Mesic Monastery

Mesic Monastery

Mesić is the nunnery of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the Banat Diocese, close to Vrsac, dedicated to the birth of the Saint John the Baptist. The name of the Mesić Monastery comes from the stream of the same name, which springs beneath the Crni vrh peak and flows beside the monastery church.

Mesić Monastery is one of the oldest Monasteries of the Banat region, about whose foundation there are several versions. The earliest legend has it that the monastery was established in the 11th century by disciples of SS Cyrill and Method, who were in 1030 persecuted by an order of the Hungarian King Stephen I from the northwestern parts of Romania. They spread the Christianity in those areas of Hungary, and when arrived to the slopes of the Carpathians – have erected the monastery dedicated to the Birth of the St John the Baptist. The second legend has it that the Mesić Monastery was founded in 1225 by the Chillandary monk Arsenije Bogdanović – “Sremac”, when he was appointed the Abbot of the Monastery by Saint Sava. After the death of Saint Sava, the Abbott Arsenije became the second Serbian archbishop. Historical facts bear testimony that the Mesic Monastery experienced numerous destruction and demolitions by the Turks, and that at the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century was reconstructed by Despot Jovan Brankovic and his mother Holy Angelina, who possessed estates in this area. Thus the Brankovics are regarded the donors of the Mesic Monastery.

The first written document about the Mesic Monastery date from 1660 and 1666 and comes from the archives of the Pec Patriarchate. From this document we know that the Vrsac bishops resided in the Mesic Monastery, right after the Great migration of Serbs.

The original church of the Mesić Monastery has been built in the Raska style of architecture, which had undergone through numerous destruction and reconstructions, which contributed to its Baroque features, when in the 18th century the baroque belfry and the narthex were added, as well as the Baroque iconostasis.  Like majority of the Orthodox churches of Vojvodina, built during the Austrian rule, the Mesic Monastery has baroque elements, that are especially visible on the bell tower. Only after the Second WW, two large reconstructions were carried out, when the Mesic Monastery regained its original Byzantine style of architecture. The outer circular and the inner altar apses are decorated with blind niches. In the naos of the Mesic Monastery church, dedicated to the St John the Baptist, there are fragments of the earlier frescoes from the 17th century. The frescoes painted in the 18th century feature particular conservative style, which follows the Medieval style of fresco decoration, that opposed the upcoming Baroque style of fresco painting.

In the church of the Mesić Monastery there is the miraculous icon of the Holy Virgin, painted in 1803, along the model of the famous Icon of “Dostojno Jest”, kept in the Karea of the Holy Mount Athos. The legend has it that the Archangel Gabriel chanted to the Holy Virgin the song “Dostojno jest”, which is chanted in the orthodox churches ever since.