March 5, 2009

Sopocani Manastir

While traveling around the Raska Region I visited some of the most meaningful Serbian Sacral Buildings: like Djurdjevi Stupovi Manastir (look here), Crkva Svetog Petra (look here) and here Sopocani Manastir.

Sopocani Monastery (Сопоћани) the foundation of King Stefan Uroš I of Serbia was built in the second half of the 13th century. It is situated in the valley of the Raska river, in the ancient region of Ras - the centre of the medieval Serbian state. The monastery church is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. In the Middle Ages it was a thriving monastery with more than a hundred monks. The monastic compound is still encircled by a thick wall. The church also served as a royal mausoleum. After the battle of Kosovo Sopocani monastery was burned by Turks. Even the church was seriously damaged. Reconstruction ensued in the 15th century and by the end of 16th and the beginning of 17th century monastic life in Sopocani was flourishing again. Finally, during one raids in 1689 the Ottoman Turks set fire to the monastery and carried off the lead from the church roof. The brotherhood escaped with some important relics to Kosovo (one of them the coffin with the remains of King Stefan Prvovencani) - but did not return to Sopoćani; it remained deserted for over two hundred years, until the 20th century. 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.
After a period of 30 years when the monastery served as a convent it was renewed in 1996 by Bishop Artemy who brought a young brotherhood to Sopocani. This new brotherhood is now actively working on reconstruction and the spiritual rebirth of this important medieval shrine.

Here an interesting link where you can see pictures of the wonderful frescos in the interior.

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