Drenca Monastery

Drenca Monastery

The village of Drenča, 5km north of town of Aleksandrovac, is situated in Central Serbia, in the picturesque area of Zupa of Aleksandrovac, and used to be home to the ruined church of “Dušmanica”, as it is called by the village’s elders. The monk Dorotej, the third Prior of Chillandari Monastery with his son Danilo /further Patriarch of Pec Patriarchate, Danilo III/ have built the Drenca Monastery in 1382 and dedicated it to the Presentation of the Holy Virgin. Founders gifted the shrine with numerous estates and established its economic status which was regularly supplied with everyday supplies and continuous income. At the south-west angle of the Drenca Monastery Church naos the built founders’ grave covered with large stone blocks was found. With its decoration similar to the nearby monasteries of Veluće and Rudenica, the architectural style of Drenca Monastery is of the early Morava architecture School. Duke Lazar Hrebeljanovic had confirmed large properties in the area of town of Krusevac and Branicevo area.

The graceful church of Drenča Monastery has a three-foil base combined with an inscribed cross, richly decorated and built of stone and bricks, a slim cupola resting on four free pillars, and an eastern apse with specific sections for the vestry and deacons. The Drenca Monastery Church widen from west side into direction of the tripartite altar space, towards apse which is semi-eclipse from inside and five-sided from the outside, and towards the deacon and the vestry that used to be covered with the cross-ceiling. This type of ceiling, which is unique within the Morava school of architecture, presents the copy of issues from the Holy Mount Athos. Apses of vestry and deacon of the Drenca Monastery are polygonal from the outside and semi-circular from inside, while side apses are semicircular both from inside and outside. Though lost to time, the Drenca church was once decorated with fresco paintings. West of the church, at some 25 meters away, foundations of an original monastic dwelling quarters were discovered, measured at 18.50×10.50 meters.

“Though sad, the appearance of the Church of the Presentation of the Holy Virgin in village of Drenča still testifies of its spiritual luxury. The present look of Drenča Monastery results from the ravages of time and our negligence: numerous invaders and enemies desecrated this holy place place for centuries, and we have – just as simple as that – forgotten about it. Yet monasteries do not die – they only withdraw, to reappear when better times allow.”

Drenča Monastery with its Church dedicated to the Presentation of the Holy Virgin was long time in ruins and pitiful conditions, to experience eventually its thorough reconstruction at the beginning of the second Millennium and nowadays it gathers again religious people from the Zupa region of the Aleksandrovac area.