Hopovo Monastery

Hopovo Monastery

Hopovo Monastery was founded in the end of the 15th or the early 16th century in the heart of the Fruska Gora Mountain/National Park near the town of Irig and makes the monument of culture of extraordinary importance. Th church of Novo Hopovo Monastery is dedicated to Saint Nicholas and has been built in the 15th century as the legacy of despot Maksim Brankovic on the ramparts of an earlier church. The Hopovo Monastery used to be a strong cultural, spiritual and educational center of Serbs. For certain period of time the Hopovo Monastery was seat of the episcopate and Monastery School, and in the 18th century residence of famous cultural inventor and writer Dositej Obradovic.

Hopovo Monastery is one of largest and best preserved and most beautifully painted monasteries among the numerous Medieval Monasteries of Fruška Gora Mountain area.

For its architectural values of the spacious church surrounded with dormitories from the southern, and western and partially from the northern side, and monumental and well-preserved fresco paintings, the Novo Hopovo Monastery ranks among the most important Serbian religious structures of the era. Architecture of the graceful Hopovo Church attracts special attention with the triconchal layout and large narthex and high dome. The church was erected by the unknown masters who managed to accomplish the unique combination of the traditional Morava style of architecture and elements of the European and Islamic sacral arts. The central part of the Novo Hopovo Monastery church had been wonderfully fresco painted in 1608 by an unknown but highly talented master, probably from the Mount Athos, while frescoes in narthex date from around 1654. Frescoes of the spacious church of the Hopovo Monastery contain scenes from the life of the Holy Virgin, Christ Pantocrator painted in the dome,  scenes of the Old Testament, Communion of thee Apostles, saints…. The wonderful icons of the iconostasis of Novo Hopovo Monastery were painted by famous painter Teodor Dimitrijevic Kracun /1732-1781/. Unfortunately, the Novo Hopovo Monastery experienced severe destruction during the Second World War when it was constantly looted and destroyed by soldiers of the Independent State of Croatia who used icons for fire. Of total of 63 icons only 19 icons remained….

Novo Hopovo Monastery was always highly respected shrine thanks to the cult of the Holy Warrior Theodore Tyrone whose fresco is painted in the naos of the church with the holy relics transferred here in the 16th century ever-since they are kept in the large coffin in front of the altar.

Staro Hopovo Monastery

Staro Hopovo Monastery is located in the picturesque natural setting of Fruska Gora, some 3 km east of Novo Hopovo Monastery along good paved road, what provide visitors of those shrines an opportunity for the invigorating walk through nature and the unique spiritual pleasure. According to tradition, Staro Hopovo Monastery had been built between 1496 and 1520 by despot Djordje Brankovic /bishop Maksim/. The Turkish annals mention the Staro Hopovo Monastery in several occasions /1545-48, 1566-69, 1578/, while it had been asserted in local archives even earlier. Nothing left of the original church which was dedicated to Saint Nicholas, possibly the endowment of despot Djordje Brankovic, as it had been the log-church covered with tiles, that the earthquake in 1751 had easily destroyed. Close to the position of the original church, in 1752 the new church was built, dedicated to Saint Panteleimon, which stands until the present. In the archives of the Fruska Gora Monasteries from 1753 the Staro Hopovo was mentioned as the metochian /land belonging to a church/ of the Novo Hopovo Monastery, without frescoes and iconostasis. During the Second World War the dormitory was set aflame and destroyed, and the church was partially damaged.

Present day church of the Staro Hopovo Monastery is small structure, but probably among the most beautiful monasteries of Serbia, thanks to coziness and harmony or the church and the gorgeous surroundings. The Church of the Staro Hopovo Monastery is one nave church built of stone and bricks, with the narthex which is connected with the central part with the semicircular vault, and the apse which is semicircular from inside and five-sided from outside. Above the central part of the Staro Hopovo church raises the large stand on which sits the ten-sided tambour with the dome, covered with the baroque end, and adorned with colonettes in the corners. Due to its size, the dome of the Staro Hopovo Monastery a in some way dominates above the whole church, which was originally without the belfry. In the last reconstruction, after 2008, a new tall belfry was built, what substantially changed the whole monastic appearance. Alike the Novo Hopovo Monastery, the facade of the Staro Hopovo Monastery is divided with the cornice, with the upper zone decorated with blind arcades. In the lower part of the facade there are three windows and an entrance door, and ten narrow windows on the tambour of the dome, which provides the church well lit. The interior  of the Staro Hopovo church is fully fresco-painted, while in the altar there is the richly carved iconostasis, engraved by Jefrem Isajlovic, the master from Irig in the period from 1793-1800. Towards the entrance to the forest, above the Jelenac stream, which flows besides the monastery, there is the chapel spring of potable cold water. After jumping over the stream and walking downstream, in 40 meters visitors get to the sulfur spring, of 18,5 C water temperature – one of the rare mineral springs of Fruska Gora.