Zica Monastery – Monastery of the Serbian King Stefan

Zica Monastery is the memorial of the Serbian king, Stefan I. The construction of the main church of the monastery, the Church of Christ’s Resurrection, started in 1206 and was finished before 1217, when Stefan received his royal crown from Rome.

Zica is an important monastery for the history of Serbian people and their Church. Saint Sava, as the first archbishop of independent Serbian Church, made this monastery the center of the Church, which gained independence in 1219. Saint Sava also crowned his brother Stefan I and ordained the first bishops there. Stefan I’s heirs, his sons, Radoslav and Vladislav were crowned and the first archbishop Arsenije, Saint Sava’s successor as the Head of the Church, was ordained in the monastery.

In the late 13th century the monastery was badly damaged and was renovated by King Milutin in the early 14th century. During the reign of Turks, Zica was devastated and renovated many times. Today’s appearance is a result of major restauration operations between 1925 and 1935 and in the late 1980s. By its architectural features, Zica is a Rashka style monastery. The facades are painted red, imitating the architecture of the Holy Mountain.

Three chronological and stylistic groups can be seen in the frescoes, although the frescoes themselves are badly damaged. The frescoes painted by Constantinople painters after the Church had gained independence, belong to the first group. The second group includes poorly preserved frescoes in the tower chapel, painted in the early 1240s.

The most important group consists of the frescoes painted between 1309 and 1316, which are mostly in the main part of the church. These frescoes can be grouped into 4 categories: Great Holidays, Scenes from Christ’s Life, Standing Portraits of Saints and Busts of Saints. The authors of the frescoes are the painters from the famous King Milutin’s workshop. Their frescoes can be seen in Stari Nagorican Monastery, Bogorodica Ljeviska Monastery and in King’s Church in Studenica Monastery.

Zica Monastery is situated in the village of Krusevica between Kraljevo and Mataruska Banja.