Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Patriarchate of Pec in Kosovo and Metohija

After a fairly long car ride, we finally arrived in Kosovo (or, more properly, Metohija, since we were in the western part of the region) and headed first to Pec, the ancient seat of the Patriarchate of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and the home of a women's monastery. Like all the Serbian treasures now, this one was heavily guarded by international KFOR soldiers. Once we passed through the checkpoint, we were greeted by the nuns and taken to the church, which is actually three churches in one -- a unique design. You enter the exo-narthex from the side, and then to your right there are three churches lined up, one after another.

Each church is fairly narrow, with a completely solid wall separating it from the next church over. The iconography throughout is simply amazing, and there are saints' relics and patriarch's tombs everywhere.

You can see some of the iconography in the photo above, and in the photo immediately below you can see Bishop Maxim and me venerating one of the tombs.

In the two photos above, you can see Bishop Maxim near yet another tomb. Behind him is a beautiful icon of the Mother of God and the Christ child.

The apse of one of the churches.

In the exo-narthex, above the entrance to the middle church, is this icon of Christ as the Ancient of Days (cf. Daniel 7).

After venerating inside all three churches, the nuns insisted on giving us coffee and some sweets. We visited with them briefly and, since it was already late, then headed on to Decani Monastery, about 12 miles away.

For all the photos from the Kosovo part of our trip, click here.

I've just noticed that a report of our pilgrimage has made its way to the official website of the whole Serbian Orthodox Church.

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