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 Patriarchate of Peć UNeSCO WORLD HeRiTaGe SiTe
Gojko Subotić
The Church of the Holy apostles, 13th century
Astructure added to an earlier place of worship near Hvosno at the point where the Bistrica River emerges from its lengthy and picturesque gorge was
of far-reaching significance for the overall subsequent life of the Serbian Church. The site itself with its fortification was called “The Gorge,” while the numerous caves scat- tered about on its rugged cliffs, deep and often hardly vis- ible, gave the neighboring village its name of Peć (cave). Because these grottoes were very early populated by an- chorites this locality was placed under the aegis of the Žiča Monastery and together with them, mentioned in the very first deed granted by King Stefan Provovenčani (the “First- Crowned”). Moreover, the entire region was called Metohija (metochion, in Greek) by token of these monastery estates.
The extensive lice holdings and the monastic commu- nity were governed by the archbishop; it was therefore logical that the churches on these estates were built at his behest, often under his direct supervision. The renewal of an earlier single-nave church in the Peć area and the struc- tures added to it are ascribed by archbishop Nikodim in 1319 to St. Sava himself, who is also mentioned as its found- er in an inscription under his somewhat younger portrait inside the church. it may well be that this first Serbian archbishop was engaged in the raising of a church in the remote locality of Žiča, but there is reason to believe that Sava’s successor arsenije (1233–1263) deserves full credit for the undertaking. The long ceremonious inscription un- der the Deisis in the altar apse ends in a prayer with his name at the close of it. The interior of the church dedicated to the Holy apostles was painted in the years between 1250 and 1260. The archbishop himself manifested his ties to this locality by his decision to be buried there. after his death, when it became known that miracles occurred about his tomb, the church was referred to as arsenije’s.
Of the earlier building, dating from the 11th century the elongated naos was retained, while the remaining parts were expanded on in the Raška architectural mode. Here, too, a dome was built over the central space against the gently pointed arches with pendentives whose lower, square area was shaped into a circular base of the drum. The sub-
The Patriarchate of Peć, ground plan
1. Church of Saint Demetrius
2. Church of the Holy apostles
3. Church of the Mother of God Hodegetria 4. Church of Saint Nicholas
5. Narthex

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