower was burned and the fire devoured a rich collection of manuscripts and other precious objects. The narthex was reconstructed in 1383. Again, Gracanica suffered damages at the time of the Kosovo battle (1389). The paintings of Gracanica rank highest among the achievements of Milutin’s period, characterized by influences of the Byzantine splendiferous and luxurious style called the Paleologan Renaissance. In terms of style, they are also related to the art of the other of Milutin’s foundations.

LJUBOSTINJA

Ljubostinja is a Serb Orthodox monastery near Trstenik, Serbia. It was founded by Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović in 1388, just before the Battle of Kosovo. 

Architecturally, the church, dedicated to the Dormition of the Holy Virgin, belongs to the Morava School. Its ground plan has the form of a trefoil with a dome resting of four free-standing pillars.

ljubostinja-s The church was painted just before the Kosovo battle. The original frescoes have survived only on pendetives, in the lower register of the drum and partially elsewhere. Especially interesting are the representations of the Old Testament prophets who vouch for the emergence of Christ. Invited by princess Milica, painter Makarije of Zrze came to Ljubostinja in 1403, and carried out all the frescoes in the church. He repainted the frescoes in the dome, only ten years old, and wrote out his name on the arch above the door between the narthex and the nave. The family of Prince Lazar is portrayed on the west wall of the narthex. The legends says that the monastery was built on a site where Princess Milica met Prince Lazar for the first time; and that had happened on the day of St Archdeacon Stefan to whom the earlier chapel on the same place had been dedicated. The construction of this foundation of Princess Milica and Prince Lazar started in 1388-89. After the battle of Kosovo, when Lazar was killed, Milica became a nun, as many widows of the Serbian soldiers did the same.

MANASIJA

manasija-sManasija, also known as Resava (Serbian Cyrillic: Ресава), is a Serb Orthodox monastery near Despotovac, Serbia, founded by Despot Stefan Lazarević between 1407 and 1418. It is one of the most significant monuments of medieval Serbian culture and it belongs to the “Morava school”. Immediately following its foundation, the monastery became the cultural centre of the Serbian Despotate. Its Resava school was well known for its manuscripts and translations throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, even after the fall of the Despotate to the Ottoman Turks. The monastery complex consists of:  

• the church
• the refectory, placed to the south of the church
• the fortress with 11 towers, the largest of which is the keep, also known as the Despot’s Tower (to the north of the church).

During the five centuries of Ottoman rule, the monastery was abandoned and wrecked several times. The lead roof was removed from the church, and so for over a century the frescoes inside were subject to damage by rainfall. As a result, about two-thirds of them were irremediably lost. In the 18th century, the western part of the church – the narthex – was heavily damaged in an explosion and was later rebuilt. The mosaic floor of that part of the church was fortunately preserved. Manasija is a slavic name for Manasseh of Judah. Manasseh of Judah was the king of Judah who reinstated pagan worship in the Jerusalem temple. A later tradition recorded in Chronicles tells that Manasseh was taken captive to Babylon by the king of Assyria. The severity of Manasseh’s imprisonment brought him to repentance. According to the Biblical account, God heard his cry, and he was restored to his kingdom (2 Chr. 33:11-13). He abandoned his idolatrous ways, and enjoined the people to worship Yahweh. Despot Stefan Lazarević was known as “the second Manasseh” among his contemporaries. Similary to Manasseh, Stefan gave up the tradition and became a loyal islamic vassal in his twenties, but later he turned into strong and independent christian ruler. An archaeological team led by Marin Brmbolic located the remains of Despot Stefan Lazarević in the southwestern part of the monastery floor. DNA comparison with the remains of his father, Knez Lazar, confirmed that the remains belong to two closely related individuals.

MILESEVA

mileseva-sThe Mileseva monastery was founded between 1234 and 1236 by Serbian King Vladislav. The monastery is situated in a valley of the Mileseva river, near Prijepolje. Mileseva is one of the most important Serbian sanctuaries and spiritual centers. In 1236, Vladislav moved the relics of his uncle Saint Sava from Trnovo in Bulgaria, where he died, to Mileseva. The second important event took place in 1377, when the coronation of Tvrtko I as the King of Serbia and Bosnia took place in Mileseva. In the fifteenth century, the monastery was the seat of the Metropolitan Bishopric of Dabar and Bosnia. In 1459, the Turks set the monastery on fire, but it was soon restored. In the first half of the sixteenth century, the first service books were illuminated in Mileseva. One of the oldest schools also existed in the monastery. In the middle of the century, during the time of Patriarch Makarije (the Serbian Patriarchy was restored in 1557), the monastery was thoroughly renovated. Its exoternal narthex was built and painted, and probably cut through the wall between the narthex and the nave. In later times, after several Turkish demolitions, a new restoration was undertaken in 1863, when the church considerably changed in appearance.The church of the Holy Ascension was erected in 1234/5 in the style of the Raška School. The inside of the church was definitely the highlight of the visit. A nun lit candles on top of coffin over the gravesite of St. Sava. On the opposite wall was the coffin of a recently canonized individual. In the domes and around other places, frescoes had large pieces missing. The frescoes of King Vladislav and St. Sava were painted during their lifetimes and are seen as some of the best (and accurate) portraits of the 13th century. The church’s most famous fresco is the White Angel, now regarded as a symbol of Serbia and recently adopted as an emblem for the United Nations. Around the angel are other portions of the Easter story and Resurrection. Remnants of a fresco once covering the scene leads one to speculate that angel with its enigmatic smile might not be with us today if it were not for such preservation.

RAVANICA

ravanica-sBuilt between in 1370. and 1380s, Ravanica is the famous Prince Lazar’s foundation, where he was buried after his death in the Kosovo battle. Since then, Ravanica has been a pilgrim’s destination and an important center of cultural activities and the Serbian people’s assemblies. The monastery has been assaulted and injured by the Turks several times, in 1386, 1398. and 1436. In the great war after the second siege of Vienna a number of monks got killed and the rest of them, in 1690, took the relics of the sainted Prince Lazar withdrawing, in front of the Turkish offensive. Only in 1717. the only survived among the monks, Teacher Stefan came back in Ravanica and found the monastery looted and deserted. With the help of the local inhabitants he restored the monastery and built a new narthex. The monastery suffered repeated assaults during the Serbian revolution, at the beginnings of the XIX c. The new restoration took place in the mid of the XIXth century. During the World War II Germans violated and damaged the monastery once more time, and detained, tortured and killed its archimandrite Makarije on February 24. 1943. The Ravanica church is the first monument of the Morava School of the Serbian medieval art. Its ground plan has the form of an enlarged trefoil with a nine-sided dome in the middle and smaller four octagonal domes above the corner bays. There are 62 window lights. The church was built in alternate courses of single-line stone and three-line bricks. Valuable ceramic decoration makes use of geometrical patterns, floral motifs, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic shapes.

STUDENICA

studenica-sThe monastery Studenica, dedicated to the Presentation of the Holy Virgin, is the mother-church of all Serbian temples. It was constructed over a quite long period. The first stage works were completed by the spring of 1196, when Stefan Nemanja abandoned his throne and settled in the monastery’s foundation. When he later left for Hilandar, his son and successor Stefan took over the care of Studenica. Nemanja died in Hilandar in 1299. Nemanja’s third son Sava, after reconciling his brothers Stefan and Vukan, moved Stefan’s relics to Studenica. Under guardianship of Sava, Studenica became the political, cultural and spiritual center of medieval Serbia. Among his other endeavors, Sava composed a Typik, the rule-book where he described St. Simon’s life, leaving evidence of the spiritual and monastic life of his time. Studenica enjoyed continual care by the members of the Nemanjic dynasty. King Radoslav added to the church a splendid narthex in 1235. King Milutin built a small but lovely church dedicated to saints Joachim and Anna. Since the fall of the last of the medieval Serbian states in 1459, the Turks often assaulted the monastery. The first of the significant restorations of the damage took place in 1569, when the frescoes in the Church of the Presentation were repainted. In the early seventeenth century, an earthquake and a fire befell the monastery, and historical documents and a significant part of the artistic heritage were destroyed and lost forever. The Virgin’s Church is a domed single-nave basilica. At its eastern end there is a three-sided apse, while an extended narthex faces west; there are also vestibules on the north and the south. In the 1230s, a large exonarthex was added. The facades were built with slabs of white marble; inside, the church is revetted with tufa blocks. Externally, the Church harmoniously reconciles two architectural styles, the Romanesque and the Byzantine. The blending of these two styles eventually produced a particular style of architecture known as the Raska School. Simultaneously with the construction of the church, it would have been necessary to raise walls and towers for the protection of the monastic community. All this must have been completed in the main by the spring of 1196, when Nemanja himself came to live as a monk in his foundation.

SOPOCANI

sopocani-sThe Sopoćani Monastery, a foundation of King Uros I, was built in the second half of the 13th century, near the source of the river Raška in the region of Ras, the centre of the Serbian medieval state. The most certain year of building is 1265. The church is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The completion of the painting of the main parts of the church can be indirectly dated to between 1263 and 1270. Archbishop Sabbas II, who became the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1263, is represented in the procession of archbishops in the altar of the Sopoćani church. Sopoćani frescoes are considered by many experts on Orthodox Christian art as the most beautiful frescoes belonging to the Serbian Orthodox Church. In the 16th century the monks had to leave the monastery on several occasions because of the Turkish threat, but they always returned to it. During one of these departures they took the coffin with the body of King Steven the First-Crowned to the Monastery of Crna Reka (Black River) in Kosovo. The church lost its roof, and the outer narthex was partly demolished. The end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century was a period of great prosperity for Sopoćani. All damages were repaired at that time. The Turks burnt and demolished the monastery in 1689 and carried off the lead from the church roof. After this tragedy the monks did not return to it, and it remained deserted for over two hundred years, until the 20th century. The rare travelers who visited it in the 18th and 19th centuries recorded that it lay in ruins. The church slowly decayed: its vaults caved in, its dome fell down, and the remains of the surrounding buildings were covered with rubble and earth.

ZICA

zica-sŽiča is a Serb Orthodox monastery near Kraljevo, Serbia. The monastery, together with the Church of the Holy Dormition, was built by the first King of Serbia, Stefan the First-Crowned. It was destroyed by the end of 13th century, but was rebuilt by King Stefan Milutin at the beginning of the 14th century. The foundation of the Serbian King Stefan Nemanjic, the First-Crowned, monastery Zica has been built between 1208 and 1230. In 1219 Zica became the first seat of the Serbian Archbishopic. The church, dedicated to the Ascension of Our Lord, displays the features of the Raska school. The ground plan is shaped as a spacious nave with a large apse at its eastern end. The central space is domed. The church was built of stone and brick. Architecturally, the Byzantine spirit prevails. There are three layers of painting, each being a separate entity. The earliest frescoes were painted immediately after the first archbishop Sava’s return from Nicaea (1219), but only in the choir portions of these have been preserved. Towards the end of 13th century Zica was burned and consequently deserted. Renovation was carried out during the time of Archbishops Jevstatije II (1292-1309), and Nikodim (1317-1337), when the refectory was adorned with frescoes, the church covered with a leaden roof, and a tower erected. The new frescoes were painted during the reign of King Milutin, but they have suffered serious damage, too. Fragments have survived on the east wall of the passage beneath the tower (composition of King Stefan and his son Radoslav), in the narthex, nave and side-chapels.

OSTROG (Montenegro)

ostrog-1-sThe Monastery of Ostrog is a monastery of the Serb Orthodox Church placed against an almost vertical background, high up in the large rock of Ostroška Greda. It is dedicated to Saint Basil of Ostrog.

ostrog-s The Monastery was founded by Vasilije, the Metropolitan Bishop of Herzegovina in the 17th century. He died there in 1671 and some years later he was sainted and proclaimed a miracle-worker. His body is enshrined in a reliquary kept in the cave-church dedicated to the Presentation of the Mother of God to the Temple. The present-day look was given to the Monastery in 1923-1926, after a fire which had destroyed the major part of the complex. Fortunately, the two little cave-churches were spared and they make the essential value of the whole monument. The frescoes in the Church of the Presentation were made towards the end of the 17th century. The other church, dedicated to the Holy Cross, is placed within a cave on the upper level of the monastery and was painted by master Radul, who successfully coped with the natural shapes of the cave and laid the frescoes immediately on the surface of the rock and the south wall. Around the church are the monastic residences, which together with the church building and the beautiful scenery make this monument an agreeable place to stay in. It represents the meeting place of all three confessions: the Orthodox, the Catholics and the Muslims, because it is believed that the enshrined body of Saint Basil of Ostrog makes miracles work. According to the stories of pilgrims, by praying by his body, many have been cured and helped in lessening the difficulties in their lives.

 
MONASTERIES IN FRUSKA GORA
 
Sixteen orthodox monasteries have been united in a space 40 km long, so to say, there has been an impressive cultural offer. This mixture of the Byzantine style and the baroque architecture of the monastery ensemble well known in Serbia, would at the same time be the place of the riches of the churches, the peaceful and the greenish place and the reception by the priests. There has been here the tradition of the reception of the foreigners with the greatest respect, so that the priest would not hesitate to invite you to the table after a short discussion, to taste a glass of dry sljivovica.
All monasteries had been constructed between XV and XVI centuries in a mountain massive, and the monks had found a protection from the Turkish violence. The best known have been Grgeteg, Hopovo, Jazak, Krusedol and Velika Remeta. In this period Srem belonged to the kings of Hungary who had ceded to Stefan Lazarevic, then to Djurdje Brankovic the fortified places. About the middle of XV century the despot Brankovic had received the authorisation by the pope Nicholas V to be the founder of nine monasteries in the province of Srem. This designated the beginning of the development of monasteries of Fruska Gora.

KOVILJ

kovilj-sAccording to the legend, the monastery of Kovilj was founded by the first Serbian archbishop, Saint Sava, in the 13th century, originally the Prince Rastko Nemanjic, son of the Serbian ruler and founder of the Serbian medieval state Stefan Nemanja and brother of Stefan Prvovencani, the Serbian king. He is the most important Saint in the Serbian Orthodox Church.
In his youth (around 1192 AD) he ran away from home to join the orthodox monastic colony on Mount Athos and was given the name Sava. He first travelled to a Russian monastery and then moved to the Greek Monastery of Vatopedi. At the end of 1197, his father, King Stefan Nemanja, joined him. In 1198, they together moved to and restored the abandoned monastery of Hilandar, which was at that time the centre of Serbian Christian monastic life. He travelled by Templar ships from Bari, Italy, to Israel and Egypt as well as Syria. In Egypt, there are still monasteries that were built by him. We should note that the small building where it is reported that Jesus had his Last Supper, is Serbian property, St. Sava buying this building with the blessing of the Jerusalem Patriarch. This may explain why at Kovilj, a painter (believed to be an unnamed student of Da Vinci) paints on the central altar the copy of Leonardo’s Last Supper.
 

 

BEOCIN

beocin-sThe monastery church is dedicated to the Assumption of Christ. The time of founding is unknown. It is first mentioned in Turkish records dated 1566-67, when its church was a small single-nave building modeled under the influence of traditional architecture. The monastery was damaged and deserted in the Austrian-Turkish wars and restored in 1699, by the refugee-monks from Raca, who also built a temporary wooden church in 1708. The present large church was built from 1732 to 1740 and the bell-tower with a porch in front of the West facade was completed in 1762. The monks’ quarters, built between 1728 and 1771 are located to the South and West of the church. An extensive reconstruction of the monastery complex was carried out in 1893, and some minor changes were made in 1921. The iconostasis of the monastery church was made by Dimitrije Bacevic Janko Halkozovic and Teodor Kracun, in the 1750’s and 1760’s. Only one composition of the wall painting survived. It was painted by Janko Halkozovic in 1782. Simultaneously with the construction of the church, the previous chapel was built and fitted with an iconostasis in 1739. The present chapel was built in 1905, according to the design by Vladimir Nikolic. During World War II, the monastery was looted while the buildings were left intact.

BESENEVO

besenevo-sThe monastery church was dedicated to the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel. Besenovo was devastated in World War II, and the remains were taken apart immediately after the war. According to the legend the monastery of Besenovo was founded by Serbian king Dragutin at the end of the 13th century. Other sources relate the founding of the monastery to the mid-l5th century, depending on the report made by an amalgamated commission while inspecting the monasteries of Srem in 1772. The first evidence of the existence of Besenovo is found in the earliest Turkish census of Srem from 1546. On the basis of the census of 1753, in which the monastery church is described in detail, it is known that the structure was old and that it was made of brick, but the date of building is not mentioned. The first reliable information about the chapel in the bell-tower dedicated to St. Kerikos and Julita, is from 1783. The monastery church had a cruciform plan with a cupola and narthex and there was only one entrance to the church, on the West side. The monastery churchyard was enclosed on three sides by the two-story monks’ quarters. From the monastery church that was destroyed in a bombardment, in 1944, only the parts of the Iconostasis painted by Stevan Aleksic, in 1909, were preserved. The Monastery has not been renovated.

 

VELIKA REMETA

velika-remeta-1-sThe monastery church is dedicated to St. Dimitri. Traditionally, it is linked to the king Dragutin, but more probably founded at the and of the 15th, or in the first decades of the 16th century. Under the name of Velika Remeta, it was mentioned in 1562. The monastery church was built as a single-nave building with a dome and exonatrhex, with a baroque bell-tower added in 1735. Both, the exterior and interior were painted in 1567-68. Some fragments are preserved in the niches of the facade and in the altar. The monks’ quarters surrounding the church on four sides underwent an adaptation which brought them into accord with baroque bell-tower. The paintings on the iconostasis. Which was dismantled during World War II have not been studied extensively. The iconostasis consisted of a set of icons varying in age, put together in 1850. The most important icons from the main tier were done in 1687. After the damage caused to Velika Remeta in World War II, it was renovated on two occasions.

RAVANICA VRDNIK

ravanica-vrdnik-sThe monastery church is dedicated to the Ascension. The exact time of its founding is unknown. The records from the first half of the 18th Century indicate that the church was built during the time of Metropolitan Serafim, in the second half of the l6th Century. The first reliable records about the monastery date from 1566-69. In the renovation of Vrdnik, carried out by the monks who fled from Ravanica, the monastery in Serbia, in 1697, the old late medieval stone church with a trefoil plan with wooden bell-tower was reconstructed. Since that time the monastery has also been called Ravanica, and the relics of prince Lazar were treasured in it till 1990. The present church was built between 1801 and 1811. The iconostasis of the old church was painted by Stanoje Popovic in 1743. Dimitrije Avramovic painted the new iconostasis and the wall paintings in 1853. The three-sided quarters were built in the first half of the 18th Century, and reconstructed at the beginning of the l9th century. World War II left the monastery undamaged, but all movable valuables were taken away. The monastery has been partly renovated.

GRGETEG

grgeteg-sThe monastery church is dedicated to St. Nicholas. According to tradition the monastery was founded by Zmaj-Ognjen Vuk in 1471. The first reliable facts are dated from 1545/46. The monastery was deserted before the Great Migration and renovated in 1708, by the metropolitan Isaija Dakovic. The old stone church was replaced by a new baroque. church around 1770. The new church was renovated between 1898 and 1901, according to designs done by Herman Bolle. The monks’ quarters from the 18th century, surrounding the church on four sides, were also reconstructed on that occasion. The old masonry iconostasis, a work by Takov Orfelin from 1774 was torn down during the reconstruction. The new iconostasis was painted by Uros Predic in 1902. During World War II, the monastery was badly damaged, and since 1953 it has been gradually reconstructed. Conservation and restoration have been under way since 1987.

DIVSA

divsa-sThe monastery church is dedicated to St. Nicholas. It is believed to have been founded by despot Jovan Brankovic in the late 15th century. The first reliable records of Turkish origin, date from the second half of the 16th century. It is assumed to have been deserted in the 17th century, while in the early 18th century it is mentioned as a possession of the monastery of Kuvezdin. The old, church was reconstructed in 1744, by the donation of Petar Jovanovic. The most extensive changes in the Church were executed by 1762-64, when a new exonarthex with a bell-tower, topped with a dome, was built by the donation of a hermit named Matej. Under the influence of the Baroque, the modest monastery cells were thoroughly reconstructed. The iconostasis of the renovated church was painted by Teodor Stefanov Gologlavac in 1754. The monastery was temporarily deserted from World War I till 1922. It was then reconstructed, to be severely damaged during World War II. Its iconostasis was dismantled, taken away and only partly preserved. Since 1980 the monastery has been once again inhabited and reconstructed.

JAZAK

jazak-sThe monastery church is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The monastery was founded in 1736, by a group of donors citizens of Novi Sad, Baja, Osijek, Sid and Sasinci. The construction of the church traditionally designed, lasted from 1736 to 1758. but, as early as 1741, it was ready to receive the brethren. Baroque bell-tower was added onto the West side and completed in 1803. The monks’ quarters, surrounding the church on three sides, were built between 1736 and 1761. The icons on the baroque iconostasis were painted by Dimitrije Bacevic in 1769. The monastery underwent the general reconstruction between 1926 and 1930. During World War II the monks’ quarters were damaged, while the church remained intact. The monastery has been partly reconstructed.

KRUSEDOL

krusedol-sThe monastery church is dedicated to the Annunciation. The monastery was founded between 1509 and 1516, by Bishop Maksim and his mother, Angelina, who were supported by Walachian Duke Jovan Njagoja Basaraba. During the final retreat of the Turks from Srem, in 1716, the monastery was damaged and the church burnt down. The renovation started in 1721, and was completed in the late 1760s. In 1726, a baroque bell-tower was added on to the West wing of the monks’ quarters and between 1742 and 1750, the church underwent certain adaptations which did not significantly change its general original appearance. The monks’ quartets were reconstructed and expanded in the same period. The church was originally decorated with fresco paintings in the 16th century. Its interior was covered with new oil wall paintings between 1750 and 1756, done by Jov Vasilijevic and Stefan Tenecki. On the West facade, there is a composition of the “Last judgment” from the end of the 17th century. The iconostasis was composed of icons differing in style and time of creation.

KUVEZDIN

kuvezdin-2-skuvezdin-1-sThe monastery church was dedicated to St. Sava and St. Simeon. Traditionally, its foundation is ascribed to Stefan Stiljanovic. The first reliable records of it are dated 1566-69. The original cruciform church with two domes, built by master builders from the Adriatic coast, was replaced in 1816 by a new classicist one with the bell-tower built in advance, in 1803. The three-sided monks’ quarters, built in the 18th Century, acquired their final appearance in 1810. The iconostasis of the old monastery church made by Janko Halkozovic in 1772, was given away to the church in Opatovac, in the first half of the 19th century. The iconostasis and murals in the new church were done by Pavle Simic, in 1853. The baroque chapel in the monastery cemetery and the monastery church were ruined and devastated during World War II.

 

mala-remeta-sMALA REMETA

The monastery church was dedicated to the Shroud of the Mother of God. The foundation of Mala Remeta is traditionally ascribed to the Serbian king Dragutin. The first reliable record of Mala Remeta is found in Turkish sources of 1546. In the late 17th century, the monastery was renewed by the refugee monks of the monastery of Raca. This church was replaced by the present church. The construction of the church had begun in 1739, by the artisans Teodor Kosta and Nikola Krapic Tzintzars from the Greek town of Langa, and lasted over two decades. The donor was Stanko Milinkovic from the village of Suljam. The throne icons on the iconostasis at the new church were painted by Janko Halkozovic in 1759, while the author(s) of those in the upper tiers is/are not known. The murals dated 1910 were done by Kosta Vandelovic. The humble two-story quarters were built in 1758, on the South side of the church under the patronage of Jovan Jovanovic, who was a first lieutenant in the Petrovaradin regiment. The quarters were damaged during World War II and renovated in the post-war renovation.

NOVO HOPOVO

novo-hopovo-sThe monastery church is dedicated to St. Nicholas. According to tradition, the monastery was built by the Despots of the Brankovic family. The first reliable mention of the monastery is dated 1641. The present church was built in 1576 by the contribution of a group of benefactors particularly by Lacko and Marko Jovsic, citizens of Gornji Kovin. The church of Novo Hopovo is one of the largest and architecturally most important religious buildings of its time. The Monastery complex underwent some major changes during the 18th century under the influence of the Baroque, when the bell-tower was added to the church and the monks’ quarters were built around it. In the second half of the 18th century, the old iconostasis was replaced by a high altar partition carved by Paul and Anton Rezner. The icons on this iconostasis were painted by Teodor Kracun in 1776. During World War II, the monastery was torn down, the iconostasis dismantled and damaged, while the mobile furniture was taken away. The monastery has been renovated as a whole, except the reconstruction of the bell-tower.

PRIVINA GLAVA

privina-glava-1-sprivina-glava-sThe monastery church is dedicated to the Council of the Holy Archangel Michael. According to the legends Privina Glava was founded by a man named Priva, in the 12th century. The monastery was named after him, so the tradition says. The legend also links the monastery to Jovan Brankovic and his brother, Bishop Maksim, who founded the monastery in 1496. The first documented evidence of Privina Glava is rendered by Turkish tax records of I566-67. The Monastery church is a single-dome structure with a trefoil base built between 1741 and 1760, after the model of the Novo Hopovo monastery church. The monastery residences were built on the South and partially on the East side of the church, between 1753 and 1771. The so-called zoograph icons on the old iconostasis were painted by Stanoje Popovic in 1747. The icons on the new iconostasis were painted by Andre Sartist in 1786. The murals in the central part of the church were made by Kuzman Kolaric between 1786 and 1791.

 

PETKOVICA

petkovica-sThe monastery church was dedicated to St. Petka. According the tradition, founded by the widow of Stefan Stiljanovic, Jelena. The monastery is first mentioned in Turkish documents of 1566-67. The church has a trefoil ground plan that has still been preserved, except for the wooden bell-tower, which was replaced in the mid-18th century. The fresco paintings, a good portion of which has been preserved, were finished in 1588. In the 18th century, the church was renovated several times, and in 1735 got a new iconostasis with a large carved cross. During World War II, the church was deserted and the icons carried off and lost forever. The iconostasis was destroyed and the cross moved to the Museum of Srem, in Sremska Mitrovica. The monastery has been partly renovated.

 

RAKOVAC

rakovac-sThe monastery church is dedicated to St. Cosmas and St. Damianos. According to a legend written in 1704, Rakovac is the heritage of a certain man, Raka, courtier of despot Jovan Brankovic. The legend states that Raka erected the monastery in 1498. The monastery got its name after him. The monastery was mentioned in the first Turkish census of Srem in 1546. The addition of a baroque bell-tower on to the West church facade, in 1735, entailed certain changes in the trefoil shape of the church and the whole monastery complex. The monks’ quarters acquired their final appearance in 1771, surrounding the church on three sides. The church was supposed to be painted at the beginning of the 16th century. The only preserved parts of the frescos are those in the tambour of the dome. The icons on the baroque iconostasis were done by Vasilije Ostojic in 1763. The single-nave chapel in the monastery graveyard dedicated to the Shroud of the Mother of God, built in 1751, houses the iconostasis painted by Janko Halkozovic and Vasilije Ostojic, in 1755. The monastery was severely damaged in World War II and a lot of cultural, historical, and artistic valuables were irretrievably lost. The church has been reconstructed.

STARO HOPOVO

staro-hopovo-sThe monastery church is dedicated to St. Pantelemon. According  the tradition. The monastery was founded by bishop Maksim. The reliable data about the monastery date back to 1545/46. There are no records about Staro Hopovo from the 17th century and the first half of 18th century. Not before 1751 were there records testifying to the existence of a church devoted to St. Nicholas, with walls made of wooden planks. Instead of that church, which was destroyed in an earthquake, the present one, dedicated to St. Pantelemon was built in 1752. In the new, single nave domed church, the throne icons, on the baroque iconostasis, were painted by Janko Halkozovic. During World War II, the church was damaged and the iconostasis was dismantled. The church itself underwent conservation and restoration after the World War II.

SISATOVAC

sisatovac-1sThe monastery church is dedicated to the Birth of the Mother of God. The foundation of the monastery is ascribed to the refugee monks from the Serbian monastery of Zica who tore down the original church of St. Nicholas called Remetsko, and erected on its site a new church, which was dedicated to the Virgin, and named Sisatovac. The reliable facts illustrating the life of the monastery date from the mid-l6th century. In 1543, the relics of St. Stefan Stiljanovic were brought from Siklos to the monastery. The old two-domed church, which had been built by masters from Adriatic coast, Jovan and Gaspar, was destroyed in 1778. A new, larger one, donated by the bishop Vikentije Jovanovic-Popovic was built on its site. The monks’ quarters were erected on three sides, while the fourth was closed by the church itself. The quarters acquired their present appearance at the beginning of the 19th century. The cemetery chapel was dedicated to St. Paul and St. Peter, and the chapel was built in 1750. The iconostasis and murals for the new church were made by Grigorije Davidovic-Obsic, in 1795. The monastery was destroyed during World War II. The reconstruction of the monastery is under way.

BAVANISTE

bavaniste-sThe monastery church is dedicated to The Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos. The monastery was founded at the and of the 15th. The founder is unknown. The monastery was damaged and deserted  in the Turkish wars.
The monastery was rebuilded in 1856. Since 1997 the monastery has been once again inhabited and reconstructed, including the iconostasis of the renovated church. At the Monastery are a water spring which is very healthily.

SVETE MELANIJE

svete-melanije-1-sThe Saint Melanija Monastery is a Serb Orthodox monastery located in the Banat region, in the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina. The monastery is situated in the city of Zrenjanin. It was founded in 1935 by Banatian bishop dr. Georgije Letić.

 

FENEK

fenek-sFenek monastery-nearby village Jakovo was founded, according to saga, by the members of Serbian despotic family Brankovic, probably in XV century. Today’s church was built in 1797 in baroque style and dedicated to Sveta Petka. Iconostasis in it was made by piltor Aksentije Markovic and painter Petar Radosavljevic and the wall paintings are painted by Dimitrije Petrovic.After failure of the first Serbian mutiny in the monastery stayed Karadjordje and the others mutiny leaders, and the significant role monastery Fenek had in the preparation of the second Serbian mutiny. Monastery endured great destruction in both World Wars and only recently it was reconstructed and rebuilt.

KALENIC

kalenic-2-skalenic-1-sFifty five kilometres away from Krusevac toward Trstenik, one of the most beautiful an best preserved churches in the architecture group of Morava. Kalenic is also decorated by the paintings of a great style in the Byzantine tradition. The monastery had been constructed 1415 by Bogdan, one of the courtiers of Despot Stefan Lazarevic. Abandoned in the XVII century, the monastery had been restored by Prince Milos Obrenovic 1823. 

From outside the church has been decorated by the nice sculptures distributed within the frameworks of the windows, of the doors an of the arcs. They have been done in a slight relief as if it would be a sculpture in wood. The alternation of brick and stone, another Byzantine tradition, contributes to the decoration of this holy place. The true scenes decorate the windows: hunting at the court, Samson’s struggle against immortality. The paintings are well enough preserved. On the wall in the North from narthex a composition representing the founder Bogdan, his wife Milica and before them Despot Stefan Lazarevic. In the choir of the aisle on the columns have been represented Archangels Gabriel and Michael. In the East abside in the superior zone there has been represented the cycle of the miracles of Christ. Finally, notice the portraits of the Saint Warriors in the lower part of the South an North absides. 

 

 

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