Next to Saint Sava, King Milutin Nemanjić (1282-1321) is considered the most important benefactor of the Serbian people. This famous ruler and prominent founder did a lot for Serbian culture. In addition to the churches and monasteries that he built and restored within the borders of his state, he restored, among other things, the Hilandar monastery on Mount Athos and built the monastery of the Holy Archangels in Jerusalem, in the immediate vicinity of the Church of the Resurrection of Lord Jesus Christ (Holy Sepulchre church). Approaching the end of his life, he wished to raise his endowment in Studenica, the burial church of Saint Simeon the Myrrh-streaming, thus joining his famous ancestors. The small studenica church is dedicated to Saints Joachim and Ana and also known as the “King’s Church” in honor of its famous founder. Although small in size, this church is unique and exceptional both because of the choice of architectural solution and because of the extraordinary frescoes that adorn it.
All this inspired the art historian prof. Dr. Gordan Babić, corresponding member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, to dedicate one of the most beautiful scientific monographs to the King’s Church in 1987. Wanting to mark the seven centuries since the death of Saint Milutin, the Studenica Monastery, in cooperation with the Platoneum publishing house from Novi Sad, published an amended and supplemented edition of this very important book in Serbian and, for the first time so far, in English. The book has over 300 pages, 200 color reproductions of the frescoes and drawings of the arrangement of the frescoes; all photos reproducted within the book were made during year 2020. Academician Gordana Babić’s text was accompanied by an introductory speech of Studenica Monastery’s archimandrite dr. Tihon Rakićević and a valuable contribution (Appendix) of the academician prof. dr. Miodrag Marković, in which the biography and bibliography of dr. Gordana Babić, as well as the text of Academician Marković dedicated to the scientific contributions of prof. Babić. In his introductory letter, Archimandrite Tihon emphasized the importance of witnessing the meeting of liturgical and historical time in the King’s Church and in our days, especially the presence of vividly painted saints at the time of the Liturgy, as well as the importance of Milutin’s studenica endowment, which “although one of the smallest, according to the architectural design, conceptual structure program ideas of painting and mastery of painters, represents one of the most important churches of the Serbian Middle Ages”.
Opening speech of Archimandrite Tikhon, abbot of Studenica Monastery:
The Serbian and English edition of the book is available in the Studenica Monastery online store: