Holy Savior Church Prizren

Holy Savior Church Prizren

Holy Savior Church in Prizren is dedicated to the Assumption of God and was erected around 1330. Holy Savior Church is located at the south-western part of the former Serbian royal town of Prizren, the most beautiful and the Royal town in Kosovo and Metohija. The Holy Savior Church in Prizren sits on the small plateau below the ancient Kaljaja Fortress, called the Podkaljaja, which dominates the whole area and provides outstanding panorama of Prizren. The Podkaljaja Quarter once used to be the Prizren part populated mostly with the Serbian and Aromanian population, but nowadays one can only see the pitiable ruins of destroyed, entirely demolished, burnt and deserted Serbian houses in this part of Prizren, the most beautiful and best known town in Kosovo and Metohia /some say/.

Nobleman Mladen Vladojevic and his family constructed the Church of the Holy Saviour Prizren and in 1348 granted it to the nearby Holy Archangels Monastery, the endowment of Tzar Dusan /king 1331—1346, tsar 1346—1355/, on the bank of Prizrenska Bistrica River. The foundation of the Church of the Holy Saviour Prizren is the inscribed cross with three-sided altar apse and narthex covered by eight-sided dome. From outside the Church of the Holy Savior in Prizren is richly decorated with ceramic ornaments and layers of stone and bricks, which has also been applied in construction of the Church of the Holy Virgin of Ljevish in Prizren.

The Church of the Holy Savior Prizren was heavily damaged and abandoned during the Turkish conquest and even in some occasions used as the stable, that damaged it seriously. Since the middle of the 18th century, Aromanians from Moskopoje took over care for the Holy Savior church Prizren and in 1836 started its reconstruction and enlargement. The Church of Holy Savior Prizren was supposed to be the trefoil basilica when finished, but the reconstruction was never completed, so nowadays the hall walls without ceiling sadly surround the earlier church. The new seven-sided altar apse has been built and the former tiny Medieval church became the part of the northern nave. The oldest frescoes of Church of the Holy Savior Prizren are painted in the altar part and date from around 1335. The painter belonged to the fresco-painting workshop that decorated also the Church of Saint Nicholas in Prizren, built at the same time by nobleman Dragoslav Tutic. Until 1348 local painters decorated the rest of the Holy Savior church Prizren in the Byzantine style. The frescoes depicting the Christ and the Holy Virgin Paraklesis painted in the narthex of the Saint Savior church Prizren make the final layer of fresco decoration.

In the 19th century the Church of the Holy Savior in Prizren was baldy damaged in fire when frescoes were destroyed and significantly changed its colors. Works on enlargement of the church started in the first half of the 19th century with the aim to make this church the three-nave basilica. The new altar seven-sided apse was constructed, and the original church became the part of the norther nave. However, this enlargement of the Holy Savior Church in Prizren was never completed, so today there are high walls without a roof around the original small church. The /inappropriate/ conservation works on the structures and frescoes of Church of Holy Savior Prizren were carried out from 1953 until 1963. Republic of Serbia proclaimed the Church of the Holy Savior and the other Churches in Prizren the cultural heritage of extraordinary importance.

In 2004 March, raids, attacks and the pogrom of the Albanian extremists set the Church of the Holy Savior Prizren aflame and heavily damaged its structure and frescoes. Since then the German KFOR guard the Church of the Holy Savior which is behind barbed wire…. The consequences of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and Metohija are most apparent in the cities where the remaining Serb population can be counted with the fingers. This is also true of the ancient city of (Emperor) Dušan, Prizren, once proud of its multi-ethnic life, bringing together, in addition to the Albanians, Turks, Serbs, Goranis and Croats.

At the end of April 2014, the reconstruction works of the plateau before the Church of Holy Saviour in Podkaljaja Quarter of Prizren have been successfully carried out. This action was initiated by the “Sveti Spas” Citizens’ Association for Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Kosovo and Metohija, and blessed by His Grace Bishop Teodosije of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo – Metohija Diocese, which would not have been possible without huge efforts and assistance of the Prizren Parish Slobodan Đorić, the Sveti Spas Association, led by Mr Zlatko Mavric, and the Drustvo prijatelja manastira Sveti arhangeli kod Prizrena – Friends of the Holy Archangels Monastery in Prizren, the Danish Refugee Council, which provided the largest funds, and the Institute for preservation and protection of monuments of culture of Kosovo and Metohija. Thirteen years after the Kosovo pogrom in 2004, when the Holy Savior Church in Prizren was set aflame and devastated, the Drustvo prijatelja manastira Sveti arhangeli kod Prizrena – Friends of the Holy Archangels Monastery in Prizren, together with the Church Municipality of Prizren, completed the cross and posted it on this Serbian shrine from the 14th century.

 

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