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ability to restore old, and build new churches, manly where they were located during the time of Serbian Medieval king- dom. it is during this period that we find the Church of Devič restored and the chapel on the grave of Saint joani- kije built into the church after the Saint’s death, both of which were frescoed in 1578. The surviving inscription tes- tifies that it was done by abbot Pahomiјe and hieromonk Longin with the brothers. in the monastery during this period and later until the 19th century, ecclesiastical books were copied, bound and covered with priceless jackets. and all this time the people came to the grave of Saint joanikije to be healed. Orthodox Christians and Moslems came, ma- ny of whom returned healed. it is still like this today. The small monastery church has been renovated and extended many times. inside, there are three layers of frescos, the oldest, then the one done in 1578 and the newest one done in 1863, which in 1966 was removed to reveal the older and more valuable frescos.
The entire history of this monastery has been a battle for survival and the execution of its sublime mission. The blows were consistent, the struggle constant. The greatest suffering which the Monastery of Devič experienced was at the beginning of the World War ii. in the tragic year of 1941, the Muslim albanians burnt and razed the monastery to the ground and murdered the abbot Damaskin Boško- vić. The italians pilfered the church bells. The monastery remained as a heap of rocks which covered the chapel and the grave of St. joanikije, in that way protecting it. The war passed and ended, restoration of the country began, but the monastery remained in ruins. However, God’s will was to be seen.
in 1947, Monastery Devič underwent its own resurrec- tion. On the 17th of March, sister Paraskeva Simeunović, novice Stoya, who later became sister Thecla and priest- monk Makarije Popović, who later became abbot of Mon- astery Dečani, came to the monastery. “We went on foot that day, remembers Mother Paraskeva.” “We spoke little
Inscription of restoration of the dormitory of the Monastery of Devič in 1956
Monastery of Devič, 15th century, Drenica area, destroyed by Muslim albanians in 1941
on the way. as we got nearer the monastery, each step be- came more difficult. a chill filled our souls—in what state would we find the monastery? When we finally reached the peak of the hill, at the base of which the monastery is located, a sad picture came into view. it was as if God Him- self wept at the sight of the rubble... in the desire to serve God with all one’s being and soul, for man it is most diffi- cult to understand His will, His plans for us. How did He in His pre-eternity decide where i am to be at this particular moment. On that day on the hill above the monastery we knew surely that God through our work and the work of other who would join us, would renovate the monastery and re-establish normal life there. That is what He asked of us, and it came to be so. Our little sisterhood began to grow and the Serbians from neighboring villages began to come to our huge workground. That is how restoration of the monastery began.”
The sisters could not immediately settle in these ruins. at first they lived in the basement of a house in the village of Ludović, “having nothing to eat, or a seat,” as Mother Paraskeva says. However this did not discourage them. Firstly they began to clear away the rubble covering the chapel and in the chapel with their spiritual father: they prayed to God and St. joanikije to give them the strength to endure all. and they lasted out. in 1947, the chapel be- came functional; by the end of 1953, the church was erect- ed, and consecrated by Bishop Vladimir on the Dormition of the Mother of God. in 1956, a new refectory was erected next to the church, following which a tall fence was put up around the monastery in 1959. a new refectory with a cha- pel was begun in 1963 and completed shortly after. in 1968, a chapel was built on the miracle working spring in the stream below the monastery where the beech tree is lo- cated in which St. joanikije underwent spiritual perfecting. a new bell tower was erected in 1970 at the expense of the Devič sisters Varvara and eufemia, whilst a new common dining room was built in 1973. another building with a ’ga- rage was begun in 1976 and the church was enriched with a ’new iconostasis in 1977. The wood carving was done by
The Suffering of Devič Monastery

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