Information Service of
the Serbian Orthodox Church

May 15, 2004


The Central Body for completion of St. Sava Cathedral in Vracar (Belgrade) met on Saturday, May 15, 2004 in the Belgrade Patriarchate. All the members of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, as well as representatives of their respective dioceses, took part in the meeting, where professor Dr. Vojislav Milovanovic, the master builder of the Cathedral, presented a report on the construction work completed during the past year.

The following work was completed in 2003 and during the present year up to this year's regular session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops: All work on the installation of marble and granite on the facade of the Cathedral was completed, as well as all work on the construction of the parish home and St. Sava Square. Marble plates were used to cover 9,600 square meters of the facade of the cathedral, as well as 850 square meters of pillar elements, portal windows, column capitals, doors, pilasters, for profiling of granite base elements and many other details, totaling 2,700 tons. These tasks required the most contemporary organization, planning and supervision of the work, which was carried out on schedule. The building of wreaths of red granite on the cupola and semi-cupolas was completed, as well as the large oak doors with iron frames, and various cement, welding and other accompanying work as foreseen at the last meeting of the Central body.

Plans for the interior were completed, and construction and craftwork on installations and the artistic preparation of reliefs on a surface of 1,200 square meters is currently in progress. Panels in stone relief, according to the drawings of late architect Aleksandar Deroko, are being prefabricated and their mounting is planned in the next eight months. At the same time, work will begin on the first 7.40 meters of parapet above which the panels in stone relief will be placed. It is planned that the interior of the church will be covered in mosaic, covering an area of 12,000 square meters which, God willing, will be done after the installation of the relief plates.

The entire complex (St. Sava Cathedral, the small St. Sava chapel and the parish hall) are connected to the city's central heating network.

During the period between the two meetings of the Central body, the biggest and at the same time the only park square in Belgrade St. Sava Square was completed. The builder and financier of this project is the Belgrade Direction for Construction Property and Building. The total surface area of St. Sava Square is 59,039 square meters: 34,400 square meters are green surfaces and 24,639 square meters are walkways. More than 1,100 deciduous and evergreen trees, 1,000 various decorative shrubs, 200 meters of hedge, 800 rose bushes, 2,500 seasonal flowering plants... Complete infrastructure has been constructed, including water supply, sewage system, irrigation system, street lighting, fiber optic cabling for television broadcasts...

At the same time, work on the construction and appointment of a parish hall of approximately 2,000 square meters in surface area was completed.

A financial report on the cathedral budget was presented by Mr. Radivoje Minic, an official of the Cathedral Office. Members of the Central Body expressed their satisfaction that work so far has been completed on schedule and emphasized the need to continue intensive collection of donations for the completion of this heritage cathedral of the Serbian people. After the meeting, the members of the Central Body, together with the Serbian hierarchs, visited the Cathedral, where His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America, in the presence of relatives, served a requiem for all deceased patrons-endowers, philanthropists and contributors to the Cathedral. After the service, the members of the Central Body visited the work site and saw everything that had been described at the meeting.


Pljevlja- Manastir Sveta TrojicaAt the invitation of His Grace Bishop Filaret of Milesevo, His Holiness Patriarch Pavle, together with Their Eminences and Their Graces the members of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, will visit the Diocese of Milesevo on Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday, May 16, His Holiness Patriarch Pavle will serve Holy Archierchal Liturgy in Holy Trinity Monastery near Pljevlja, and then consecrate the renewed monastery residence quarters.

At 1:00 p.m. His Holiness Patriach Pavle will consecrate the foundation of the new church of St. Nikolai of Ochrid and Zica in the Prijepolje suburb of Kolovrat.

Holy Trinity Monastery is located about 1.5 kilometers from Pljevlja. It was built on the remains of a monastery dating back to the period of the Nemanjic dynasty. The first written historical reference to Holy Trinity dates back to 1537, when it was mentioned by hieromonk Sava, the first well-known Trinity copyist.

Renewed and expanded on several occasions, the monastery gained its present-day shape in the 16th century when the main church was built during the time of Abbot Visarion. At the end of the 16th century, the parvis was added on, the gift of the monk Georgije Poblcanin, his son Ananije and the nephew of landowner Vojin. Both the parvis and nave were decorated with frescoes before the end of the 16th century. The frescoes were done by Father Strahinja of Budimlje, an renowned fresco painter who decorated many churches and monasteries at the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th centuries.

In the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries Holy Trinity Monastery was also known as a very significant copying and literary center. Produced in the monastery were several dozen manuscripts, the works of the Trinity dijaks (copyists). The most important artist in this field was the famous Gavrilo of Trinity who between 1633 and 1651 copied numerous books, the most well-known among them being the Sestodnev Jovana Egzarha (The Six Days of John Exarch), the Kozma Indikoplov (Christian Topography), the continuation of the Vrhobreznicki Hronograf (Vrhobreznica Chronograph Vrhobreznica is an earlier name for Pljevlja), many Psalters and several other significant works. Creating in the monastery at the same time as Gavrilo of Trinity was the illuminator and icon painter Andrija Raicevic, who decorated the manuscripts of the Sestodnev and Kozma Indikoplov with his highly successful miniatures. Several icons created in the mid-17th century can also be traced back to Raicevic.

Also protected in the monastery library are valuable books on parchment and paper from the 13th and 14th centuries as well as the famous, oldest on record correctional sheets from the Milesevo press from 1557. The library also contains 824 Turkish documents relating to the monastery itself or its numerous properties. Unfortunately, some of the significant manuscripts created in Holy Trinity are located in foreign museums and archives: a part of the Vrhobreznicki Hronograf is in Prague, as is one psalter, and the well-known Pljevlja Sluzbenik (Service Book) from the 14th century is in St. Petersburg. In addition to numerous valuable church artifacts of silver, gold and wood for Divine Service, the monastery treasury also contains valuable old textiles and church embroidery, plate covers for books, the large gilded chalice of Abbot Stefan, the well-known, silver plated staff of St. Sava, received as a donation in 1576... It also contains items created in the workshop of the known 16th century goldsmith Jovan Hocanin (Focanin). Preserved in the monastery are the doors and two choir sections wrought in rare and very valuable bone intarsia technique. A fire in the monastery in 1859 completely destroyed its residence quarters but expertly they were restored somewhat later and form a harmonic whole with the church at their center. During the entire period of Turkish rule, Holy Trinity Monastery was one of the most important religious, educational, cultural and national centers of the Serbian Orthodox population in not only the Pljevlja region but also in Montenegro at the time, Old Raska and so-called Hercegovacki Sanjak.

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