Tvrdos Monastery is located 4 kilometers west of Trebinje. It is the oldest monastery in Republika Srpska. It is an endowment of King Milutin from the end of the 13th and the beginning of the 14th century.
There is a Serbian people tradition, written in the 17th century, that the Tvrdoš monastery was built by the Holy Emperor Constantine and Empress Jelena in the 4th century. Also, there is a legend that the founder of this shrine was Herceg Stjepan Vukčić Kosača.
Tvrdoš is especially known for the fact that Saint Basil of Ostrog received a monastic vow and a priestly rank in it, after which he served in the monastery as the parish priest of Popovo Polje.
The monastery was renovated for the first time in 1509, and it was renovated by the then Metropolitan of Trebinje Visarion I. After that, it was noted that the monastery was the seat of the Hum-Herzegovina, and then the Trebinje Metropolitan for the next 200 years.
In the earthquake that hit the area of Dubrovnik in 1667, the monastery was significantly damaged, and shortly afterwards it was rebuilt by the Metropolitan of Herzegovina, St. Basil of Tvrdoški and Ostroški Čudotvorac.
During the Turkish-Venetian war, the Venetians blew up the church and the entire monastery in 1694, so the monastery was deserted for almost the next three centuries, until Nikola Runjevac, a Trebinje man who worked in America, gave money to rebuild the shrine in 1928.
The hand of a now unknown saint was transferred from the Duži monastery to Tvrdoš. There are assumptions that it is the hand of the Holy Queen Jelena of Anjou, the mother of the Serbian kings Dragutin and Milutin. Also, on that occasion, a part of the Holy relics of Joasaph Meteorski, the last offspring of the holy lineage of Nemanjić, who was a cousin of the Serbian Tsar Dušan, was transferred to Tvrdoš. son of his brother Siniša Nemanjić.
The architecture of the Tvrdoš monastery is very interesting. During the last renovation, the monastery got almost the same look as it had at the time when it was built by King Milutin. The arrangement of the pillars is very specific, so it seems that the dome of the monastery takes on an elliptical shape, which is why the architecture of the monastery is very reminiscent of the architecture of the endowment of King Milutin’s mother, Jelena Anžujska, Gradac monastery.
The frescoes date from the beginning of the 16th century, and the history of the monastery records the fact that the frescoes were made by the then famous painter from Dubrovnik Vicko Lovrov and a monk from Trebinje named Marko Stefanov.
It is not known who painted the paintings on the iconostasis, but it is known that today’s royal doors in the Savina monastery are decorated with icons that were transferred from the Tvrdoš monastery.
1. Monasteries in Serbia, Tvrdoš Monastery, manastiriusrbiji.com
2. Basements of Tvrdoš Monastery, Tvrdoš Monastery, tvrdosc.om
Ranko / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)
Aniabanja / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0) – Tourist Organization of Trebinje, Tvrdoš Monastery, gotrrebinje.com