Žiča Monastery

Žiča Monastery

Žiča Monastery is the joined endowment of King Stefan the First-Crowned and his son Radoslav and younger brother Rastko Nemanjić /later Saint Sava, the first Serbian Arch-bishop/ from the early 13th century /1206-1220/. In 1218 Žiča Monastery was transformed into the seat of the first Serbian autonomous Archbishopric. King Stefan Nemanjić the First-crowned was crowned in Zica Monastery in 1217 as the first King of the Nemanjić Dynasty what made Serbia the sovereign country in the Christian world. King Stefan Nemanjic the First-Crowned died as monk Simon. His relics are resting in Studenica Monastery. The next five Serbian Kings of the mighty Nemanjic Dynasty – Kings Radoslav, Vladislav, Uroš, Dragutin and Milutin followed his example and were crowned in the Zica Monastery until 1253, so it is how the name of the nearby city Kraljevo comes. Zica Monastery is known to have seven doors because of the fact that every time the Serbian King was crowned he had entered a separate door. It was only King Stefan Decanski /Stefan of Decani Monastery, the son of King Milutin/ who was not crowned in Ziča Monastery because it was heavily destroyed during the time of Bulgarian-Tatar invasion at the end of the 13th century, and the seat of the Patriarchate was transferred to the Pec Patriarchate. King Stefan Dečanski was crowned in the Pec Patriarchate on the 6th of January 1322.

The eastern part of Žiča Monastery has been built in the Rashka – Rascian architectural style, before Saint Sava decision to become his seat and the see of the independent Serbian Orthodox Church. The main section of the Zica temple, dedicated to the Ascension of Our Lord, is divided in three traveyes, so that the eastern one is within the altar space, the dome is over the middle one, while on the western travey, a spacious narthex was added on later, along with a tower. Construction of Žiča Monastery got the impact of monasteries of Holy Mount Athos by adding the bell tower in front. The Zica Monastery was repeatedly damaged and restored in next centuries, during the Turkish rule. Žiča Monastery was painted bright red by the order of Saint Sava to testify that the shrine is built on the blood of Serbian martyrs. Impressive frescoes of Žiča Monastery date from the 13th and 14th century and still attract interest thank to their great artistic quality, although seriously damaged through the history. The most prominent fresco of Žiča Monastery is the composition “Dormition of Our Lady”.

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