Devič Monastery reconstruction after it was burned down in 2004
|Full name||Манастир Девич|
|Dedicated to||St. Joannicius of Devič|
|Diocese||Eparchy of Raška and Prizren|
|Founder(s)||Despot Đurađ Branković|
|Important associated figures||Đurađ Branković
Euphemia the Nun
|Location||Srbica, Drenica, Kosovo[a]|
The founder of the monastery is thought to be Despot Đurađ Branković, who had it built in memory of his daughter. In the Turkish census from 1455, the monastery is mentioned as the church of the Theotokos (dedicated to The Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple). During Turkish occupation the monastery was pulled down, but the church and the site with the grave of St. Joannicius was reconstructed, and was painted in 1578.
The monastery was destroyed and burnt down during World War II in 1941, at the hands of Albanian Fascist Party and Balli Kombëtar forces, the Prior Damaskin Bošković was killed, and Italian troops disassembled the two big bells and took them away in 1942. It was rebuilt in 1947.
Devič was a target of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in 1999. The monastery was vandalized and all food and two cars were stolen. The marble tomb of the patron saint St. Joannicius of Devič was desecrated by local Albanian extremists in June 1999. Since then it has been under the constant protection of French KFOR troops.
It was the target of new attacks by Albanians in the most serious unrest in Kosovo on 18 March 2004 when the nuns were evacuated for safety reasons by Danish KFOR troops. Following that the monastery was pillaged and torched. The Serb Orthodox Church received confirmation of the monastery's plight the following day from the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
Burned and desecrated interior of the Devič. Note UÇK graffiti in the church apse.
|a.||^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Serbia and the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo. The latter declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. Kosovo's independence has been recognised by 99 out of 193 United Nations member states.|
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