King's Church at Studenica
Microcosmos of the Holy History
A small perfection and a Christian jewel
Serbian King Milutin had the King's Church built in 1313 or 1314 within the
walls of the Studenica Monastery, itself constructed by his famous ancestor
Simeon Nemanja. The church is devoted to saints Joachim and Anna, the
parents of the Most Holy Theotokos, Mother of God, but it has become more
famous for its founder and has come to be known as "King's Church".
By building this small place of worship at a beautiful site, beside
grandiose Studenica (one of the oldest Serb sanctities, abounding in usual
ornamental and pictorial details), the old Serbian King seemed to have
wanted to create a small perfection and a Christian jewel, whose appearance
would be in harmony with its mother-church standing right beside. Hardly
anywhere in the Christian world can one see so many biblical events, respect
for holy warriors fallen for Christ and admiration for Christ's devotees on
such a small space. Of course, in accordance with the dedication of the
church, the part of History related to the Most Holy Theotokos was afforded
the biggest space.
The arrangements of scenes from the history of the Old and New Testaments,
the position of one picture in relation to another, how they touch and
interlace, make this small church a Microcosmos of the Holy History. It
would be no exaggeration to say that the old masters reached a level closest
to perfection in encompassing the entire history linked to the Lord Jesus
Christ with one big spiritual eye.
It is well known that the unknown masters had studied for months the lives
of the saints they had been commissioned to portray, thus identifying with
them. Invested in this small space is a small infinity of patience, artistic
accomplishments and enormous love for Christ's religion and the Serbian land
in which it was still taking deep root at the time.
This presentation is an attempt to acquaint chance visitors from all corners
of the world with this church. The Blago team worked on this task as did the
transcribers of old church books: with love, careful not to omit a single
beautiful detail of this jewel from the shadow of the great Studenica.