Marko’s Monastery Susica

Marko’s Monastery, with the church dedicated to Saint Demetrius is situated at the edge of Sušica village, on the left bank of the Markova Reka River /Marko’s River/, on Kitka Mountains, some 20 kilometers south of Skopje. Marko’s Monastery was founded in 1345 by the Serbian King Vukashin Mrnjavcevic and completed by his son King Marko in 1366, who donated the frescoes, painted between 1366 and 1371 and after whose cult the Monastery got its name. The architecture of the Saint Demetrius church of the Marko’s Monastery has been built of bricks and stone is single cross-shaped base with a central dome and a blind dome in the narthex. It has the iconstasis completed of stone pillars. The elegant exo-narthex (open porch) of the Marko’s Monastery was added in 1830 by Hamzi Pasha, who as the Turkish aristocrat generously donated the Christian monastery throughout the 19th century, which was quite surprising. Marko’s Monastery belongs to the most important Medieval spiritual centers in Macedonia.

The well preserved frescoes of the Marko’s Monastery have been painted by several artists of different skills. The fresco-painting in the church of Saint Demetrius belongs to the Byzantine painting patterns created in Macedonia the second half of the 14th century. The tendency for adding dramatization and narrative painting of the scenes is visible. The content of the Marko’s Monastery fresco-painting consists of numerous cycles: The Cherubim hymns on the Divine Service, The Akathistos of the Holy Virgin, Miracles and Parables, hagiographies of St. Nicholas and St. Demetrius, The Rachel Weeping of slaying the Bethlehem children, Divine Liturgy in the Altar, Angels and Demons on the columns. The painter’s skillfulness was expressed by the Holy warrior St Demetrius wearing magnificent cloths and riding a horse depicted above the entrance of the church. St Demetrius known as guard, defender of God from various enemies and natural disasters is blessed by Christ Emanuel and angels are landing carrying his helmet, sword, shield and arrow, the armor and armored gloves and the martyr wreath. The scenes depicted in the dome of narthex – Heaven with Christ Pantocrator, Table with Christ Logos and The Ascension of the Virgin Mary reveal the hidden meanings in the complex ideology in the medieval Christian art. The portraits of kings Volkashin and Marko wearing royal cloths and holding unfolded scrolls with written texts in which they are stated as donors are depicted in the life size on the southern facade of the Marko’s Monastery and make best preserved depictions of the rulers.

The inscription above the southern entrance, inside the Saint Demetrius church of the Marko’s Monastery, written in Church-Slavic language is considered one of the most important documents, containing data about the construction of the church and its donors – faithful king Volkasin and the queen Elena and their very much beloved daughters and sons, the faithful princes Marko and Andreaš, Ivaniš and Dimitar. This inscription was written after King Vukašin died in the Battle on Maritza River in 1371, when Marko as the first born son became king.

During the Ottoman era, in 1467/8 the Marko’s Monastery has been recorded as having 20 monks. The Marko’s Monastery prior Kiril Pejčinovik put a great deal of effort for its development as a spiritual center. By its hand-copying role during the Medieval era, Marko’s Monastery is considered as one of the most significant spiritual centers of Orthodoxy. After Abbott Kiril left in 1818, the monastic life was interrupted, the monastery properties were forcefully taken and destroyed, and the fresco-paintings were white-washed and repainted. Marko’s Monastery is nowadays given its previous, representative appearance after the thorough conservation and restoration works – fresco-paintings and the church architecture are restored, and monastery dormitories and the dining room were reconstructed, making it one of the most valuable cultural heritage of Macedonia.

It needs an half hour walk from Susica village to get to the Marko’s Monastery.

 

SHARE IT: