Krušedol Monastery

Krušedol Monastery

Krušedol Monastery is the Serbian Orthodox Monastery situated in the Fruška Gora Mountain/National Park, Srem District of the Vojvodina Province. The Krušedol Monastery has been built between 1509-1515 by Bishop Maksim Brankovic /earlier Despot Djuradj Brankovic/ and his mother Angelina, wife of the blind despot Stefan Brankovic – the last rulers of Serbia from this famous, but tragic lineage of Serbia. Angelina was born Angelina Arianit Komneni, ruler of Konjuh in the Skumba River region in present Albania, and was a princess and the sixth daughter of Albanian noble Gjergj Arianit Komneni, when most of the people of Albania were Orthodox Christians. Angelina was married to the Serbian ruler Stefan Branković, son of the Despot Djuradj Brankovic, ruler of Serbia called Lord George. Angelina was the sister of Donika Kastrioti, wife of George Kastrioti Skanderbeg. Angelina is venerated by the Serbian Orthodox Church as saint Angelina of Serbia, celebrated on 12. August/30. July and 23/10. December.

Both Angelina and Brankovićs fled to the territories of the League of Lezhë and then to Italy, when the regions of the Serbian Despotate and those of the League were invaded by the Ottoman Empire. In 1485, at the death of her husband, Angelina went with her sons Jovan /John/ and Djordje /George/ to the Kingdom of Hungary, where her son, George had become a titular despot in exile of the Serbian Medieval Despotate. The territory of the Despotate had been under the Ottoman Empire since its collapse in 1459, so George /Djuradj/ Brankovic was a “ruler without a country” who possessed vast estates in South Hungary, already settled by the Serbs persecuted by the Turks from the southern parts of Serbia /Kosovo and Metohija/. For her pious life Angelina has been canonized and as such is highly respected by the Serbian Orthodox Church. The outstanding construction and sponsorship of foundation of numerous monasteries in Fruska Gora area is one of the main characteristics of the Brankovic Family. So it was Vuk Grgurevic Brankovic who erected the Grgeteg Monastery, possibly the Privina glava Monastery, and desport Dordje Brankovic – later Wallachian metropolitan Maxim donated Novo and Staro Hopovo Monasteries and Krusedol Monastery, while Jovan Brankovic erected Jazak and Djipsa Monasteries, and mother Angelina donated the Church dedicated to the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple in Krusedol village.

The Krušedol Monastery church is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Holy Virgin, built mostly in the Morava architectural style. The basis of the Krusedol church is three-conch with the altar apse and 2 side semi-circular apses from inside and outside. The eight-sided dome with 8 windows sits above the nave. There are 9 windows on the facade, adorned with baroque elements. The Church floor is made of white marble stone slabs. The Krusedol church has been later renewed in baroque style /early 18th century/, when the high, five-store bell tower was added. The most important event in the history of the Krusedol Monastery is the Clergy and Laity Assembly in 1708 when the Belgrade-Srem /Krušedol/ Metropolitanate was founded /later Karlovac Metropolitanate/, which was the most important Serbian Orthodox institution of the 18th century on the territory of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. The Krusedol Monastery was heavily destroyed and set aflame by Turks in 1716 during their retreat in the last attacks to the Austria-Hungary territories. It was the important historic event when the Christian Army, led by the Prince Eugene of Savoy -1663-1736- heavily defeated the Turkish Army in Vezirac battle near Petrovaradin. The holy relics of Brankovic Family members were destroyed and disintegrated, whose remains are nowadays kept in the Krusedol Monastery treasury, in special festive coffins. The most precious of the historical values of Krusedol Monastery is the iconostasis which beside the 36 icons, comprises the icon dating from the 15th century.

From its foundation Krusedol Monastery had a great importance, as the seat of Srem Bishopric during the 18th century, when there lived large number of monks and it possessed a large estates. Dr. Laza Kostic (1841-1910) was one of the most prominent Serbian intellectuals of the 19th century – poet, writer, intellectual, aesthetic, critical, journalist, who spoke eight languages, a doctor of law in Latin. Because of the unfulfilled love with the beautiful, 30 years younger Lenka Dundjerski, Laza Kostic left to Krusedol Monastery and soon after – young girl died at age of 25. In Krušedol Monastery in despair and hoping that he will meet Lenka in the afterlife, Laza Kostic wrote one of the most beautiful poets-love songs in Serbian “Santa Maria della Salute.”

Nowadays Krušedol Monastery is very prominent as the the Mausoleum of numerous significant historical personalities of Serbia, boasting graves of despots Brankovics, the Patriarch Arsenije the Third Carnojevich, the Patriarch Arsenije the Fourth Carnojevich, King Milan, Princess Ljubica Obrenovic and famous Duke Stevan Supljikac. Krušedol Monastery possess rich collection of old precious icons, manuscripts and printed books. The feast day of Krušedol Monastery is celebrated on the day of the Most Holy Mother Angelina of Serbia, on the 12th – 30th of August.