Monasteries on Fruska Gora
Less than 15 km away from Novi Sad there is a wooded mountain called Fruška Gora which is appealing for its harmony of natural beauty and rich history. On this strategic place during a long history, many nations and empires had built their fortresses and left an indelible mark to future generations. Ever since late middle ages, thick forests of Fruška Gora, protected by a mighty river Danube, offered shelter to Serbian spirituality, art and culture. Fruška Gora is often compared to Sveta Gora (Holy Mountain) for its impressive complex of Serbian medieval monasteries of great beauty and priceless spiritual value. Seventeen monasteries on Fruška Gora make a unique collection of densely distributed shrines built during a time span from 15th until 17th century as Serbian royal families’ endowments. Monasteries on Fruška Gora are guardians of Serbian religion, tradition and customs, but they are also unique monuments of Serbian artistic creativity from the Middle Ages.
Krušedol Monastery. The monastery church is dedicated to Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and an endowment of the last Serbian despot Đurađ Branković. It was built between 1509 and 1516. This monastery was a mausoleum of family Branković, but Turks had burnt their relics at the beginning of the 18th century. King Milan Obrenović was later buried in the monastery and today there is a treasury where portraits of some of Obrenović dynasty members are kept as part of their furniture, manuscript books and old icons.
Velika Remeta Monastery. This monastery dates back to 15th century and was dedicated to Saint Dimitrije. It is surrounded by residences from all sides and has the highest belfry in Srem, 38.6 metres tall. The fact that the monastery was painted from the outside as well is very interesting. Today it is very difficult to observe this since only the fresco of Virgin Mary with a small Jesus sitting at the throne and holding a child that she blesses with her right hand can barely be seen. It is a male monastery and in a good shape.
Grgeteg Monastery. The monastery church is dedicated to St Nicolas. The exact time when the monastery was built is unknown, but according to tradition, the founder was despot Zmaj Ognjeni Vuk. The old iconostasis is the work of the most significant representative of Serbian Baroque and Classicism Jakov Orfelin and the new iconostasis was painted by Uroš Predić. There is a chapel dedicated to St Serafim Sarovski in the residence. The monastery is one of the most beautiful and the biggest on Fruška Gora and it is active with monks and nuns taking care of it.
Novo Hopovo Monastery. The monastery church is dedicated to St Nicolas. Monastery complex is one of the greatest building values according to the applied eclecticism, combining Serbian medieval civil engineering, influences from Vlaška and Islam. The fresco “Slaughter of children in Bethlehem” stands out for its expressiveness. The iconostasis is a piece of work by a prominent painter Teodor Kračun. The residence keeps the work with a memorial museum dedicated to the Serbian educator Dositej Obradović, who became a monk here in 1758.
Staro Hopovo Monastery. Situated 3 km from Novo Hopovo. It is dedicated to St Pantelejmon. Unconstructed forest road leads to the monastery so it is accessible only to pedestrians. During the 2nd World War, the monastery was damaged and part of the saved icons can be found at the Museum of Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade. Works on the monastery and its alley are underway; hence visitors looking for hidden places on Fruška Gora will soon be able to discover its charm, spiritual signature and history.
Kovilj Monastery. It has been under the state protection since 1949. According to the tradition, the monastery was founded by Saint Sava in 1220, but first reliable data date back to 1651. During the 17th century, the monastery was devastated four times by Turks and it was renewed at the beginning of the 18th century. Today it is in Serbian-Byzantine style of Morava school, in strict simplicity. Golden and marbled iconostasis is richly decorated by woodcut and scenes from the life of Jesus and great copies of “The Sistine Madonna with St. Sixtus” and “The Last Supper”, the work of our academic painter Aksentije Marodić.
Vrdnik Monastery. It is best known as Vrdnička Ravanica, dedicated to the holiday of the Ascension of Christ. The exact time when the monastery was built is unknown, but it is assumed that the monastery was founded at the end of 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century. During the great migration, relics of Prince Lazar were brought here, wherefrom it got the name Ravanica as a memory of Lazar’s old endowment. Due to war, relics of Prince Lazar were moved to Belgrade in 1942 so that in the nineties of the 20th century, the coffin with relics of Prince Lazar was returned to his endowment Moravska Ravanica.
Jazak Monastery. The monastery with the Church of The Holy Trinity was built in 1758. It was reconstructed in the 20th century. This is the youngest monastery on Fruška Gora as well as the most beautiful monument on Fruška Gora. The church was undamaged during the 2nd World War, while the residence was devastated. Icons on the Virgin Mary`s Throne are a piece of work of our most famous Baroque painter Teodor Kračun. Many prominent figures are related to this monastery from King Dragutin to Teodor Avramović Tican.
Mala Remeta Monastery. According to the tradition, King Dragutin Nemanjić gave it as an appendage to Monastery Rača. The exact time when the monastery was founded is unknown; the only thing that is certain is that it was destroyed during the Turks time and that monks moved in to the destroyed monastery in 17th century from the devastated and robbed Rača Monastery. Monastery Church is dedicated to the Cover Virgin. This monastery is an example of traditional architecture from areas south of the Danube and Sava and a lack of Baroque influence can be noticed inside.
Rakovac Monastery. The first record of the monastery goes back to 1545. The monastery church is dedicated to Holy Sorcerer. This monastery was famous for its transcription and literature and it was here that Dušan`s Canon was transcribed and a famous manuscript from Rakovac “Srbljak” was finished here, containing all the praise songs to Serbian rulers – saints. Another important feature of this monastery is that it is one of the oldest monasteries besides Krušedol and Velika Remeta.
Beočin Monastery. As with most of monasteries on Fruška Gora, the founder of Beočin Monastery is unknown. First data on this monastery dates back from 16th century. There is unusually little data on this monastery, especially concerning the fact that it is a very significant monastery on Fruška Gora. An important event from the history of the monastery is moving of the relics of Stefan the First Crowned from Fenek Monastery in 1815. The monastery did not suffer any destruction during the 2nd World War.
Bešenovo Monastery. According to the tradition, the monastery dates back from 13th century. However, the most reliable written evidence on this monastery is the Turkish registration of Srem in 1546. It was reconstructed in 19th and 20th century, but the church of the Bešenovo Monastery kept its prior shape in the basis all to the 2nd World War when it was destroyed. Unfortunately, there is not much left of this big and important monastery today. During the 90s of 20th century, a small chapel was built of wood under old linden trees on the remnants of the ruins of this holy place, not giving time to forget it.
Šišatovac Monastery. As opposed to most monasteries on Fruška Gora, it is fairly certain when Šišatovac Monastery had been built. The monks of the Žiča Monastery founded it in 1520. The year 1812 is the most interesting period of time for this monastery when Lukijan Mušicki – archimandrite of this monastery, lived in it and brought together the most eminent Serbian intellectuals of the time like Vuk Karadžić, Jakov Gerčić and others. This monastery was completely destroyed during the 2nd World War and today a church and one residence building make a monastery complex.
Potkovica Monastery. Monastery church is dedicated to St Petka, the protector of mothers and children, and especially women who have no children. It has kept its original look until today, only the wooden belfry was replaced with a wall one in 18th century. The monastery has, besides the church, newly-built residence where you can spend the night. By the construction of the residence, Petkovica has been newborn, electricity installed, a well drilled and a fish pond dug out. Nuns take care of this monastery today.
Kuveždin Monastery. The church of Kuveždin Monastery is dedicated to St Sava. This monastery played a very important role in spreading the cult of first Serbian educators, among whom were St Sava and St Simeon. The monastery was extremely devastated during the 2nd World War so that there are only ruins now. There are works being performed on the monastery, the church was reconstructed from the outside as well as one part of the residence and the drive-way was paved. Kuveždin Monastery is a male monastery.
Divša Monastery. This monastery known as Đipša among people, dates back from the end of 15th and the beginning of 16th century according to the oldest written document. This monastery was much farther from the settlements, therefore very poor. Đipša Monastery was severely damaged during the 2nd World War, it was mined and the belfry had a crack and it was later taken done because of great damage. Extensive works on the reconstruction were done in 2006 and 2007. The monastery is dedicated to St Nikola and nuns take care of it.
Privina Glava Monastery. The monastery is dedicated to St Aranđelo Mihajlo and Gavrilo. According to the tradition, it is supposed that this is the oldest monastery on Fruška Gora and it was mentioned that it was built early in 12th century. It is however more probable that it was built during 15th century. The church with a residence is one of the rarest that was not devastated in the 2nd World War, the treasury with library was burned and the monks were expelled. After the war, the Provincial Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments in Novi Sad has begun to take care of this monastery.