June 21, 2004
Belgrade - Decani - Novi Pazar - This year's BLAGO expedition has visited and completed field archives in three monasteries that are important in Serbian cultural heritage.
Due to the upcoming elevation to bishophood of Bishop Teodosije, the BLAGO team's visit to Decani was shorter than originally planned. However, with the complete support of Bishop Teodosije (Iguman of Decani at the time) and the whole brotherhood of the monastery, the team was able to accomplish much of the original plan, including a complete virtualization of the church and surrounding areas and fresco details of the lower levels of the interior church walls. Plans were also created for a future more extensive visit. More than 10 GB of materiel was collected. The Serbian government's Coordination Center for Kosovo provided transportation for the crew and equipment to Decani, with UNMIK providing an armed escort. The brotherhood of the Decani Monastery was also instrumental in the success of the visit.
Situated in the Raska region near the city of Novi Paza, the Sopocani monastery is a masterpiece of 12th century architecture and art. It is designated by UNESCO as a world monument, one of the few located in Serbia. With the help of the friendly brotherhood of the monastery, the BLAGO fund was able to create a complete archive of the church, including detailed images of all the interior frescoes. Due to the high number of visitors to the monastery, the team often worked during the night. Iguman Mihajlo was happy to accommodate the team, and helped to ensure completion of the work.
Father Vasilije of the Sopocani Monastery demonstrated his "Spiritual Internet" work, a book in progress, consisting of drawings to introduce the scriptures to individuals. It was a welcome reminder that sophisticated equipment is not necessary to create meaningful contributions to the Serbian cultural heritage.
Peter's Church (Petrova Crkva) and Monastery Djurdjevi Stupovi
Situated in Novi Pazar, Petrova Crkva dates from the 9th century A.D. and is a symbol of Serbian Christian faith. St Nemanja, the founder of the Serbian medieval dynasty, was baptized in this church in the 12th century. The church is surrounded by a dense 18th century graveyard. An archive of the few remaining interior frescoes and surrounding area was completed.
Monastery Djurdjevi Stupovi has only been inhibited by monks since the year 2000. It represents a rebirth of the Christian faith after 300 years, and has received much media attention in the last few years due to high profile fundraisers and appeals for restoration of the Monastery. The BLAGO team archived the current state of the monastery and church, including the frescoes and surrounding architecture.
Cable Factory (FKS) from Jagodina provided transportation for scaffolding and some other equipment.