Draganac Monastery

Draganac Monastery

Monastery of Saint Archangel Gabriel, known as the Draganac Monastery, is located near Prilepac village, the birth place of Prince Lazar Hrebeljanovic, in Kosovsko Pomoravlja area. Draganac Monastery is set on the road from Gnjilane to Novo Brdo fort, in beautiful mountainous area surrounded with gentle hills covered with lush forests, in the ravine on the southern side of the saddle that separates the Novo Brdo fortress from Kosovska Kamenica and Gnjilane. Draganac Monastery has been established by Prince Lazar in 1381 as the metochion of the Ravanica Monastery, when the village where the shrine has been built was named after Dragana, the daughter of prince Lazar, which has been mentioned in the Ravanica Monastery founding charter. In some archives the Draganac Monastery has been recorded as the endowment of King Milutin, and some annals attest it to the King Milutin’s son Konstantin. Before the Turkish conquest, this part of Kosovo used to have a number of monasteries and endowments: Novo Brdo, the largest gold mine and the richest Serbian Medieval town, Prilepac – birth place of Prince Lazar, Presentation of the Holy Virgin Monastery in Ubožac village, Tamnica Rečane, Saint John Monastery Božovce, Buzovik Monastery Binač, Saint Spiridone near Prilepac village, the Holy Virgin Božovce, ruins of the Saint Barbara Monastery in Kmetovce village, Saint Lucas Monastery in Krajnji Del village, Saint George Monastery in Trpezi village near Vitina, Monastery in Leštar village, seven churches in the town itself and the lower town of Novo Brdo fortification, but most of them were destroyed after the Turkish conquest of the Novo Brdo town.
The early history of the Draganac Monastery is unfortunately under the veil. It is known that on the place of an earlier Medieval church, a new church dedicated to the Saint Archangel Gabriel has been built between 1865 and 1869. A certain prince Mihailo contributed to the construction of the church, who donated 100 golden ducats. Soon one of the first schools of the area was opened in the Draganac Monastery. During the Turkish occupation, the Draganac Monastery was heavily destroyed and reconstructed only in 1868. After the war, there was an orphanage in the Monastery of Saint Archangel Gabriel in Draganac. It was deserted afterwards, to be restored recently, when monastic life was also renewed. Thanks to great efforts of the monks of the Ras-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija Diocese and local population, the old hospice was restored as well.
Today, the Draganac Monastery makes center of the spiritual life and missionary work in the eastern part of Kosovo and Metohija – Kosovsko Pomoravlje area, and the only alive monastery in the Kosovo Pomoravlje area. From 1971 til 1996 there were no monks and spiritual life in the Monastery, when reconstruction started by Father Kiril from Visoki Decani Monastery. Draganac Monastery is situated in the eastern part of Kosovo in Kosovsko Pomoravlje, which was predominantly populated by Serbs during the history, so experienced the war in 1999 without a big damage and demolition.

The monastic complex of the Draganac Monastery includes a number of structures : welcoming lounge and dormitory for visitors, three-store monastic dormitory on the right side with 40 monastic cells, and on the left side there are 20 cells within the central dormitory. Reconstruction works were funded by donations of faithful visitors, but also by monks, among whom especially monk Kiril provided his retiring allowances. Three chapels and monastic workshop and dormitory of the Draganac Monastery have been completed, and the interior works are in progress. In front of the Draganac Monastery there is a spring, known by locals to have miraculous medicinal features. Specific medicinal plants found in the proximity of the Draganac Monastery are an important source for the therapeutic remedies prepared by monks along the ancient recipes that cure various serious diseases. “Draganac Monastery is the sanctuary which testifies on the Christ Resurrection”, remarks Father Ilarion, grateful to numerous donators from Serbia and abroad, without whose help this highly spiritual place would not, day by day, look like “the small Holy Monastery Hilandar on Mount Athos”.

 

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