Patriarchate of Peć

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Patriarchate of Peć
  • Serbian: Пећка патријаршија / Pećka Patrijaršija
  • Albanian: Patrikana e Pejës
Patriarchate of Peć 2010.JPG
The Church complex of the Patriarchate of Peć
Monastery information
Order Serbian Orthodox
Established 12th century
Diocese Eparchy of Raška and Prizren
Controlled churches The Church of the Apostles, The Church of St. Demetrius, The Church of the Virgin Hodegitria, The Church of St. Nicholas
Founder(s) Saint Sava, St Arsenije I
Important associated figures Saint Sava, St Arsenije I, Archbishop Nikodim, St Danilo II
Style Serbo-Byzantine style
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[1]

The Patriarchate of Peć (Serbian: Пећка патријаршија / Pećka Patrijaršija, pronounced [pɛ̂ːt͡ɕkaː patrijǎrʃija], Albanian: Patrikana e Pejës) is a Serbian Orthodox monastery located near Peć, in Kosovo.[a] The complex of churches is the spiritual seat and mausoleum of the Serbian archbishops and patriarchs.

In 1947, the Patriarchate of Peć was added to Serbia's "Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance" list,[1] 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.[2]


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 Žiča monastery, then the seat of the Serbian archbishopric.

Archbishop Arsenije I (d. 1266) built the Church of the Holy Apostles, as he wanted the seat of the Serbian Church to be at a more secure location and closer to the centre of the country. Soon, around 1250, he ordered it decoration. Archbishop Nikodim I built the Church of Saint Demetrius around 1320, north of the other church. A decade later, around 1330, his successor, Archbishop Danilo II built a third church, south of the original one - the Church of the Holy Virgin Hodegetria to the south of which he added the small Church of Saint Nicholas. In front of the three main churches, he then raised a monumental narthex. In front of the narthex he built a tower. In the time of Archbishop Joanakije II, around 1345, the hitherto undecorated Church of St. Demetrius was decorated with frescoes. Emperor Dušan the Mighty (r. 1331-1355) 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 Patriarchs and Archbishops of Peć 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 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 Pec patriarchate under its own jurisdiction. In 1737 the first Greek head of the patriarchate of 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]


  • Church of the Holy Apostles, built by 1266
  • Church of St. Demetrius, built by 1320
  • Church of the Holy Virgin Hodegetria, built by 1330
  • Church of St. Nicholas


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. Demtrios, of a Serbian queen and nobleman. [6]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[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 108 out of 193 United Nations member states.


  1. ^ a b Monuments of Culture in Serbia: МАНАСТИР ПЕЋКА ПАТРИЈАРШИЈА (SANU) (Serbian) (English)
  2. ^ UNESCO (2006). "List of World Heritage in Danger". Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  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. ^ "Work on Restoration of Pec Patriarchate Draws to a Close". KIM Info Newsletter. November 14, 2006. Retrieved 2014-05-18. 

External links[edit]