Nemanjic  Dinasty
This is the web site about
the Monastery of Chilandar, the
most valuable spiritual treasury
of the Serbian people.


Monastery Chilandar
Chilandar Miracles
Chilandar Icons
Icons and Frescos
Textile With Ornamentation
Nemanjic  Dinasty
Serbian Church
Monastery Chilandar
on Holy Mountain of Athos
in this, 1998 year the Chilandar Monastery celebrates its 800th Anniversary as the Serbian Orthodox Monastery

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It had ruled over the Serbian lands continuously, in the period from 1166 - 1371. Deeply religious and devoted to Orthodoxy, all the rulers of this family were big donors who erected many magnificent monasteries and churches all over Serbia: Studenica, Djurdjevi Stupovi, Zhicha, Dechani, Grachanica, Milesheva, Sopochani,Chilandar, the sole Serbian monastery on Mount Athos, flourished along with the family.
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In the course of its two century reign, the Nemanyich dynasty increased the monastery treasures. The members of the family erected new buildings and repaired the old  ones; they decorated and embellished it, making the name of the Nemanyich dynasty linked forever to the history of Chilandar.

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RASTKO NEMANYICH (+January 14, 1236)
Monk Sava, first Serbian Archbishop, Saint Sava

Rastko was the youngest son of the  Grand Zhupan Stefan Nemanya. He was only seventeen when some Russian monks arrived to his father’s court. As soon as he had learned from them about Mount Athos, he left the court and went there in disguise. He had entered a monastic order in the Russian monastery Old Roussikon, but invited by the Vatopedi abbot, he moved into their community. He bestowed on them rich donations, erected two churches and re-roofed the katholikon.
Five to six years after Sava had arrived to Mount Athos, his father, at the time already Monk Symeon, joined him there. They met in the Vatopedi monastery and remained there for a certain period of time. Soon both of them felt a desire to build a monastery for their own Serbian people. After having gone through many troubles, they eventually received the constitutional charter. By the Chrysobull of the Emperor Alexios III the Angel, they were granted the ruined settlement of Chelandari to found there a Serbian community. They started building it in 1198, and when Symeon died in 1199, Sava continued with the works on his own. He went to Karyes, and founded there the Kellion of Saint Sava of Jerusalem, where he subjected himself to a strenuous ascetic discipline for some time. There he wrote the Karyes Typikon, thus laying the foundations of a strict monastic tradition, which has been respected up to the present day. Beside writing the Chilandar Typikon and Karyes Typikon, Monk Sava is also credited with translations of liturgical literature. He wrote the father Symeon’s hagiography, the first literary work in Serbian. It was  in Chilandar that he conceived the idea of writing the Code of Rules, as well as the Studenica Typikon.

According to his father’s wish, and at the request of his brothers Stefan and Vukan, Sava had the relics of Nemanya transferred to Serbia in 1206. When Stefan received the title of a king, in 1217, Sava returned to Mount Athos. He arranged the work of the hospital in Chilandar, and then withdrew to the kellion in Karyes. Shortly after that, he left for Nicaea, where in 1219 he received from  the Byzantine Emperor and Patriarch the autonomy for the Serbian church,  and the title of Archbishop for himself.

The monastery Zhicha was chosen as the seat of the autocephalous Serbian Orthodox Church, and it was there that  Sava, some time later, preached his famous sermon on Orthodoxy. He ruled the Serbian Church as an Archbishop for fourteen years, and during that time he put it in order and strengthened its foundations. Sava travelled twice to the East, to visit the Holy Land and the Holy Sepulchre. From his journeys he brought back many relics, icons and other holy objects, many of which have been preserved in Chilandar and in its kellia to the present day; icons of the Virgin Troyerutchitsa (of the Three Hands) and the Virgin Galaktotrophousa (She Who Suckles), episcopal staff of St Sava of Jerusalem called Pateritsa, a fragment of the True Cross, a splinter from the Crown of Thorns and other.

Archbishop Sava died on January 14, 1236 in Trnovo, on his way back from the Holy Land. The Serbian king Vladislav had his relics transferred to the monastery Milesheva, in 1237. Out of fear from the saint, Sinan Pasha, a Serb converted into Islam, had the relics of St Sava transferred from Milesheva to Belgrade, where he burned them on the Vrachar plateau in 1594. On that very  place, out of respect and gratitude, the Serbian people have now been erecting the largest Orthodox temple in the world. The monks of Mount Athos and Chilandar monastery traditionally make daily mention of Saint Sava’s miracles, of his building of Chilandar, his writing of the Karyes Typikon with a cross-like stamp on it, his kellion, hospital, tower in Chilandar. Many places that he used to visit still bear his name: at the Sava’s Kellion, Sava’s Waters, St Sava’s Well...

The national tradition ascribes to St Sava many parables, miracles and tales, and the Serbian people put him into the first place among their teachers and educators. His cult is a very strong one. St Sava’s feast day is January 27th (14th by the old calendar), and it is being celebrated both by the Serbian Church and all Serbs wherever they may live. It is also celebrated as the school feast day.
STEFAN THE FIRST-CROWNED Grand Zhupan (1196 - 1217) King (1217 - 1228)
St. Simon the Monk

Stefan was the second son of Stefan Nemanya. He succeeded his father to the Grand Zhupan’s throne in 1196 and was crowned the first Serbian king in 1217. Through his political activities he helped his brother, Chilandar monk Sava, to obtain in Nicaea, in 1219, the document of autonomy of the Serbian Church, as well as to be appointed the first Serbian Archbishop.

The seat of the Archbishopric was in the monastery Zhicha, the endowment of Stefan the First-crowned. In memory of his father, he wrote his hagiography and several charters to various monasteries. Before his death, he had entered a monastic order and received the name Simon. He was buried in Studenica, but due to frequent war dangers his relics had been transferred for fourteen times, until they were finally returned to Studenica, where they still rest in peace.


STEFAN RADOSLAV King (1228 - 1234)
Monk John

Radoslav was the oldest son of Stefan the First-crowned. He received the title of king from the first Serbian Archbishop, the latter Saint Sava. Later, he entered a monastic order himself, under the name of John. He had a large exonarthex added to the famous foundations of his grandfather Nemanya, which is known as the Radoslav’s narthex in the Holy Virgin Church of Studenica. He is also credited with the exonarthex of Zhicha, the building of which had probably started before the death of Stefan the First-Crowned (1228).
STEFAN VLADISLAV I King (1234 - 1243)

Vladislav was the second son of Stefan the First-crowned. In 1218 he had the monastery Milesheva erected. About 1224 he ordered that all the distinguished members of the Nemanyich dynasty should be painted in the monastery narthex. The procession started with Stefan Nemanya, and finished with the figure of the donor, still a prince at the time, holding a model of Milesheva in his hand. Sava, the First Serbian Archbishop, died in Trnovo, Bulgaria, in 1236. Vladislav had his relics transferred to his endowment Milesheva, where he buried them in the Church of Ascension, in 1237.
STEFAN DRAGUTIN King (1276 - 1282)
St. Monk Theoktist

Dragutin was the older son of Stefan Urosh I. After having abdicated the throne to his younger brother Milutin, at the Dezhevo Assembly, in 1282. Until his death in 1316, he ruled over a mighty kingdom in the regions of Podrinje, Posavina and Shumadia-Branichevo, independent of his brother Milutin. He erected various churches, the most famous being the Church of St. Achillius in Arilje, the seat of the Morava Bishopric, in 1296. He entered a monastic order at the end of his life, receiving the name of Theoktist. He led a deeply religious, almost ascetic life, making many good deeds. In his home he manufactured liturgical vessels which he gave away as presents to many churches and monasteries in Russia, Jerusalem, on Mount Sinai and other holy places. He took care of religious purity and had many Bosnian heretics converted into Christianity. Only upon his death it was revealed how blessed he really was. Namely, when the courtiers wanted to bathe him, they found out that under his sumptuous garments he had all his life worn coarse linen clothing, the straw-belt of which was deeply cut into his body. His relics were first buried in the monastery Djurdjevi Stupovi. They were transferred to Studenica at a later date, and they still rest there next to the tomb of St. Symeon.
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STEFAN UROSH II MILUTIN King (1282 - 1321)
St. King Milutin
Milutin was the younger son of Stefan Urosh I. He was, after St. Symeon and St. Sava, the biggest donor of Chilandar and the biggest donor in general among all members of the sacrosanct Nemanyich dynasty. His hagiography writers claimed that he had erected more than forty churches and monasteries. He built in Jerusalem, Constantinople, Salonika, in Macedonia, Serbia and on Mount Athos. He also built in Bari and Rome, but most of all in Chilandar. He gave the final touch to the Chilandar monastery precincts, giving it splendor, so all the other donors only added to or repaired damaged buildings. Without Milutin there would be no Chilandar katholikon, which is maybe the most magnificent building of Mount Athos. There would also be no Chilandar refectory, built on the place of the old refectory of St.Symeon and St. Sava. He also completed the Cemetery Church, which was first dedicated to the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and later to Annunciation.
He also took care of defense objects of Chilandar, and had the upper third of the St. Sava’s Tower built. Between 1300 and 1302, he answered the request of the Chilandar abbot Kyriakos, and erected the large Hrussia Tower. Immediately after that, he had a magnificent tower built on the Sava’s Field, which was named after him Milutin’s Tower. With his monies he also erected the tower of hieromonach Theodoulos in Karyes, next to the Kellion of St. Sava, but it has not been preserved to the present day.
King Milutin filled up all these buildings with frescoes, icons, ecclesiastical vessels, books and embroideries. A lot of them were lost with the time, but many of them have also been preserved in churches and in monasteries’ treasuries. The exceptional diptych with miniatures of Venetian art, was donated to Chilandar monastery by the "Christ loving and God fearing King".

King (1321 - 1331)

St. Stefan of Dechani
Stefan Urosh III was the son of King Milutin. Out of his love for Christ, as well as gratitude to the Chilandar community which had mediated in his reconciliation with his father Milutin, Stefan built in the courtyard of the Hrussia Tower, in Chilandar, the Church of St. Basil. He built many more endowments, the most famous being the monastery of Christ the Pantocrator near Dechani, in Metochia, after which the King was named by the people "Stefan of Dechani". Because of its architectural symmetry, lavish sculptural ornamentation, theological themes of paintings and richness of the monastery treasury, Dechani represents one of the most significant monuments of the Serbian medieval heritage.
Relics of the donor, Stefan of Dechani, are resting in peace in the Dechani monastery.

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