Monastery of the Patriarchate of Pec

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The Monastery of the Patriarchate of Pec, Serbian: Пећка патријаршија or Pećka Patrijaršija,, is a monastery of the Church of Serbia, located near Pec in Kosovo. The monastery is a complex of churches that is the spiritual seat and mausoleum of Serbian archbishops and patriarchs.


The date of the foundation of the monastery is unknown. It is thought that the site became a metoh of Zica Monastery, that is, land owned and governed by a monastery, while St. Sava was still alive, and was the seat of the Serbian archbishopric.

The Temple of the Holy Apostles was built by Archbishop Arsenius I during the 1230s and its wall paintings done about 1260. Archbishop Nikodemus built the Church of St. Demetrius north of the Church of Holy Apostles between 1321 and 1324. Then about 1320, Archbishop Daniel II built the churches dedicated to Virgin Odigitrija (Hodegetria) and St. Nicholas on south side of the Church of Holy Apostles. He work included the monumental parvis in the shape of a open porch in front of the western facades of the Churches of St. Demetrius, Holy Apostles, and Holy Virgin Odigitrija.

In 1346, Emperor Dušan the Mighty raised the Archbishopric at Peć to Patriarchal status, as the monastery became the burial site of the Serbian Patriarchs and Archbishops of Pec during the thirteenth to fifteenth and in the seventeenth centuries.

A history of the styles of medieval wall painting can be seen on the walls of the churches at the Pec monastery. The walls of the Church of the Holy Apostles were painted about 1300, then again around 1350 and 1375, as well as twice in the seventeenth century. The Church of St. Demetrius was painted for the first time during the patriarchate of Patriarch Joakinije, around 1345. The frescoes were restored by Georgije Mitrofanovic, from the Monastery of Hilander, in 1619. The Church of Holy Virgin Odigitrija was painted before 1337, while its parvis was painted in the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. The church of St. Nicholas was painted by the painter Radul in 1673/1674.

After the Ottoman Turk conquest of Serbia in mid-fifteenth century activities at the monastery languished until the middle of the sixteenth century. Various restoration projects, including restoration of the wall paintings, were accomplished. The Austrian-Turkish war at the end of the seventeenth century brought difficult times to the monastery that continued through until the mid-nineteenth century. The latter half of the nineteenth century brought a period of restoration that continued with the restoration of the Patriarchate of Serbia after World War I.

After World War II conservation and archaeological work was carried out and the monastery became a monastery for women. With the collapse of communistic rule and of the state of Yugoslavia, the monastery came under danger from Kosovo Albanians, as Serbian residents were forced to leave the area.


Restoration of the monastery began in June 2006 and was completed in November 2006. The main purpose of the work was to protect the complex from the weather, as well as repair of the inner walls and exterior appearance. During this work two previously unknown frescoes were uncovered on the north facade of the Church of St. Demetrius, of a Serbian queen and nobleman.

In 1990, the Patriarchate of Pec was added to Serbia's "Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance" list. On July 13, 2006 the monastery was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as an extension of the Visoki Dečani site that overall was placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.