Page 75 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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 Service of the Hierarchs, Church of the Holy apostles, altar apse, the Patriarchate of Peć, ca. 1260
calamity that had befallen Žiča, the Serbian archbishops temporarily moved to Peć. in recent times, it has justly been observed that this move did not simply mean transferring the see of the archbishopric, but also taking over some of its functions. Žiča continued to be regarded as the center of the Serbian Church whose prelates occasionally sojourned there in later centuries as well. Nevertheless, the ecclesias- tical administration gradually shifted southwards where, in the following period, the residences of the Serbian kings were frequently located.
Parallel with these developments, the anchorites con- tinued their peaceful lives in their nearby cave abodes. at the time of the archbishop jakob (1286–1292), two Greek monks left a Dečani cell for Kotrulica, doubtlessly one of the caves in the Bistrica river Gorge of Peć. Their cave was “enclosed” with walls for their needs. Like other hermits, they spent most of their time in isolation and only on Sun- days descended to the Church of the Holy apostles for prayers and communion.
Today one can still see a number of these hermits’ caves on the left side of the river. as in Koriša, the Peć dwellings were enclosed with walls that have been preserved in ma-
ny places, some of them several metres high. Here, like- wise, in places set aside for religious activities, traces of frescos are still visible. These rough-hewn abodes were usu- ally inter-connected by steps carved into the rock or else made of wood which also covered the light roofs and the narrow passages. incised supports that carried the wood- en beams can still be seen on all sides. However, some of the cells could be reached only by rope ladders while heavy loads had to be raised by pulleys.
Thus these modest dwellings whose living conditions were made even more arduous by rain and snow, and their accessibility most hazardous, were nevertheless islands of intensive intellectual activity. The renowned writer and subsequent Patriarch, jefrem, between 1355 and 1371 wrote most of his canons and 170 stichera in such a cell, where the scribes did not enjoy any better conditions. Thus, there are no grounds for the generally held belief that the scrip- toria were housed in spacious, specially built premises. examples from the Meteora in Thessaly likewise confirm the fact that those cells, clinging to the cliffs like nests, also produced exceptional works in the fields of transcription and illumination.
Patriarchate of Peć

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