Vrdnik Monastery – Ravanica
Vrdnik Monastery, officially Ravanica Monastery of Srem district, is one of the most significant medieval Monasteries of Fruška Gora Mountain, situated in the famous Vrdnik Banja spa. Vrdnik Monastery was first mentioned in the Turkish records dating from 1566, although there are no exact data on time of its foundation and its donor. Vrdnik Monastery was established in the 15th century, before the Turkish occupation of Serbia. Its history begins with the event after the Great Migration of the Serbs, at the end of the 17th century, when monks of Ravanica Monastery carried the remains of the Saint Prince Lazar to Szentendre /Saint Andrew in present day Hungary/ and settled in the deserted Monastery in the Srem district. Since that time the Vrdnik Monastery – known as the Ravanica of Srem became the spiritual center and the center of the cult of Holy Prince Lazar of Serbia.
Original church of Vrdnik Monastery was built of stone and bricks. The roof was of the oak shingle. This church was extended to receive the holy relics of Holy Prince Lazar since it was insufficient for the numerous pilgrimages who came to pay tribute for remembering the Serbian Holy Martyr Prince Lazar – killed in the Kosovo Battle in 1389. Holy relics of the Holy Prince Lazar were kept in Vrdnik Monastery from 1697 until 1942. At the beginning of the Second WW they were transposed to the Belgrade Minster, to be settled back only in 1898 in the original Ravanica Monastery in central Serbia, from where they have started their multi-century long way, where they are eventually laid down.
Construction of the present day church of Vrdnik Monastery started at the beginning of the 19th century. Vrdnik Monastery church is large, one nave structure, with the small dome, built in classicism style, and features spacious and bright interior. The magnificent Eology for Knez Lazar /the unique prayer – poem which is well known both for its beauty and because it describes the events around the Kosovo Battle and the tragic period after it/ has been embroidered with golden threads by nun Jefimija. The iconostasis of Vrdnik Monastery Church, which contains depictions of the Serbian saints – the Holy Martyr Prince Lazar and the Saint Sava, was executed in 1853 by Dimitrije Avramovic, one of the most significant Serbian painters of the 19th century. The Holy relics of the Great Christian martyr Anastasia are also kept in the Vrdnik Monastery. When monks of Ravanica Monastery settled in Vrdnik Monastery, they have found a fountain built in the churchyard with the Turkish inscription. They have reconstructed the fountain, adding the new inscription about the time of construction of the Monastery with the Slavic Cross, while the old Turkish inscription remains on the other side of the plaque. Within the Vrdnik Monastery churchyard full of flowers and greenery there is the monument of the famous and fruitful Serbian poet Milica Stojadinovic Srpkinja, whose origins come from the Vrdnik village. Although the church is dedicated to the Ascension, the Saint Vitus Day – Vidovdan is celebrated by the Serbian Orthodox Church as the public holiday, when numerous visitors come to the Vrdnik Monastery to commemorate the Holy Serbian martyr Prince Lazar.