Holy Virgin of Hvosno Monastery

Bogorodica Hvostanska

The ruins of the Bogorodica Hvostanska monastery overlooking the Metohija valley

The Monastery of Virgin Hvostanska is located at the foot of Mokra Mountain, near the village of Vrela, 20 km north of Pec. From the medieval times this area is also known as Hvosno.The earliest buildings on this location date from the mid 6th century. Within a Byzantine castrum there was a three nave basilica with narthex belonging to the early Byzantine period.

When the region of Hvosno became part of the newly established Serbian kingdom in the 12th century many new churches were built. The ruins of the Byzantine basilica were reconstructed in the third decade of the 13th century and a new cathedral of the Holy Virgin was constructed with adjoining monastery buildings. The church base was shaped as a single-nave basilica with a transept, dome and the altar space which was semi-circular from the inside and rectangular from the outside. The exonarthex was on the west as well as the rectangular vestibule. It was built in the traditon of the medieval Serb school of Raska with characteristic influences of the Romanesque architecture which flourished in the nearby Zeta (Montenegro). The church was called Mala Studenica (Small Studenica) or Studenica Hvostanska with association to the famous Serb Orthodox monastery of Studenica, central Serbia built in the similar architectural tradition. The cathedral was also painted with frescoes after the architectural works had been completed. A smaller church of single-nave design, with a semi-circular apse and semi-spherical arch ceiling was constructed on the south of the main church in the middle of the 14th century.

After 1219, when the Serbian church was granted full jurisdictional authonomy by the throne of Constantinople, this monastery became a center of the newly established Diocese of Hvosno, which was later promoted to the metropolitanate in 1381. From 1221, when Prochorus, the first Bishop of Hvosno is mentioned, to 1635, when the monastery is last mentioned in written documents, the names of 17 Bishops who resided in this monastery are mentioned in the Church records. The second part of the 16th century was the period of flourishing spiritual and artistic activities in the monastery and the last Metropolit Victor was mentioned in 1635.

The monastery was deserted and began to decay most probably at the time of Velika Seoba (Great Migration) in 1690 when large number of Serbs led by their Patriarch Arsenios left Kosovo and southern parts of Serbia fleeing before Turkish retalliations which ensued after one unsuccesful Christian uprising.

Since the monastery was deserted, local Albanians from Vrelo village began using the stone from this church which made the entire complex deteriorate rapidly, similarly to the Holy Archangels monastery near Prizren.

The ruins of the monastery complex were explored in 1930 and from 1966 to 1970 when conservation works were carried out on the remains of church. Beside the church, living quarters, monastery refectory and other facilities have been found.

Just before the Kosovo war 1998-1999 Bishop Artemije planned reconstruction of this holy site and founding a new monastery. Entire complex is now without any protection and there are reasons for fear that the local Albanians will destroy even existing ruins of this monastery.

Remains of the cathedral

Reconstruction of the cathedral as it looked like in the 13th century


full frameset

/ Decani / Gracanica / Sopocani / Pecka Patrijarsija /
/ Crna Reka / Devic / Sv. Vraci / Sv. Arhangeli /
/ Sv. Trojica / Sokolica / Gorioc / Binac /
/Draganac / Djurdjevi StupoviDuboki Potok / Koncul

Banjska / Dolac / Budisavci / St. Mark / Korisa
Hvostanska / Ubozac
/ Kmetovci / St. Uros