Church in Lipljan
Lipljan churches
Church in Lipljan
Lipljan churches

Church in Lipljan

The church of The Presentation of the Virgin in Lipljan was built, most likely, in the second or third decade of the 14th century, on the foundations of an earlier Byzantine basilica. It was mentioned for the first time in 1331 in one of King Dušan's charters and was donated in 1336 to Tower (Pirg) of the Ascension in Hilandar. The original church paintings have been dated to the middle of the 14th century, and their founder was an unknown landowner whose portrait is painted on the northern wall of the nave.

It is a single-nave edifice covered with a semi-oval dome, with the sanctuary on the east end, and a narthex on the west. The altar apse is three-sided on the outside and semi-circular on the inside. The church is built in the alternation of stone and brick and the facade is decorated with shallow sculpted ornaments and blind arcades.

The original 14th-century painting of exquisite beauty and high artistic value was lost in the fire and only a few frescoes have been preserved. In the lower zone of the sanctuary, frescoes of the saints from the Officiating Church Fathers are preserved, as well as the frescoes of St. Basil the Great and St. John Chrysostom in the apse (painted over in the 16th century); St. Amphilochios, St. Gregory the Theologian and St. Cyril from Alexandria on the east wall of the altar; St. Blaise and an unidentified archbishop on the south wall; unidentified archbishop and probably St. Sava the Serbian on the east side on the altar partition wall; and the figure of St. Spiridon at the lower zone of the north wall.

In the lower zones of the altar, fragments of the Holy Mother of God (Theotokos) from the Annunciation on the south section of the east wall are preserved, Archangel Gabriel from the Annunciation on the north section of the east wall, and the Vision of St. Peter of Alexandria and the Incredulity of Thomas on the north wall.

In the lower zone of the nave, in the shallow niche of the north wall, there's a small fresco-icon of St. Nicholas with the founder. From the original painting, few frescoes have been preserved in the upper zone of the nave - from the Passion of Christ cycle, the Last Supper and Washing of the feet on the south wall, and Christ being raised on the Cross on the north wall; and the scene of the Dormition of the Virgin on the west wall of the nave.

Upper regions of the Lipljan church were restored in the second half of the 16th century, and between 1590 and 1621, some parts of the church were repainted with frescoes.

On the west side of the iconostasis, there is Mother of God with Christ and two saints - stylites, and in the second zone an extended Deisis with the busts of the apostles. In the third zone, the Crucifixion and the Lamentation are depicted, and in the fourth zone The Healing of the Blind and The Healing of the Paralytic, with the fragments of the Descent of the Holy Spirit at the top. In the openings and at the doorposts, there are figures of the saints.

Upper zones of the church narthex are almost completely painted with the frescoes of the Last Judgment cycle, which encompasses also the pillars between the narthex and the nave. In the first zone of these pillars are figures of the Holy Mother of God with Christ, Jesus Christ and Archangels Michael and Gabriel, in the second zone are holy poets Theophanes and Joseph, and in the third zone of the south-west pillars is the Healing of the sight of Stefan Dečanski.

Conservation works on the church architecture and fresco paintings were performed in 1955-58.


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