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Saturday, 24 February 2018

Patriarchate of Pec

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patriarchate-of-pecPatriarchate of Peć Monastery, is a group of churches near Peć, near river Pećka Bistrica, at the entrance to the Rugovska gorge. PećPatriarchate is one of the major monuments of Serbian past. It is the seat of Serbian archbishops and patriarchs for centuries.

Since its foundation in the 13th century, the Patriarchate is a gathering place of learned theologians, excellent writers and gifted artists and all those left evidence of their zeal in it. Therefore, it is now not only old capital of Serbian churches, but also a place where its kept important artistic legacy.
UNESCO declared the Patriarchate of Peć monastery world cultural heritage on 13th July 2006.
In the monastery there are four churches built side by side, so that today they made a single building. The oldest church of Sv. Apostles, was built in the third decade of the 13th century. A patron was the second Serbian Archbishop Arsenije I, who transferred the seat of the archbishopric here, which by that time was in the Žiča. Single-nave building with a cupola, large semi-circular altar space and elongated rectangular space, reminiscent of the architectural design of the monastery Žiča.

In the beginning of the 14th century, in the span of ten years, on the both sides of the old church were built new churches. On the north side Church of St. Demetrius and on the south Church of the Virgin, with it a small church of St. Nicholas. On the west side was built in the narthex. St. Demetrius is in the shape of inscribed cross, with a dome, which relies on the corner pilasters and stone facades enlivened by alternation of stone and bricks. Church of St. Virgin is architecturally close to the church of St. Demetrius, and a small church of St. Nicholas has a simple architecture.
The whole history of medieval wall painting styles can be seen on the walls of churches. The oldest frescoes are located in the dome of the church of St. Apostles (13th century). Most of the frescoes in the church of St. Demetrius were painted by painter Jovan (John) whose work is characterized by displaying a penchant for detail. “Girl with a jug” in the image of the Virgin Birth, in the sanctuary, is known for its classical beauty. The frescoes in the narthex were painted in several gushes of 14th to 18th century. Next to the entrance is a painted family tree of Nemanjić dynasty.
In the church of St. Demetrius is located monastery treasury, with numerous icons, manuscript books and goldsmith handworks. Icons comes from Peć iconography workshop, which was particularly active in the second half of the 16th century. Inside the church are preserved marble sarcophaguses with the relics of Peć’s archbishops and patriarchs, who, because of sculptural decoration, are the valuable works of art.
At the state assembly in Skopje, on the 9th April 1346, was officially proclaimed Serbian Patriarch until then - Archbishop of Peć. That was former Logothete (state secretary)of king Dušan, Joanikije the 2nd. Seven days after the declaration of the Patriarchate, on the Easter of 16th April 1346, Bulgarian Patriarch Simeon, the new Patriarch of Peć Joanikije and the Ohrid Archbishop Nicholas, in the presence of the whole council, crowned king Dušan as the Emperor of Serbs and Greeks.
On the decline of Serbian state, parallel declined independence and autonomy. All the areas of the Peć Patriarchate, which gradually were conquered by Turks, were taken from its custody, and subjected to the jurisdiction of the Ohrid Archbishopric, whose archbishop lived under Turkish rule, by the end of the 14th century. Already in the first Turkish burglaries in the area of Peć Patriarchate, were burned and looted many monasteries and churches, especially in the cities and near main roads. When the Turks finally conquered all the territory of Peć patriarchate, then gradually more and more and more beautiful churches and monasteries in the cities turned into mosques or destroyed, and the material of the ruins was used for building mosques, bridges, inns and other public buildings.
Today, the Peć Patriarchate is under the protection of international forces, KFOR, and is a frequent target of Albanian attacks.