Ubozac (Rdjavac) Monastery

Ubozac Monastery

The impressive remains of the church devoted to the Entrance of the Most Holy Virgin Mary (Theotokos) into the Temple mark today the location of the medieval monastery of Ubozac or Rdjavci, near the village of Gornja Mocara, north east of Kosovska Kamenica.

The origin of the monastery is closely connected to Isaiah the Elder, who was the assistant and advisor of Emperor Dusan and later St. Prince Lazar. This learned and wise monk translated the mystical texts of St. Dionisius Areopagite from Greek into Serbian. He was the author of the famous report on the Serbian defeat in the battle on the Marica River (Bulgaria) in 1317 which marked a steady decline of the Serbian medieval state before invading Ottoman hordes. He is believed to have been the founder of this monastery together with his pious parents George and Kallina, the nobles of King Milutin's court and the masters of this area of Kosovo. Before their repose they received monastic tonsure in this monastery becoming monk Gerasimos and Theodora the nun. Thus the monastery of Ubozac had to be constructed in the first half of the 14th century. Two manuscripts from the monastery dating from the first half of the 15th century are preserved in the library of the Patriarchate of Pec Monastery.

Ubozac Monastery
ruins of the monastery church

The monastery was abandoned during the Great Migration of the Serbs under Patriarch Arsenije Carnojevic in 1690. The church has the base of an inscribed cross with a dome above the central part of the nave, which does not exist oday. The apses are triangular from the outside and covered in dressed stone, while they have a semi circular shape from the inside. A square vestibule is on the west. Parts of stone decorations have been preserved. The church of Ubozac monastery is very similar in structure to the churches of Mount Athos. It is one of the first buildings constructed in the tradition of the Morava school of architecture and is very similar in dimensions to other churches of this tradition, like for instance Ljubostinja in central Serbia.

The monastery compound (consisting of the church, refectory, cellar, bakery, kitchen, stables) was surrounded by walls with two angular towers. All this was recovered in the period of 1963-1966 when extensive archeological excavations were done on this location. The unity of style of the monastery buildings indicates that they were probably constructed at the same time as the church and that they were deliberatly destroyed during the period of Ottoman Moslem domination in Kosovo and Metohija.

Ubozac Monastery

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