Zorica Zlatić Ivković
Period of Turkish rule
Peaceful life within the walls of Radič’s Rudnik endowments did not last long after their founding. The Rudnik area lost its independence for the first time in 1438 after a violent and destructive Turkish campaign in which the fortified towns of Ostrvica and Borač were destroyed. There is no preserved data on the demolition of the Vraćevšnica Monastery and the Ješevac temple, but it has been noted that since Borač was occupied, many residents from the area, as well as the whole of Šumadija, moved north and moved to Hungary. At the time of the fall of the Despotate, the former great leader is believed to have lived as a monk on the Holy Mountain. At that time, Serbia was ruled by misery and general famine, so great and severe that they were written in church annals and other books. It is assumed that Radič’s founders shared the fate of many famous Serbian medieval shrines that were demolished, burned, looted, abandoned and abandoned over time. It is noted that the heritage of the Vraćevšnica Monastery, with the villages that belonged to it, was awarded to Despot Đurađ and his successor Stefan in 1456 to the Metropolitan of Lipjan and Gračanica, Venedikt Crepović, for further care. This meant that the monks were forced to leave her and that there was no one left to take care of it. Only three years later, Serbia finally lost its independence for a long time and fell under the rule of the Ottoman Empire.
remains of the fortress Ostrvica
residence of the monastery Vraćevšnica
In the census conducted in 1528, as well as others that were conducted later, for the Vraćevšnica Monastery, only the information was entered that it is in the hands of the peasants who cultivate his land. It was not until the ninth decade of the 16th century that Turkish enumerators wrote in the defter that three monks lived in this shrine on Rudnik, that they were earning money in some way and could therefore pay their debts. The first major renovation of Vraćevšnica was carried out in 1579, and the information about it was left, as a note on the Prologue for the month of May, by the Metropolitan of Rudnik, Diomidija. He copied the same book with his own hand while staying at the Vraćevšnica Monastery. He stated that during his first visit to the monastery, which is located in the attic of the hill called Šturac, he found a family very destroyed and fallen. In the following text, he expressed his intention to help rebuild and raise the monastery. Unfortunately, there are no other data on the type and scope of work that was undertaken at that time. At the end of the eighth decade, three monks lived in this family, so it could be concluded that in the renovation mentioned by the metropolitan, everything that was destroyed on the temple and pier, in lodgings and other buildings was built and repaired in the monastery complex. Book copyists and illuminators also worked in the monastery scriptorium at the beginning of the 17th century, during the time of Abbot Matej and his brother Gerasim. Many records left on the margins of handwritten books testify to a period of somewhat calmer life.
During the Great Migration of Serbs in 1690, the brothers from Vraćevšnica were forced to leave their habitat and save their lives and take away the monastery’s valuables by leaving. In the transmission and rescue of manuscripts, some of them reached the Pljevlja Monastery of the Holy Trinity, where they are still kept today. At the beginning of the 18th century, however, according to scarce data, several monks returned to Rudnik and managed to sustain life in Vraćevšnica, and even to organize the preparation of students for the priestly vocation. During the period of Austrian rule, which lasted until the Belgrade Peace Treaty, concluded in 1739, among many repaired and arranged temples in the area of the Belgrade Metropolitanate, there was also the Vraćevšnica Church. At the very end of the Austrian occupation of Serbia, significant works were carried out, about which data are left in the inscription on the wall in the narthex. Bishop Dositej Nikolajević of Valjevo, at the expense and expense of hieromonk Mihailo, abbot of the Vraćevšnica Monastery.
Great Migration of Serbs
iconostasis in the temple of the Vraćevšnica monastery
The monks spent only two years in the tidied monastery and the temple of renewed wall paintings, because the Turks, in severe retaliation due to the cooperation of Serbs with Austria, caused great damage to many shrines, including the Vraćevšnica Monastery, which was looted and set on fire again. It is remembered that the newly finished frescoes in the church were then rudely and violently damaged. For who knows how many times, after 1739, the monks were forced to move to Fruška Gora, about which no written traces have been preserved. Another important piece of information indicates a new period of peaceful life and the continuation of works on equipping and arranging the monastery temple, and it was left by the painter Stavro on the icons he painted for the new iconostasis in 1754. During the war between Turkey and Austria (1788-1791), along with the progressive people of Serbia at the time, who wanted final liberation from the Ottomans, the fraternity of the Vraćevšnica monastery also helped the Austrians. Their defeat by the more powerful Turks meant a new flight of the Serbian people, as well as monks from the mining family, again to the areas north of the Sava and Danube. Many records mention monks in the monasteries of Fruška Gora who, due to Turkish revenge, could not return to Serbia, and among them the monk Dionisija Nikodinović from Vraćevšnica.
The riots that engulfed many Serbian areas during the First Serbian Uprising forced the monks from the Studenica Monastery to spend difficult and dangerous years in a somewhat safer mining area, in Vraćevšnica. Picking up valuables, as well as life with the relics of Saint Simon – King Stephen the First-Crowned, they left their monastery on the feast of Flowers, March 26, 1806. They remained in Vraćevšnica until 1813, and when, after the collapse of the First Uprising, extremely difficult days arose for the Serbian people, they were forced to flee further. Until their return to Studenica, they spent two years in the monasteries of Fruška Gora. In 1813, the endowment of the great leader Radič Postupović was again set on fire and looted for the fourth time. It is mentioned that, for a while, her fraternity had to leave it, but soon returned, making an effort to renew it as much as was necessary to continue life and worship.
the First Serbian Uprising