Patriarchate of Peć

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This article is about the monastery and historical seat of the Serbian Church. It is not to be confused with Serbian Orthodox Church.
Monastery of the Patriarchate of Peć
Манастир Пећка патријаршија / Manastir Pećka patrijaršija
Patriarchate of Peć 2010.JPG
The Church complex of the Monastery of Peć
Monastery information
Order Serbian Orthodox
Established 13th century
Diocese Eparchy of Raška and Prizren
Controlled churches
  • Church of the Apostles
  • Church of St. Demetrius
  • Church of the Virgin Hodegetria
  • Church of St. Nicholas
Founder(s) Archbishop Sava, Archbishop Arsenije I
Important associated figures Archbishops Sava, Arsenije I, Nikodim I, Danilo II
Style Serbo-Byzantine
Location Near Peć, Kosovo[a]
Coordinates 42°39′40″N 20°15′58″E / 42.661°N 20.266°E / 42.661; 20.266Coordinates: 42°39′40″N 20°15′58″E / 42.661°N 20.266°E / 42.661; 20.266
Public access Yes
Official name Medieval Monuments in Kosovo
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iii, iv
Designated 2004 (28th session)
Reference no. 724
Region Europe and North America
State party Serbia
Extensions 2006
Type Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance
Designated 1947
Reference no. СК 1370

The Monastery of the Patriarchate of Peć (Serbian: Манастир Пећка патријаршија / Manastir Pećka patrijaršija, pronounced [pɛ̂ːt͡ɕkaː patrijǎ(ː)rʃija]) is a Serbian Orthodox monastery located near the city of Peć, in Kosovo.[a] The complex of churches, built in the 13th and 14th centuries, is the spiritual seat and mausoleum of the Serbian archbishops and Serbian Patriarchs. It is situated by the Peć Bistrica, at the entrance of the Rugova Canyon. It is part of the "Medieval Monuments in Kosovo", a combined World Heritage Site along with three other Orthodox monuments.


The monastery complex is located near Peć, in the Metohija region. It is situated by the Peć Bistrica, at the entrance of the Rugova Canyon. A morus nigra tree, 750-years-old, is preserved in the monastery yard, called Šam-dud. It was planted by Archbishop Sava II between 1263 and 1272.[1]


The precise date of the foundation of the Patriarchate is unknown. It is thought that while Saint Sava (d. 1235) was still alive that the site became a metoh (land owned and governed by a monastery) of the Žiča monastery, at the time the seat of the Serbian archbishopric. In the 1230s, Archbishop Arsenije I (s. 1233–63) built the Church of the Holy Apostles on the north side,[2] as he wanted the seat of the Serbian Church to be at a more secure location and closer to the centre of the country. It was decorated on his order in ca. 1260.[2] Archbishop Nikodim I (s. 1321–24) built the Church of St. Demetrius on the north side, while his successor, Archbishop Danilo II (s. 1324–37) built the Church of the Holy Mother of God Hodegetria and the Church of St. Nicholas on the south side.[2] In front of the three main churches, he then raised a monumental narthex.[2] In the time of Archbishop Joanakije II, around 1345, the hitherto undecorated Church of St. Demetrius was decorated with frescoes. Emperor Stefan Dušan (r. 1331–55) raised the Archbishopric at Peć to Patriarchal status.[3]

During the 14th century, small modifications were made to Church of the Holy Apostles, so some parts were decorated later. From the 13th to the 15th century, and in the 17th century, the Serbian Archbishops and Serbian Patriarchs were buried in the churches of the Patriarchate. In 1459–63 after the death of Arsenije II the patriarchate became vacant and was abolished but was restored in 1555-7 by Suleiman the Magnificent under the advice of Sokollu Mehmed Pasha, while several Bulgarian eparchies were placed under its jurisdiction.[4][5] In 1619–20 Georgije Mitrofanovic painted new frescoes in the Church of St. Demetrius.[2] In 1673–74 painter Radul painted the Church of St. Nicholas.[2] In the early 18th century and especially during and after the Austro-Turkish war of 1735-9 the patriarchate became the target of the Phanariotes and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, whose goal was to place the eparchies of the Serbian patriarchate under its own jurisdiction. In 1737 the first Greek head of the patriarchate was appointed after the intervention of Alexandros Mavrocordatos, who labeled the Serb leadership "untrustworthy". In the following years the Phanariotes embarked on policy initiatives that led to the exclusion of Serbs in the succession of the patriarchate, which was eventually abolished in September 1766.[5]

In 1947, the Patriarchate of Peć was added to Serbia's "Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance" list,[2] and on 13 July 2006 it was placed on UNESCO's World Heritage List as an extension of the Visoki Dečani site which was overall placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.[6]

Restoration of the complex began in June 2006 and was completed in November 2006. The main aim was to protect the complex from the weather, as well as to repair the inner walls and exterior appearance. Two previously unknown frescoes were uncovered on the north facade of the Church of St. Demetrios, of a Serbian queen and nobleman.[7] In 2008, the church facades were painted red, as Žiča, which led to some reactions. The sites were protected by the Kosovo Force until 2013, when the Kosovo Police took over responsibility, causing controversy.[8]

The monastery holds the relics of saints Archbishops Jevstatije I (s. 1279–86) and Spiridon (s. 1380–89).


  • Church of the Holy Apostles, built in the 1230s
  • Church of St. Demetrius, built by 1324
  • Church of the Holy Mother of God Hodegetria, built by 1337
  • Church of St. Nicholas, built by 1337


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has been recognised as an independent state by 109 out of 193 United Nations member states.


  1. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Spomenici.
  3. ^ Wallace, Donald Mackenzie (1 January 1999). A Short History of Russia and the Balkan States. The Encyclopaedia Britannica Company, ltd. p. [page needed]. ISBN 978-0-543-93325-6. 
  4. ^ Kia, Mehrdad (2011-08-31). Daily Life in the Ottoman Empire. ABC-CLIO. p. 117. ISBN 9780313336928. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Frazee, Charles A. (1969-02-01). The Orthodox Church and Independent Greece, 1821-1852. CUP Archive. p. 6. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  6. ^ UNESCO (2006). "List of World Heritage in Danger". Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  7. ^ "Work on Restoration of Pec Patriarchate Draws to a Close". KIM Info Newsletter. November 14, 2006. Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  8. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)


Further reading[edit]

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