Moraca Monastery is located not far from Kolasin. It is located on the bank of the river Morača, after which it got its name. Near the monastery there is the Svetigora waterfall which flows into Morača.
It was founded by Stefan Vukanović Nemanjić, son of Vukan Nemanjić, grandson of Stefan Nemanja, who ruled Zeta. It was built in 1252.
Like other Serbian monasteries, Morača suffered damage during Turkish rule. The monastery was first destroyed in the 16th century, during the penetration of the Turks. At that time, the monastery was set on fire and remained abandoned for about 70 years.
After the Patriarchate of Peć was founded, the renovation of many Serbian monasteries began, including Morača. Prince Vukić Vučević, with the help of Abbot Toma, renovated the monastery. In 1635, the church of St. Nicholas was built, which is today part of the monastery complex.
The Turks attacked the monastery again in 1877, but it was defended thanks to fighters under the leadership of Abbot Mitrofan Ban. In the thirties of the twentieth century, the monastery was once again restored.
The monastery complex consists of two churches. The main ones, dedicated to the Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God and one less dedicated to Saint Nicholas. There is also a boarding house within the complex.
Morača was built in the Raska style, while the main portal was built in the Romanesque style. The church is plastered, unlike many coastal churches in Montenegro, and built of yellow stone.
A stream flows through the yard, which descends through the rocks and creates a beautiful waterfall called Svetigora.
The Church of the Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God is 22.7 meters long, 6.36 meters wide, and its highest height is 23 meters. It is paved with gray marble. The most beautiful architectural detail in the monastery is the double door at the entrance to the middle temple, which is partly made of ivory.
The Church of St. Nicholas is 6 meters high, and the length and width is about 5 meters.
Icons from the original iconostasis have been preserved in the monastery, which fortunately were not destroyed in the fire during the Turkish devastation. The rest are mostly compositions from the life of the prophet Elijah, which represent the artistic treasure of the monastery. The most famous fresco of this composition is “The raven feeds Saint Ilija”.
During the reconstruction of the monastery in the 16th century, Georgije Mitrofanović from Hilandar, one of the best icon painters of his time, took part in the painting. Among others, he painted the fresco “Virgin Mary with Christ”. On the wall of the church of St. Nicholas, there is also the founder of the monastery, Stefan Vukanović Nemanjić, holding the monastery in his hands.
The relics of Stefan Vukanović Nemanjić and Vukan Nemanjić rest in the monastery, as well as the hand of Saint Haralampius.
- Serbian Orthodox Church, Moraca Monastery – witness to history, spc.rs
- Monasteries in Serbia, Moraca Monastery, manastiriusrbiji.com
Djordje Stakić / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)