Fruškogorski Manastiri

Monasteries of Fruška Gora

Fruška gora is a verdant mountain range stretching across the northern part of Vojvodina in Serbia. Besides its beautiful nature, it is also known as the Serbian Mont Athos, because of Orthodox monasteries on its slopes. They belong to the Eparchy of Srem of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
So, this is a story about three Monasteries of Fruška Gora, an important symbol of Serbian pilgrimage and heritage.

 

Monasteries of Fruška Gora

Once, there were 35 Serbian monasteries in Fruška Gora, built between the 16th and 18th centuries.

But today, only 16 monasteries survived and are still active. All of them are situated in an area 50 km long and 10 km wide. You can reach them in an hour by car from Belgrade, or in about 40 minutes if you are coming from the city of Novi Sad.

During the Ottoman rule, monasteries were devasted and rebuilt many times. Some of them were destroyed during the Second World War and the NATO bombing in 1999. But all of them remind us of the rich history and its important role in the spiritual and cultural life of the Serbian people.

In 1990, the monasteries of Fruška gora were declared Monuments of Culture of Exceptional Importance, and the state protects them. 

So, when you enjoy your visit to Fruška Gora, take your time and see some of these fascinating monasteries.
They are: Krušedol, Grgeteg, Staro Hopovo, Novo Hopovo, Mala Remeta, Velika Remeta, Vrdnik-Ravanica, Petkovica, Rakovac, Divša, Šišatovac, Jazak, Beočin, Privina Glava, Bešenovo i Kuvežedin.

You can visit them individually or within a one-day excursion organized by our travel agencies.
This time we talk about three monasteries, which we visited one sunny day in October.

 

Krušedol Monastery

One of the most important monasteries is the Krušedol Monastery. It is located on the southeastern slopes of Fruška Gora, and about 8 km east of the small town of Irig.

Walls and Entrance to Krušedol Monastery

Walls and entrance to Krušedol Monastery

 

Chestnut trees and the park surround the monastery. The entrance of the monastery complex, which is designed in the shape of the church, looks stunning. It is painted in red, which is the symbol of the Despot’s Lavra, creating a unique feeling when you pass through its wooden carved door.

Church Shaped Gate to the Krušedol Monasteries of Fruška Gora

Church-shaped gate to the Krušedol Monastery

 

This red colour reminds us of Žiča. It is the famous Serbian monastery from the 13th century, the endowment of the Nemanjic dynasty.
👉 You can read more about Žiča, the Serbian monastery coloured red here.

The Krušedol monastery is the endowment of Đorđe Branković, the last male member of the Branković dynasty, and Despot of Serbia from 1486 to 1497. It was founded between 1509 and 1514, with the help of his Mother Angelina, Wallachian Duke Jovan Njagoj, and the Russian Prince Vasili III Ivanovich.

Icons of St Angelina and Her Son Đorđe Brankovic Ktiror

Icons of St Angelina and her son Đorđe Branković

 

Đorđe Branković became a monk at the beginning of 1496 and his monastic name was Maxim. His younger brother Jovan became the new despot. That is the reason why the monastery consists of two units, a male and a female monastery. The male is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Close to it, his mother Despotess Angelina built a female monastery dedicated to the Feast of the Meeting.

 

Inside the monastery walls

The monastery is surrounded by lodges that form a quadrangle around it. The whitewashed church is located in the middle surrounded by the garden and flowers.

the Church in Krušedol Monastery

The Church in Krušedol Monastery

 

Above the church door, on the outer wall, you can see remains of the large and magnificent fresco composition of the Last Judgment from the 16th century.

Entrance to the Church in Krušedol Monastery

Entrance to the Church in Krušedol Monastery

 

Opposite the entrance, there is a bell tower built in 1726.

Rušedol Monastery Bel Tower

The bell tower in Krušedol Monastery

 

The monastery was demolished and robbed several times. Once it had the most valuable treasury of all the Fruška Gora monasteries. The last robbery took place during the Second World War, but a big part of the treasuries were returned in 1946 to the Museum of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade and the monastery.

The impressive iconostasis with 36 icons and vibrant frescos adorns the interior of the church. But taking photos is not allowed inside of the church.

Epitaphs on the Church Krušedol Monastery

Epitaphs on the church

 

Krušedol mausoleum 

The monastery is a mausoleum because Đorđe Branković, his father Despot Stefan, brother Jovan, and mother Angelina were buried there. Angelina was proclaimed a saint by the Serbian Orthodox Church (Venerable Mother Angelina).

Besides them, the relics of several important persons are preserved there, such as patriarch Arsenije III Čarnojević, patriarch Arsenija IV Šakabente, Duke Stevan Šupljikac, Princess Ljubica Obrenović (wife of Prince Miloš Obrenović) and King Milan Obrenović.
👉 You can read more about the Serbian Royal families of Karadjordjević and Obrenović in the post here:
Exhibition “Serbian Royal Portraits”

By the way, Laza Kostić, the famous Serbian poet, stayed in the monastery and grieved over his unfulfilled love for Lenka Đunderski, his friend’s beautiful daughter.
Today, the Krušedol is an active female monastery and nuns take care of him. Also, it became a popular tourist attraction.
If you have time, take a break in the Krušedolka restaurant, located close to the monastery, with a great view of Krušedol and the surrounding nature.

 

Grgeteg Monastery

The monastery of Grgeteg is about 5 km away from Krušedol, in the small village of Grgeteg, surrounded by forests and meadows.

The whitewashed monastery gate is decorated with several icons of saints made of mosaics, giving it a marvellous look. The path leads you through the park to the interesting main entrance with a beautiful mosaic surrounded by the grapevine.

Monastery Fruška Gora Grgeteg Entrance Gate

Entrance Gate to the Grgeteg Monastery

 

According to the legend, the monastery and the church were founded by despot Zmaj Ognjeni Vuk – Despot Vuk Grgurević in 1471, for Grgur, his blind father. It was devasted and rebuilt a few times, and the last one was during the Second World War.

Grgeteg Monastery

Grgeteg Monastery

 

The old stone Church of St Nicholas was replaced in the 18th century with a new one in Baroque style.

Grgeteg Monastery Entrance

Entrance to the Grgeteg Monastery building

 

Once this monastery was very wealthy, with land, vineyards, four mills, and nine watermills.

Inside of the Grgeteg Monastery Complex

Inside of the Grgeteg Monastery complex

 

The church is known by the icon Trojeručica, brought from the Holy Mount of Athos. The iconostasis was painted by famous Serbian painter Uroš Predić in 1902.
But taking photos inside the church is not allowed, just like in Krušedol Monastery.

The lodges and economic buildings surround the church in the monastery complex.

Grgeteg Lodges Konak Fruškogorski Manastiri

Grgeteg lodges

 

Today, Grgeteg is the female monastery.

Grgeteg Monastery Gate Exit from Monaster

Grgeteg Monastery Gate, exit from the monastery

 

 

Novo Hopovo Monastery

 

Novo Hopovo Monastery

Novo Hopovo Monastery

 

Together with Krušedol, the Novo Hopovo is one of the most important monasteries in Fruška Gora. It is believed to be the first endowment of despot Đorđe Branković, built from 1496-1502.

Church in Novo Hopovo Monastery

Church in Novo Hopovo Monastery

 

The present church was built in 1575-1576 by brothers Marko and Lacko Jovšić, in place of the old church. The bell tower was built between 1751 and 1758, with the small St. Stephen’s Chapel upstairs. The church is dedicated to Saint Nicola. It was built in the Moravian style, with stone and bricks, and it was surrounded by lodges.

Church in Novo Hopovo Monastery

The Church in Novo Hopovo Monastery

 

The icons on iconostasis were painted in 1776 by Teodor Kračun, the famous Serbian baroque painter and iconographer.

Iconostas in Novo Hopovo Monastery

Iconostas in Novo Hopovo Monastery

 

The frescos in the church are from the 17th century and their remains look fascinating.

Frescos in the Church of Novo Hopovo Monastery

Inside of the Church of Novo Hopovo Monastery

 

You can see figures of saints, warriors, kings, and various scenes from the Bible. But the most important is the fresco of “The Massacre of the Children of Bethlehem”.

Amazing Frescos in the Novo Hopovo Monastery

Amazing frescos in the Novo Hopovo Monastery

 

Relics of Theodore Tiron

Interestingly, the relics of the Roman military leader, the Holy Great Martyr Theodore Tiron were transferred to the church in the 16th century. It is the oldest relic kept on the territory of Serbia, and it is the most important treasury of the monastery.
Theodore Tiron died in 306 AD because of the Christian faith, and he was the first Sainf of Venice.

Novo Hopovo Monastery Relics of Theodor Tiron

Relics of Theodore Tiron

 

The Female Russian monastery in Novo Hopovo

Since the 17th century, Novo Hopovo has had a strong relationship with monasteries on Mount Athos (Sveta Gora) and Russia.
So, after the First World War, it became a female monastery. Upon the approval of King Alexandar Karađorđević, Russian refugees and nuns from the Lješka monastery arrived at Novo Hopovo. From 1921 to 1925, the hegumeness was Mati Eekatarina, the Russian countess Evgenija Borisovna Efimovska. She restored female monasticism in Serbia, together with 62 Russian nuns.

During the Second World War, the monastery was robbed and demolished. The nuns left it and went to France bringing with them the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary. The relics of hegumeness Ekaterina were found in 1984. You can see her tomb next to the entrance of the church.

the Tomb of Hegumeness Ekaterina in Novo Hopovo Monastery

The tomb of Hegumeness Ekaterina in Novo Hopovo

 

Although the monastery was demolished several times during the Ottoman rule, it was a spiritual and cultural centre. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Hopovo was the second residence of the Belgrade-Srem metropolitans. In the 18th century, there were painting and monastic schools.

Another interesting fact is that Dimitrije Obradović came to the monastery in 1757. He became a monk, got the name Dositej, and stayed there until 1760. Dositej left the monastery and became the first and most important Serbian writer, translator, educator and reformer.

During the Second World War, the bell tower was ruined, as well as frescoes, the monastery library and treasury.

About 2 km away, despot Đorđe Branković built the monastery of Staro Hopovo.

 

 

 Monasteries of Fruška Gora, the guardians of the Serbian heritage

Visiting monasteries provides a unique opportunity to connect with the past. Monasteries of Fruška Gora are spiritual oases. But they are also witnesses to centuries of Serbian culture and tradition.

After visiting the monasteries, we continued our trip to Sremski Karlovci, the baroque town and the wine capital of Vojvodina.
But it is another story, so stay tuned…

 

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Natania
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