New Gračanica Monastery
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|Orthodoxy in the Americas|
New Gračanica (Serbian: Манастир Нoва Грачаница, Manastir Nova Gračanica) is a Serbian Orthodox monastery complex is located in Third Lake, Illinois, USA, a suburb of Chicago. The complex houses a scaled up replica of the Gračanica monastery in Kosovo. It is a part of the Diocese of New Gracanica - Midwestern America.
Built on land that the Most Holy Mother of God Serbian Association purchased in 1977, New Gračanica Church and the main building on its grounds dedicated to the feast of the "Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God" were completed and consecrated in 1984.
It is an architectural replica of the original Gračanica in Kosovo that is found on UNESCO's World Heritage List, but built in a scale eighteen percent larger than the original. New Gračanica has detail such as hand-carved wooden entrance doors depicting twenty-three monasteries and churches from various regions of Serbia.
In 1995 famed Polish-American artist Fr. Theodore Jurewicz was commissioned to paint the entire church. Done over the span of three years, Fr. Theodore is held to be one of the most celebrated icon painters in North America today. Painted in a Byzantine style it features richly colored designs and religious scenes covering the walls, vaults, pillars and dome of the church. The frescoes painted by Fr. Theodore like other contemporary icon painters are done in acrylics on dry plaster.
Sacred Arts Festival
The Sacred Arts Festival is an annual event held on the first Saturday in October since 2003. Most of the festival is centered on the main lawn in front of the Church and Administration building, with other activities taking place in the picnic area, hall, and playground. Featuring Orthodox artists of different ethnic backgrounds, the festival has lectures, booths and exhibits explaining icons, mosaics, woodcrafts, textiles, photography and crafts as well as demonstration of icon painting and candlemaking. There are also church music performances featuring choirs using the Byzantine Chant which culminates in the evening with a pan-Orthodox Vesper service. Sponsored by Faith Net, it attracts visitors from Wisconsin and Indiana in addition to visitors from the Chicago Metropolitan Area.
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