Petrovac and The Rezevici Monastery

Petrovac Travel Blog

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I continued south around the Budva Riviera (as it’s called) to aa point near Zakolac where I had a beautiful view of Petrovac and the tiny island (Sveti Nedelja) with the church on it’s point and it’s tree topped brother, Katic.

The first name of this beautiful town was Lastva by fortress from the 16th century, and the current name of Petrovac na moru is from the end of the First World War. The most beautiful of many cultural and historycal monuments is the very well preserved Roman mosaic from third century. Petrovac is famous for its two Islands: Katic and Sv. Nedelja, where according to legend, a castaway had built a church in gratefulness to God.

I enjoyed the view from this vantage point then started down path to see it closer.

Before I reach Petrovac, I was side tracked by another monastery, Resevici. The Pastrovic clan live along the most beautiful part of the Adriatic Coast, between Budva and Petrovac Their oldest tribe is the Rezevici after whom the monastery and the nearby river are named. At a confluence on the river peoples' assemblies were held, judges and representatives of authority were elected, and important decisions were made. It was here also that the prince who ruled over the Pastrovici was elected. The last prince was Stefan Stiljanovic - St. Stefan - whose relics rest in the Cathedral of Belgrade.

The Pastrovici have four monasteries: Praskvica, Gradiste, Rezevici, and Duljevo, as well as thirty six parish churches.

The Monastery of Rezevici is situated on a picturesque hillside, not far from the sea, near Petrovac, and in the immediate vicinity of the famous tourist complex Sveti Stefan. According to tradition, pagan temples and ancient graves existed here, some of which can still be seen. The Serbian king Stefan the First-Crowned spent some time in the Rezevici. He built the church of the Dormition of the Mother of God, consecrated in 1223. Emperor Dusan erected the Church of the Archdeacon Stefan, consecrated in 1351, and on that occasion he presented the Pastrovici with his famous Law Codex, which they used at the councils at Drobni Pijesak, and when they made decisions upon the Sudino Brdo (The Hill of Judgment). The monastery of Rezevici was also mentioned in an inscription on an icon from 1423, painted by Hieromonk Nikodim. In one document from 1612, in which the farmers of the Soljaga Brotherhood offered some cultivated land to the monastery, the church of the Dormition and the Monastery are referred to.

Until the first half of the 19th century there used to be here, by the road, a stone column with a hollow recess where citizens of the nearby villages used to put a bowl of wine as a sign of hospitality towards the passers-by. It is said that Raymond of Toulouse, with his crusaders, drank wine from this bowl.

The monastery of Rezevici has throughout its long history often been robbed and destroyed, especially by the Turkish army in 1705 and 1785. The French plundered it in 1812 because of the covenant of the Pastrovici with the Prince Bishop of Montenegro Petar I Petrovic Njegos, who launched a campaign for the liberation of the Gulf of Kotor and the Montenegrin Coastland from French occupation.

There are two churches that make up this complex.

The Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God which is 13th century and The Holy Trinity Church which is 18th century. Many elements of this monastery remind me of ancient religious buildings in Croatia. There is even a copper relief over the main door to the larger church which is a traditional craft of the region.

The Holy Trinity Church is frescoed in glorious living color. It reminds me of Bulgarian and Cypriot frescos. Fantastic use of shading and the combination of deep rich jewel tones used as background colors with lighter muted shades for accent. It was erected by the blind abbot Dimitrije Perazic. The church is in the form of the cross, with an altar apse, and on the right a small apse for chanting. From an architectural point of view it forms a part of the church of the Dormition of the Mother of God.

Above the main entrance there is a large white rosette. The church has a square bell tower 20 meters high. The new iconostasis has been preserved; it was painted by the native painter Marko Gregovic.

The Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God is really, really small. Frescoes from the beginning of the 17th century and some remains of frescoes from the 18th century have been preserved. It is assumed that they were the work of the well-known artist Strahinja from Budimlje, who painted frescoes in many churches at that time. The iconostasis was painted in 1833 by Aleksije Lazovic from Bijelo Polje.

The icons have been well preserved. The most prominent of them are: Christ the Pantocrator, the Mother of God (the Oranta), the composition on the theme of Christ's passion from the Old and New Testaments, the hagiographic figures of holy martyrs and warriors.

In the altar apse then are figures of the Church Fathers, the composers of liturgies for the celebration of the Eucharist and on the high wall of the sanctuary there is a partly preserved Deisis of Christ the Saviour.

 It’s frescoed are very old and in poor condition but….they are 800 years old. The better ones are closer to the back to the church. If you look up you can make out that they reused the stones after earthquakes for the rebuild. They just didn’t do a great job in getting things right. You can see that there are pieces of what must be fresco…….here and there in no pattern.

I left and drove down to the beachfront of Petrovac but, it started to rain. I decided to continue on.

I had initially planned to continue down to Bar but, the weather worsened and I decided to turn back. I did, however, get to a different vantage point to the south of Petrovac before turning around.

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Petrovac
photo by: dexter81