Monastery of St. Peter of Korisa

St. Peter's Hermitage

The ruins of the Monastery of St. Peter of Korisa

The impressive ruins of the monastery and isposnica in which ascetic Petar Koriski was buried most probably at the beginning of the 13th century are located east of Prizren, near the village of Korisa. The oldest part is the partially carved natural recess in the rock with the remains of frescoes from around 1220. They are characterized by light colours completed by sure drawing as well as by characteristic iconography which speaks about the cemetery character of the shrine. St. Peter of Korisa led his ascetic life in this cave-hermitage at eht end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th cenutry. He died at a very old age and was burried in his hermitage.

At the end of the 13th century or at the beginning of the 14th century, a church was built on the narrow plateau in front of the cave whose southern wall was leaning on the arcades and massive columns which are still, even today, the most impressive part of the complex. Nothing is left of the temple itself; its northern wall was a rock on which fragments of paintings are discernible, painted simultaneously with the second layer of frescoes in isposnica. Severely damaged paintings dating back to around 1350 do not allow a clearer image of their stylistic characteristics. The narrowness of space resulted in placing the dining room, monks’ cells and other economic premises in a multi-storey building erected between the rocks north-west of the church.

Reconstruction of the monastery complex. To the left we can see the entrance near one hermitage in the rock. The stairs led to the main church which was built in front of the hermitage of St Peter . In the background we can see the multy storey buildign with a refectory and monks cells

The existence of this cave church is connedcted with Gregory of Chilandar. According to some historians he bbuilt the church of St Peter of Korisa, bought the land and the vineqard as well as two mills and equipped the church with liturgical books. On May 19 1343 all this was donated to king Stefan Dusan to serve a s a ctemporary diocesan center for Metropolitan John of Serres who was to supervise and manage the construction of the monastery of the Holy Archangels near Prizren.

This was a unique monastic center which developed around a hermitage cave where the holy relics of the saint attracted not only monks but also numerous pilgrims. The monastery was dependency (metochion) of Chilandar Monastery in Mount Athos and became a gathering place of monks who preferred life in seclusion and intensive meditation.

When the Prizren region was occupied by Turks in 1453, this monastic community was deserted and the relics of its founder were later moved to the Crna Reka Monastery in 1572. Archeological excavations and architectural conservation works were carried out in 1961. Beside the ruins of the monastery archeologic excavations uncovered several other medieval Serb Orthodox churches in the wider area of the village of Korisa.

At the moment the monastery remains in ruins.

13th century frescoes in the hermitage of St. Peter

The life of St. Peter of Korisa

St. Peter of Korish
St. Peter of Korisa - a contemporary Serb icon in Crna Reka Monastery

Crna Reka Monastery The holy relics of the saint rest in a coffin located in a arcosolium

Destruction of the Holy Virgin church in Korisa village, summer 1999

The Church of the Holy Virgin once stood in the easternmost part of the village Korisa near Prizren. The church was a single-dome building covered with large stone tiles. The apse contained a painting that stylistically belonged to the 16th -17th century. The remains of the frescoes were rather well preserved, except for the fresco of The Holy Mother with Christ that was riddled with bullets fired by Albanian militants. The church also housed the 19th century icons and liturgical vessels. Both the church and the old church base were levelled with the ground in summer 1999 after the end of Kosovo war. The cemetery, too, was destroyed.

full frameset

/ 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
Hvostanska / Ubozac
/ Kmetovci / St. Uros