Rakovica Monastery

Rakovica Monastery

Rakovica Monastery, with the church dedicated to the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel, was built between 1377 and 1385, during the reign of Prince Lazar Hrebeljanovic. The original monastery was resettled to its current location beside the Rakovicki potok stream and between the hills of Pruzevica and Strazevica at the end of the 16th century. During its long history it was often plundered and destroyed by the Turks and restored several times. Monks of Rakovica Monastery were engaged in diplomacy in 1699 during negotiations of the Karlovac Peace Treaty between Russia and Turkey. When Austrian Army retreated after the defeat in the Second Austro-turkish War /1739/ monks of Rakovica Monastery were forced to flee northwards to Velika Remeta Monastery on Fruska Gora Mountain along with the Serbs persecuted by the Turks from the southern parts of the country.

At the end of the 18th century Rakovica Monastery was destroyed and set aflame by the Turks. The new church of the Rakovica Monastery was erected in 1862 in the Serbian Morava school of architecture. It is one nave structure of trefoil basis with two domes. The outward facade of the Rakovica Monastery is covered with thick layer of plaster which prevents observation of the original appearance of facade. The original iconostasis of Rakovica Monastery was made of wall partition and contained two throne icons of the Christ and the Holy Virgin. The new baroque wooden iconostasis with classical elements was completed in 1862 by donation of Prince Mihajlo Obrenovic. The interior of the Rakovica Monastery church is decorated with frescoes. The Rakovica Monastery also contains the valuable collections of religious icons and books.

The memorial plaque commemorating the Serbian soldiers who lost their lives in the Balkan Wars and the First WW in 1912 and 1913 in liberation of Kosovo, Metohija and Vardar Macedonia is enclosed in the western wall of the church. It says : “Браћу ропства избавише, Отаџбину удвојише; За слободу живот даше, Српско име осветлаше.” /From slavery brothers were liberated, the homeland was separated, for freedom they fall, when have taken a pride of the Serbian name/

The holy relics of great martyrs Procopius and Theodore Tiron are kept in the church of Rakovica Monastery.

Since its foundation, the Rakovica Monastery played significant role – not only in Serbian religious life, but also in protecting Serbian cultural and national heritage. After the Second World War the seminary of the Belgrade Theological College was established in Rakovica Monastery. Several members of the Serbian Obrenovic Royal family, including the founder of the family Jevrem Obrenovic, are buried in the narthex of the Rakovica Monastery church, while famous historical persons of the 19th century are buried in the monastery courtyard. Outside the Rakovica Monastery walls is Sveta Petka spring with healing water. During repeated NATO bombings the walls of Rakovica Monastery structures, including the church were severely shaken and fissures appeared.

The Rakovica Monastery, Serbian Orthodox Church and religious people celebrate the Dormition of the Mother of God on the 28th August, the Holy Virgin bodily resurrection before being taken up into heaven. His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle is buried in Rakovica Monastery, on the 19th November 2009. In time this monastery became a huge pilgrimage for numerous Serbs who come to visit the grave of their beloved Patriarch. Nowadays there are more and more people who want to get married or baptized right here, especially for the reason of the holiness and spirituality of this place, since here is buried the Serbian Patriarch Pavle.