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Gojko Subotić
 Saint Sava I depicted as a Patriarch,
east wall of the narthex, the Patriarchate of Peć, ca. 1380
of the great church. archbishop Danilo, having in mind the space required by ecclesiastical Councils, arranged its interior by installing stone seats along the walls, the same kind of which could be seen in the interior of the buildings accommodated to the needs of various spiritual congrega- tions all around the Byzantine world.
The relatively fragile construction of the narthex did not stand the test of time, and there were no conditions for its maintenance. in the course of the first century of Otto- man rule, which permanently spread over Metohija in 1455, the monastery was no more the see of the spiritual heads, nor did it own its former large estates. The village of Peć, which owing to the proximity of the Patriarchate had de- veloped into a settlement with a market-place, became a Turkish town. The fraternity of the monastery—it is seen from the registers of the new authorities—at times num- bered only few monks, the life in it was dying out, and the buildings falling into ruin.
The decline and suffering of the large spiritual center was halted by the restoration of the Patriarchate of Peć in 1557. The need to control more easily the life of the Ortho- dox populace in the empire, which by the middle of the 16th century had been considerably expanded by the con- quest of vast areas to the north of the Danube and the Sava, induced the Sublime Porte (Ottoman Government) to sepa- rate Serbian bishoprics from the existing administrative division and to return autonomy to them within the bor- ders of the Serbian Church in the second half of the 14th century. Such a decision was influenced by the fact that during these decades a number of highest dignitaries close to Suleyman the Magnificent were of Serbian origin. They reached the sultan’s court by the selection from the ranks of gifted boys who were brought to Constantinople within the so called “tribute in blood.”
Of the colorful façades of Danilo’s narthex, only the southern one was preserved in its entirety—on the occa- sion of restoration, around 1560—and, apart from it, a part of the western front. it is obvious that the whole edifice was badly damaged, so that all the groin vaults on the ground- -floor had to be rebuilt, and on that occasion they became barrel-vaults. The upper floor with the catechumenon and the bell tower was not restored at all. The space which spread before the believers was not shrunk by that. However, the general impression changed, because the interior was not open any more. it is assumed that at that time it was diffi- cult to bring skillful stonemasons and builders who would repeat the light shapes of the pillars and arches, but the main reason must have been the fact that the space of such a shape, in the conditions in which the idea of an open nar- thex had been achieved, was not suitable for the long prayers of the monks who, from autumn to the spring, were ex- posed to the cold and humid air blowing along the canyon of the Bistrica river toward the Metohian plain. Because of that the apertures between the piers and pillars—reclining and unsafe—were closed by thick screening walls, while the northern part of the edifice underwent considerable reconstruction.
Simultaneously with the restoration of the ruined and dilapidated edifices inhabited by the dignitaries and offi- cials of the restored church center, the interior of the church- es was rearranged, especially of the narthexes. at the be-

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