Page 109 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 109

The Cathedral of the Mother of God of Ljeviša
Gojko Subotić
From Byzantine times, the church organization retained an episcopate in Prizren and the Cathe- dral in Ljeviša, a present-day densely populated
town traversed by the Bistrica River. The old center was renovated at the time, but only for the needs of the new eparchical administration. its appearance was radically altered only later, at the outset of the 14th century. The broad, three-aisled church with external three-sided apses and a narthex open toward the church interior, was lighted by windows above the lateral naves, while archaeological investigations have shown that the west- ern façade had a porch with lateral low spaces similar to those along the narthex. it is difficult to ascertain the date when the basilica was erected despite many analogous examples in the architecture of the eastern Christian world, because it belonged to a type of much earlier Byzantine traditional structures such as prevailed even after the re-establishment of the emperor’s author- ity in these regions. a number of marble fragments from the low altar screen typical of the 6th century testify, as in Hvosno, to the existence of an earlier Christian shrine in this locality. in the 11th century the church was, without a doubt, the seat of the Prizren bishops as cited in a document of Basil ii’s, in which he con- firms the rights and defines the extent of the Ohrid Diocese. For their part, the scant but valuable frag- ments of bas-relief ornamentation carved in the walls were built later, also confirming by their plasticity and style that they belong to the same period.
There are no indications that after 1219 the Cathe- dral, as part of the Serbian archbishopric, altered its appearance in any essential way. archaeological exca- vation has indicated only that the church’s lateral aisles—previously covered by a wooden construc- tion—were then placed under a single roof.
The Church of the Mother of God of Ljeviša, on the other hand, was soon afterwards enhanced with new wall-paintings, but the remaining fragments exposed when restoration work removed the outer layers, re- vealed only a small part of the once elaborate frescos. a fairly well-preserved depiction of the Healing of the Blind and an image of the Savior from the Wedding at
Mother of God Eleousa with Christ Child
the Nourisher of our Life, southern aisle, Church of the Mother of God of Ljeviša, 13th century

   107   108   109   110   111