Grgeteg Monastery

Grgeteg Monastery

The Grgeteg Monastery, dedicated to Saint Nicholas is presumably founded in 1471 by despot Vuk Branković, during the so-called “pre Turkish” period of the Serbian history. The first iconostasis of Grgeteg Monastery has been completed by Jakov Orfelin in 1774 and the second one, which represents the most valuable feature of the Grgeteg Monastery, was painted by Uros Predic in 1902, one of the most famous Serbian painters.

Privilege document that Austrian Emperor Leopold I gave to the Bishop Isaija Đakovic in 1691, is kept in Grgeteg Monastery. The most important issue in Grgeteg Monastery is true copy of the Chilandari Monastery wonder icon – the Virgin Mary Three Hands Icon, transferred from Holy Atos Mountain remaining as the icon-protector of the Fruška Gora Mountain and its Medieval Monasteries. The wonder-working image, before which the monk John Damascene received healing of a cut-off hand, was given over by him to the Laura of the monk Sava the Sanctified. In the 13th century the icon was situated in Serbia, and afterwards it was miraculously transported to Athos and the Chilandari Monastery.  The icon of the Mother of God, named “Of Three Hands” – Trojerucica is venerated since the 9th century and the time of the Iconoclasts, when monk John Damascene was zealous in his veneration of holy icons. Because of this, he was slandered by the Emperor and iconoclast Leo III the Isaurian /717-740/ who informed the Damascus caliph that the monk John was committing treasonous acts against him. The caliph have orders to cut off the hand of the monk and take it to the marketplace. Towards evening Saint John, having asked the caliph for the cut-off hand, put it to its joint and fell to the ground before the icon of the Mother of God. The monk begged Our Lady to heal the hand, which had written in defense of Orthodoxy. After long prayer, he feel asleep and saw in his dream, that the All-Pure Mother of God had turned to him promising him quick healing. Having awakened from sleep, monk John saw that his hand was unharmed. In thankfulness for this healing, the monk John placed on the icon an hand fashioned in silver, from which the icon received its name “Of Three Hands”. According to tradition, the monk John wrote a song of thanksgiving to the Mother of God – “All of creation rejoice in Three, oh Full of Grace”, which appears in place of the Mother of God Hymn in the Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great. Saint John Damascene accepted monasticism at the Laura Monastery of monk Sava the Sanctified and there bestowed his wonder-working icon. The Laura presented the icon “Of Three Hands” in blessing to Saint Sava, Arch Bishop of Serbia, + 1237. During the time of invasion of Serbia by the Turks, Christians wanting to safeguard the icon, entrusted it to the safekeeping of the Mother of God Herself. They placed it upon a donkey, which proceeded to Athos and stopped in front of the Chilandary Monastery.Monks put the icon in the cathedral church which since then occupies the hegumene’s place. The icon is widely respected by faithful people. The icon of Trojerucica – “Of Three Hands” in the Grgeteg Monastery is the the third copy of the original icon, kept in the Chilandary Monastery, blessing visitors and monks in every obedience.

 

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