Holy Archdeacon Stephen
is situated in the town of Banjska in the vicinity of Kosovska Mitrovica.
Banjska was the endowment of King Milutin. It was constructed between
1312 and 1316. The monastery was built as King Milutin`s burial church,
and it was thus better furnished and more elaborately decorated than
Milutin`s other endowments.
The church of the Holy Archdeacon Stefan was built upon an older church
site, where the Bishopric of Banjska was situated in the second half
of 13th century. It was during the reign of Milutin`s father, King Uros
I. During the reign of King Milutin, Banjska monastery was promoted,
and became the fourth among Serbian monasteries. Having obtained approval
from Archbishop Sava III (1309-1316) and Jelena (his mother), Milutin
assigned construction of this sacred place to his spiritual father,
Prior Danilo, whom had come from Chilandar. When King Milutin passed
away in Nerodimlje in 1321, Archbishop Danilo II (1324-1337) relocated
his body to Banjska. Theodora, Emperor Dushan`s mother, was buried in
the north chapel soon after Milutin. Milutin`s relics were transferred
to Trepca by monks in 1389, and later, in 1445, they were taken to Sofia,
Bulgaria, where they still are. During the 17th century, Banjska was
transformed into a mosque. The monastery suffered the greatest devastation
in 1689, when Turkish and Austrian armies used it as a fortress during
the Austrian-Turkish war. In the same century, monastery floors were
dug out, so that the gold mentioned by Archbishop Danilo could be found.
In 1915, two rings, a gold one and a silver one, were found in Theodora`s
grave. These rings are considered the most significant specimen of Serbian
medieval jewelry. Banjska church was restored in 1938.
The church of Banjska
monastery belongs to the group of Ras church buildings. It was built
according to the plan of the Most Holy Theotokos in Studenica. The base
in the shape of a one-nave building with a semi circular altar apse.
Choir apses leading to side chapels are north and south from the nave
of the church. The vestibule with two domes -belfries- is on the west.
It was made of dressed stone in three colors. The most significant item
of Banjska sculpture is the Theotokos with Christ, currently situated
in nearby monastery of Sokolica.
Only fragments of
images of saints in the arch medallions under the dome have remained
out of the formerly abundant fresco-paintings in the church of Banjska
within the monastery complex started more than two decades ago and have
not been finished jet.
The church of Banjska Monastery - temporarily restored
after turbulent history
Banjska monastery still waiting for its final reconstruction
St. Milutin, the King of Serbia and the founder of
in Gracanica Monastery
OF RASKA AND PRIZREN DIOCESE
Decani / Gracanica / Sopocani / Pecka Patrijarsija /
Reka / Devic / Sv. Vraci / Sv. Arhangeli /
Trojica / Sokolica / Gorioc
Potok / Koncul
/ St. Mark
Home Page - KOSOVO THE LAND OF THE LIVING PAST