Sudikovo Monastery Berane

The Šudikovo Monastery is dedicated to the Entrance of the Holy Virgin into the temple, and is set on the right shore of the Lim River, at the very entrance to the dramatic Tifran Gorge, 2 km from Berane in north Montenegro. The Šudikovo Monastery belongs to the Orthodox Diocese of Budimlje-Niksic, that during its long history was the important cultural treasury and remembered the earliest Christianity and the later rule of the famous Nemanide Dynasty. Since its foundation in 1219 Budimlja was sea of the Budimlje-nikšić Diocese in the picturesque gorge and the valley of the Lim River, which between the 13th and the 17th century was the center of the cultural, spiritual and enlightening life, but also before and especially during the reign of the Nemanic Dynasty. Saint Sava established the Budimlje Diocese, so that numerous literates, teachers, copyists, icon painters, fresco painters and medics lived and got their education in the Sudikovo Monastery school. Spiritual and educational life was developed in the Sudikovo Monastery whose educational and cultural principles were very active for several centuries, today testified by the works of the teachers, copyists, fresco-painters, icon painters workshops. The exceptional fresco painter Strahinja Budimljanin originated from the Šudikovo Monastery, and between the 1550 till 1620 he painted frescoes and icons of the numerous churches and monasteries in the vast territory of the Pec Patriarchate, as well as the monasteries of East Bosnia, Tara, Piva and Moraca areas. The handwritten manuscripts completed in the Šudikovo Monastery were taken during time to various European libraries, but some of them remained until now and make a precious Serbian heritage. One of the oldest handwritten monuments of the Šudikovo Monastery is the Svetootački zbornik – Chronicle of the Holy Fathers, that is today kept at the Holy Trinity Monastery in Pljevlja. The Budimlje Metropolitan Gerasim wrote in 1573 the well-known minyan that is today kept in the National Library in Belgrade. In 1592 the arch-priest Danilo wrote the psalter that is nowadays in Vienna, while the Michailo diacon wrote the Book of prayer in 1602 which is today kept at the count Uvarov Library in Moscow.

It is assumed that the Šudikovo Monastery got its name after the seat of the court, as until 1738 when it was destroyed in the fire it served as the main church, with the church court beside it, and the seat of the judge – sudik or sudija. About this testify its former and present eponymous features. It is interesting that the metochian of the Sudikovo Monastery, called Urosevica, with the spring called the Sveto vrelo – the Holy spring, was in the past used for curing various diseases as blindness, leprosy, nervous illnesses and barren women. Legend has it that the blind King Stefan Decanski cured his eyes in this spring.

The Šudikovo Monastery was in the past also sanctuary and shelter for the monks of the Budimlje Diocese, due to constant Ottoman attacks during the 16th and the 17th century. There was only one approach to the Monastery, from the Budimlje village, while the arrival of the invading army was announced from the watching rock in the Visin krs rocks, on the other side of the Lim River. All treasuries of the Monastery were taken then to the Lim Gorge, to the ascetic cells, deep hew behind the unapproachable cave openings..

Since it was destroyed in the fire set by the Turks in 1738 until 1923 the Sudikovo Monastery was in ruins and deserted. Then in 1923 professor of the Gymnasium of Berane Dušan V. Vuksan started excavation of the monastic ruins. Right from the door that leads from the narthex to the church nave, he excavated a huge stone block with some strange inscriptions on all his four sides. The first estimation of professor Vuksan was that the stone was probably used once as some table. Due to its size and weight, the option that the stone was brought from some other position was rejected, and he assumed that it makes remains of some structure much older than the Sudikovo Monastery itself. During the archaeological excavations in 2003 there were 2 more stones of red lime that Tifran mountain is abundant of, excavated in the close proximity of the ruins of the Sudikovo Monastery, but without inscriptions. The magic inscriptions on the stone of the Sudikovo Monastery is today theme of numerous debates and discussions of the numerous national and foreign researchers. Interpretation of inscription and names written on the stone, made the researcher Vučić Guverinić to conclude that our ancestors were literate since the time immemorial, but they were familiar with the laws and the institution of the court. His interpretation Vucic Guverinic comments in the following way :„This inscription testify on the presence of the Serbs in this areas, since the Stone age /4-3000 BC/. The stone block of the Sudikovo Monastery gains its significance on the national level and makes the material evidence about who we are and on our significance in the areas”. At that time the first phonetic alphabet known until now was in use, and that was the Vinca alphabet.

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