The Patriarchate of Peć is located near Peć, near the river Pećka Bistrica at the entrance to the Rugova gorge. It is one of the most important monuments of Serbian history. It has been the seat of Serbian archbishops and patriarchs for centuries.
The exact time of the founding of the mother church is not known. It is assumed that on the place where the Patriarchate of Peć is located, during the life of Saint Sava, the convent of the monastery Zice was founded, which was then the seat of the Serbian archbishopric.
Due to the frequent attacks on Žiča, Archbishop Arsenija I built the Church of the Holy Apostles near Peć, wanting to move the seat to more peaceful areas. Around 1250, the church was painted. The temple was later named the Holy Savior.
On the north side of this oldest church, Archbishop Nicodemus built the church of St. Demetrius around 1320.
Later, in 1330, Nicodemus’ successor, Archbishop Danilo II, built a temple dedicated to the Mother of God Hodegetria on the south side of the Holy Apostles, and then a smaller church dedicated to Saint Nicholas. In front of the main three churches, he erected a monumental narthex, and in front of it a large pyre – a tower. During the time of Archbishop Ioannicius, around 1345, the church of St. Demetrius was painted.
From the 13th to the 17th century, Serbian archbishops and patriarchs were buried in the churches of the Peć Patriarchate.
After the Turkish conquest of Serbia, life in the monastery died down for a while, especially before the Ohrid Archbishopric took over the administration of the former Serbian church territory.
After the Patriarchate of Peć became the center of the Serbian church again in 1557, a new life began in the monastery. As early as 1565, almost the entire narthex of Danilo was painted. At that time, the iconostasis in the churches in Peć were renovated, and the treasury was replenished.
Patriarch Paisius initiates another significant renewal. Then the churches were covered with lead, the church of St. Demetrius was fortified architecturally, in 1620/1621. year, the famous painter Georgije Mitrofanović repeated almost half of the frescoes in it.
In 1633-1634, Patriarch Paisius partially renovated the church of the Holy Apostles, so that the western part of the temple was decorated with wall paintings. The dining room is also covered. At that time, the Patriarchate of Peć was establishing ties with Russia. The abbots of the Patriarchate in Russia receive gifts, both in money and in printed books and liturgical objects.
The new renewal of the Pec Patriarchate took place during the time of Patriarch Maxim. At that time, the monastery complex was fenced (1672-1673), the church of St. Nicholas was painted (1673-1674), and then in 1677 an iconostasis was built in it.
During the great Austro-Turkish war in the 17th century, the monastery treasury was hidden in a dome of the Gracanica monastery, but it was looted by the Turks in 1688. When the patriarch Arsenije III fled to Austria in 1689, the pasha of Peć, Mahmud Begović, robbed everything that remained in the monastery. Patriarch Moses later bought the land, and in 1720 he erected a fence. After that, the Church of the Holy Apostles received a new iconostasis.
During the Austro-Turkish War 1737-1739. year, the monastery also fell into great trouble. In the second migration, Patriarch Arsenija IV Shakabenta transferred the collected valuables to Sremske Karlovce in the meantime.
From the second half of the 18th and in the 19th century, due to the difficult economic situation, there were no major works, but still in the church of St. Demetrius, priest Simeon Lazović painted a new iconostasis in 1803, and three years later his son Aleksije made icons for the monastery.
The Patriarchate of Peć was also looted in 1831 by Arslan Pasha of Bosnia. In the middle of the 19th century, the abbots erected new buildings in the monastery. In 1847, a mill was renovated in the southwestern part of the gate, and in 1850, a boarding house was built next to it. Around 1863, a richly carved throne of the Mother of God was made in the church of the Mother of God, and in 1875 Avram, the son of the famous Dič Zograf from the Debar area, restored the wall paintings in the churches of the Patriarchate, especially in the Holy Apostles. In 1889, the Peć guilds with the management of the monastery erected a wall on the east side of the gate. At the end of the 19th century, in 1895, a representative residence was built in the northwestern part of the gate, and in 1912 a new wall was built on the south side of the gate.After the end of the First World War in the Patriarchate of Peć, after the unification of the Serbian Church, the first patriarch of the renewed Patriarchate, Dimitrije, was enthroned in 1924. Since then, all Serbian patriarchs have been enthroned in the Pec Patriarchate. During 1931 and 1932, extensive conservation works were carried out under the leadership of arch. Đurđe Bošković, who partially restored the original appearance to the Patriarchate of Peć. Even after the Second World War, significant conservation works and archeological examinations were carried out in the Patriarchate complex on several occasions. The new konak, on the west side of the narthex, was built in 1981.
Literature:Serbian Orthodox Church, Parish of St. Demetrius of Thessaloniki, St. Dimitrije.no