Holy Archdeacon Stephen

    Banjska Monastery

Banjska monastery is situated in the town of Banjska in the vicinity of Kosovska Mitrovica. Banjska was the endowment of King Milutin. It was constructed between 1312 and 1316. The monastery was built as King Milutin`s burial church, and it was thus better furnished and more elaborately decorated than Milutin`s other endowments.

The church of the Holy Archdeacon Stefan was built upon an older church site, where the Bishopric of Banjska was situated in the second half of 13th century. It was during the reign of Milutin`s father, King Uros I. During the reign of King Milutin, Banjska monastery was promoted, and became the fourth among Serbian monasteries. Having obtained approval from Archbishop Sava III (1309-1316) and Jelena (his mother), Milutin assigned construction of this sacred place to his spiritual father, Prior Danilo, whom had come from Chilandar. When King Milutin passed away in Nerodimlje in 1321, Archbishop Danilo II (1324-1337) relocated his body to Banjska. Theodora, Emperor Dushan`s mother, was buried in the north chapel soon after Milutin. Milutin`s relics were transferred to Trepca by monks in 1389, and later, in 1445, they were taken to Sofia, Bulgaria, where they still are. During the 17th century, Banjska was transformed into a mosque. The monastery suffered the greatest devastation in 1689, when Turkish and Austrian armies used it as a fortress during the Austrian-Turkish war. In the same century, monastery floors were dug out, so that the gold mentioned by Archbishop Danilo could be found. In 1915, two rings, a gold one and a silver one, were found in Theodora`s grave. These rings are considered the most significant specimen of Serbian medieval jewelry. Banjska church was restored in 1938.

The church of Banjska monastery belongs to the group of Ras church buildings. It was built according to the plan of the Most Holy Theotokos in Studenica. The base in the shape of a one-nave building with a semi circular altar apse. Choir apses leading to side chapels are north and south from the nave of the church. The vestibule with two domes -belfries- is on the west. It was made of dressed stone in three colors. The most significant item of Banjska sculpture is the Theotokos with Christ, currently situated in nearby monastery of Sokolica.

Only fragments of images of saints in the arch medallions under the dome have remained out of the formerly abundant fresco-paintings in the church of Banjska monastery (1317-1321).

Archeological excavations within the monastery complex started more than two decades ago and have not been finished jet.

Banjska church
The church of Banjska Monastery - temporarily restored after turbulent history

Banjska church
Banjska monastery still waiting for its final reconstruction

St. King Milutin
St. Milutin, the King of Serbia and the founder of the Monastery

fresco in Gracanica Monastery



/ Decani / Gracanica / Sopocani / Pecka Patrijarsija /
/ Crna Reka / Devic / Sv. Vraci / Sv. Arhangeli /
/ Sv. Trojica / Sokolica / Gorioc / Binac /
/Draganac / Djurdjevi StupoviDuboki Potok / Koncul

Banjska / Dolac / Budisavci / St. Mark / Korisa