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Saturday, 24 February 2018

Monastery Gradac

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monastery-gradacGradac monastery lies on the elevated plateau above the river Gradac, at the edge of the forested slopes of mountain Golija. It is located west of the medieval fortress Brvenik. The exact year of construction of the monastery is not known. It is believed that it is from the last quarter of the XIII century. Monastery is legacy of Serbian queen, Jelena (Helen) of Anjou. It was built in the style of the Raska school.

After taking the throne by the Serbian king Dragutin, holy queen Jelena get from king the part of the kingdom which she governed by the end of her life. Archbishop Daniel described the virtues and merits of the holy Queen acquiring in the Orthodox Church. "Sharp word, a gentle nature, life without blemish, in command meek ... big and small, rich and poor, righteous and sinners, sick and healthy, each of them equally respect ..." She died on 8 February 1314 in old age. Duriing a great cold her body was passed in Gradac and buried.

helen-of-anjouThree years after the funeral Jelena apeared in a dream of one monk from Gradac, with the wish that her body be unburied. The opening ceremony of the tomb was made in the presence of Bishop Paul and Council of her country and her body was found whole, not roten. As this was proof that the Lord blessed Jelena by great grace, it was excavated from the tomb and laid in a specially made coffin which was placed in front of the altar in front of the icon of Christ, where it was located to the beginning of the seventeenth century, when monks leaving the monastery before the Turkish invasion , took the relics of the saint. 

The political situation in the Orthodox countries of the Mediterranean have contributed that the thirteenth century Serbia is the only true heir of Byzantine art. Painters have come from the most famous artistic workshops of Constantinople and Thessaloniki, and working for the Serbian rulers and church dignitaries were made frescoes of the highest artistic range. Gradac frescoes were finished around 1275 year, and are only partially preserved.