Visoki Dečani monastery

Visoki Dečani monastery

Visoki Dečani (Serbian: Манастир Високи Дечани or "Manastir Visoki Dečani") is a major Serb Orthodox Christian monastery located in the disputed Serbian province of Kosovo [See also: International reaction to the 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence.] , 12 km south of the town of Peć. The monastic katholikon is the largest medieval church in the Balkans containing the most extensive preserved fresco decoration.Fact|date=August 2008

The monastery was established in a chestnut grove by King Stefan Dečanski in 1327. Its original founding charter is dated to 1330. The following year the king died and was buried at the monastery, which henceforth became his popular shrine. Indeed, the epithet "Dečanski" refers to the king's foundation of the monastery. The construction was continued by his son Stefan Dušan until 1335, but the wall-painting was not completed until 1350.

The monastic church, dedicated to Christ Pantocrator and built from blocks of red-purple, light-yellow and onyx marble, was constructed by builders working under a Franciscan monk, Vitus of Kotor. The church is distinguished by its imposing size and Romanesque and Early Gothic structure and design. Apart from the extensive and well preserved fresco cycles the interior features the original 14th-century stone templon, the throne of the hegumen and the carved wooden sarcophagus of the founder King Stefan.

In 2004, UNESCO listed the monastery on the World Heritage List, citing its frescoes as "one of the most valued examples of the so-called Palaeologan renaissance in Byzantine painting" and "a valuable record of the life in the 14th century". In 2006, it was added to the List of World Heritage Sites in danger due to the potential for attacks by ethnic-Albanian partisans; it is protected by the United Nations' KFOR.

On March 30 2007 an explosion was heard near the monastery. The explosion was confirmed by Serbian and international sources in Kosovo. Bishop Teodosije, the prior of the Visoki Dečani monastery, stated that the incident was a grenade attack on the monastery, with an objective of sending threatening messages to the monks and KFOR forces. []


References and notes

Bratislav Pantelić, "The Architecture of Dečani and the Role of Archbishop Danilo II", Reichert Verlag, 2002.

External links

* [ Evaluation by the World Heritage Committee]
* [ Decani Monastery on]

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