"Sveti Vraci Monastery"
The Monastery was destroyed by Albanians on September 13/14, 1999
The monastery before destruction
The monastery before destruction - the tombs of Fr. Moses and Fr. Damian
Desecrated tombs after the destruction of the monastery
St. Cosmas and Damian's Monastry is situated in the village of Zociste, 5 km. east from Orahovac, near Prizren. The founder of the Monastry is not known nor it is recorded exactly when the monastery was built. It is first mentioned in 1327 in the chryssobule of St. King Stephen of Decani who donated certain estates around the monastry to the Hilandar Monastery on Mount Athos. The oldest preserved fresco fragments date back to the 14th century. The church has been repainted several times. The most important spiritual treasure of the monastery are the holy relics of Saints Cosmas and Damian (November 1/14). There were many miracles performed through the prayers of these saints. Before the war in the monastery there was a young brotherhood of four monks who were under the spiritual guidance of Bishop Artemije. The monastery was organized as a coenobitic community. The brethren of the monastery were active in mounting and laminating paper icons for sale and blessing. They were also active in missionary work, especially with children who were the most frequent visitors to the monastery.
The Monastery used to be frequented by Albanian and Roma Moslems who had special respect for this shrine. Usually they would bring their sick and have the monks read them prayer or leave them lie under the holy relics of SS Cosma and Damian. During the war 1998-1999 the monastery was often targeted by KLA terrorists. In summer 1998 the extremists arrested entire brotherhood and a dozen of elderly civilians who had found refuge in the Monastery before the Albanian terror. On the intervention of the ICRC they were all set free. In that period almost all Serb settlements were depopulated except Velika Hoca village. After the end of the war in June 1999 ethnic Albanians looted and destroyed the remaining Serb houses and expelled the last Serbs from this area. The monks were forced to leave the Monastery already in June 1999. They were evacuated to other monasteries of the Diocese. Since the monastery was finally demolished in September 1999 it still remains deserted and in ruins. The miraculus relics of Ss Cosma and Damian were transferred to Sopocani monastery where they still give healing and consolation to the sick and needy.
Service in the Ruined Monastery
Scenes from Zociste Monastery
OF OUR DIOCESE
Decani / Gracanica / Sopocani / Pecka Patrijarsija /