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However, little is known about the early history of the Draganac monastery, as the entire area of Novo Brdo, where the monastery is located, was destroyed during the Turkish invasion and the fall of Novo Brdo in 1455.

Nevertheless, it can be assumed that the monastery was connected to the Serbian medieval town of Novo Brdo, which was a center for the excavation of silver, gold, platinum, and other precious metals. Although archaeological evidence shows that there were once many monasteries in eastern Kosovo, where the Draganac monastery is located, unfortunately almost all of them were destroyed during the Ottoman rule from 1455 to 1912.

In fact, very little is known about the Draganac monastery during the period preceding its reconstruction in 1865 by the local Serbian population from the surrounding area of Gnjilan, except that people gathered at the site of the sanctuary, especially for two days a year, Eastern Friday (the first Friday after Easter) and the Feast of St. Archangel Gabriel (July 13/26).

Istorija manastira Draganac 2

On May 18, 1865, in the village of Straza, leaders from ten Serbian villages surrounding the monastery (Straza, Stanishor, Draganac, Bozhevce, Tsarevce, Vaganes, Jasnovik, Bostane, Zebince, and Manishince) gathered with the intention of building a new church in Draganac. A letter was composed and sent via Stefan Markovic, a merchant and resident of Pristina, to His Highness, the Prince and Master of the Principality of Serbia, as well as to His Excellency the Metropolitan and the Glorious Imperial Russian Consulate, imploring them for assistance in the restoration of the Draganac monastery. In that letter, we learn of the healing spring around which people gathered, “where the people who suffer from eye ailments are mostly healed. In addition, there is not a day in the year when there are not 10 to 20 people who come to carry water to their sick relatives.” With the contributions of Prince Michael’s 100 ducats, the Russian Consulate’s 500 rubles, and local residents, a new church was built on the foundations of the medieval sanctuary. The inscription above the church doors still reads, “In the name of the Divine, the Church of the Assembly of Archangels Michael and Gabriel was founded with the permission of Sultan Aziz, and blessed by the Raska-Pristina Metropolitan Mr. Meletios on March 10, 1868.”

School inspector Josif K. Popović wrote about the monastery in 1899:

“The church is small but very tastefully built. It has a cube that was copied from the Gračanica cube. The iconostasis is new and quite tastefully made. The walls are not painted with the images of saints.”

The first monk and abbot of the renewed monastic life in the monastery was hieromonk Dionisije, who has been residing in the monastery since 1897. Before becoming a monk, he was a priest of secular name Dimitrije and was known among the people as Pop-Mitke. During the second half of the 19th century, the school in the monastery was opened several times but also closed due to frequent Turkish raids.

Iguman Rus - manastir Draganac

After the death of Hieromonk Dionisije, the leaders of the monastery were mostly local priests, among whom priest Dušan Trajković suffered martyrdom, according to one testimony he was tortured and killed by Arnauts on the mountain top Savina Glava, not far from the monastery. A notable and unforgettable person is Archimandrite Grigorije Portansky, known in the people as “Russian monk”. In 1937, he was appointed as the head of the monastery, where he stayed until 1949. Highly educated, a judge in Tsarist Russia, he volunteered in the First World War to defend “beloved Serbia” in Prince Alexander Karađorđević’s brigade, he was seriously wounded and decorated with the highest wartime decoration – the Cross of St. George. In the years after the war, he remained in Serbia, unwilling to return to Bolshevik Russia. During the interwar period in Serbia, he published three novels in Russian: “The Torture of Justice,” “Three Encounters,” and “Beautiful Jelena.” He made great contributions to the defense of the monastery walls and the spiritual life of Serbs in Pomoravlje. People remembered him as a fearless man who rode horses, handed out candy to children, and shouted “Long live Serbia! Long live fraternal Russia!” He left behind records of numerous sufferings, murders, and crimes against the Serbian people from surrounding villages during the years of the Second World War. He left a testament to Ratimir Božić, archpriest of Gnjilane: “If I am killed by Arnauts, bury me on the eastern side of the church when the first rays of my mother Russia’s sun rise, so that my grave can be warmed by them.”

In the years following the Second World War, the suffering of the monastery and the brotherhood continued. The communist authorities nationalized monastery property, the monastery’s forest was illegally cut down, and the monks were subjected to torture. For a brief period from 1949 to 1951, a school operated again in the monastery. Of the authorities of that time, hieromonk Miron suffered the most, as he was beaten and had to hide in the forest. In 1970, hieromonk Miron left the Draganac Monastery for the Visoki Decani Monastery, where he was later buried. After his departure, there was no life in the monastery for more than two decades, and the faithful were even prohibited from passing through the monastery gate by the authorities. In 1997, hieromonk Serafim arrived at the monastery and began to renew monastic life.

Great contributions were made to the renovation of the monastery and the construction of the monks’ residence by the companies “Binacka Morava” and “Elektrokosmet”, as well as by numerous individuals from the faithful people. In January 1999, during the hardest time for the monastery’s abbot, hieromonk Kirilo arrived and immediately began a great effort to renovate the monastery after the end of the war. A bell tower and a large guesthouse were built, and Father Kirilo made a significant contribution to the survival of the people of Kosovo Pomoravlje in their homes. 

Otac Ilarion

In 2011, the abbot of the Draganač Monastery from Visoki Dečani, Hieromonk Ilarion, arrived. In the years to come, the monastery experienced its greatest flourishing in history. The number of brethren increased, daily liturgical services were introduced, a large guesthouse, new monk cells, a monastery farm, a house on the monastery economy and auxiliary buildings were built, and the monastery handicrafts were sold via an internet store on all continents. The monastery became a spiritual center not only for the faithful people of Kosovo Pomoravlje, but also regular visitors from Serbia, Montenegro, Republika Srpska, Macedonia, and even more distant countries. Lectures and summer schools for children are held in the monastery.

At the regular session from May 15th to 20th, 2022, the Holy Archbishop’s Assembly elected Archimandrite Ilarion, abbot of the Draganač Monastery, as the vicar of the Serbian Patriarch with the title of Bishop of Novi Sad.

On December 17th, 2022, during the Holy Archbishop’s Liturgy at the Draganac Monastery, His Grace Bishop Teodosije of Raška and Prizren announced monk Justin as the new abbot of the Draganac Monastery.

There are numerous testimonies of comfort and miracles that the Lord has bestowed upon the faithful people in His sanctuary. Here we will mention just some of them.

Miracles of the Draganac Monastery.

Milorad Vasic, an old man from the village of Carevce, in a conversation with the brotherhood of the monastery on September 1, 2020, mentions that he came to visit the monastery that "healed him" while he still can. "I was very sick as a one-year-old child, they thought I wouldn't survive. Father had a dream that he rode a white horse and came to Draganac to take water. In the morning, he told the family that I would recover. When they brought that water and bathed me in it, I grabbed onto something above me so strongly that the old people said that I would recover. And so it was."
Milorad Vasic
Trajko Stojković on March 26, 2006, says "A Albanian, I don't know where from, dreamt of a candle that told him that his sick twenty-year-old daughter would recover (speak) if he brought her to the monastery, if he sprinkled her with water from the church; swept, wiped... That was in 1960. The Albanian brought his daughter on a horse. She took the water, swept the church, wiped and cleaned those icons, and when she finished everything - she spoke - she was healed, and took the water again to drink. And the Albanian asked the monk who was in the monastery at that time how to repay. "Nothing: it's all thanks to Saint Rangel. To him be the glory." After five days, the Albanian brought a ram and donated it to the church."
Trajko Stojković

(The book "Monastery Draganać" by Milorad Mića Filipović, published by Logos in 2006, was used as a source of text about the history of the Draganać Monastery.)

History of the Monastery

The Draganac Monastery is an Orthodox monastery dedicated to the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel.

History
of the Monastery

The Draganac Monastery is an Orthodox monastery dedicated to the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel.

Draganac Monastery

According to folk tradition, the Draganac Monastery is a foundation of Saint Prince Lazar from the 14th century, and it is named after his daughter Dragana.

It is located on the rolling hills surrounded by forests, in the Kosovo-Pomoravlje District, near the medieval fortress of Novo Brdo and the town of Gjilan. Besides many other monasteries that were established in its vicinity from the Middle Ages such as Buzovik (Binac), Ubozac, Tamnica (Recane), Saint John (Berivojce), Vaganes, Saint Spiridon (near Prilepce), Holy Virgin (Bozhevce), Saint Varvara (Kmetovce), Saint Luke in Krajnje Delu, Saint Archangels Michael and Gabriel and Saint George in Trpeza (near Vitina), the Draganac Monastery is today the only surviving monastic community in Eastern Kosovo, and as such, it is the only link to ancient traditions of prayer and worship that have existed for centuries, which is significant, especially considering the recent conflicts from 1999. The oldest preserved document mentioning the Draganac Monastery is the Ravanicka Charter from 1381. It is very likely that the monastery existed even earlier and that it was renovated for many Orthodox ascetics who fled from the Byzantine Empire before the invasion of Turkish Muslims from Greece and Asia Minor to the still-free Christian Serbia.

Manastir Draganac - logo transparent

Draganac Monastery

According to folklore, the monastery is a foundation of Saint Prince Lazar from the 14th century, and it is named after his daughter, Dragana.

It is located on rolling hills surrounded by forests, in the Kosovsko Pomoravlje district, near the medieval fortress of Novo Brdo and the town of Gjilan. In addition to many other monasteries that existed in its vicinity since the Middle Ages, such as Buzovik (Binac), Ubozac, Tamnica (Recane), Saint John (Berivojce), Vaganes, Saint Spiridon (near Prilepce), Holy Mother of God (Bozhevce), Saint Barbara (Kmetovce), Saint Luke in Krajnje Delu, Saint Archangels Michael and Gabriel, and Saint George in Trpeza (near Vitina), today it is the only surviving monastery in eastern Kosovo, serving as a link to ancient traditions in prayer and service that existed for centuries in the past. This is particularly significant given the recent conflicts of 1999.

The oldest preserved document mentioning the monastery of Dragana is the Ravanica Charter from 1381. It is very likely that the monastery existed even earlier and was renovated for many Orthodox ascetics who fled from the Byzantine Empire before the invasion of Turkish Muslims from Greece and Asia Minor to still-free Christian Serbia.

Manastir Draganac - logo transparent
O manastiru Draganac 7

However, little is known about the early history of the Draganac monastery, as the entire region of Novo Brdo, where the monastery is located, was destroyed during the Turkish invasion and the fall of Novo Brdo in 1455. Nevertheless, it can be assumed that the monastery was connected to the Serbian medieval city of Novo Brdo, which was a center for excavating silver, gold, platinum, and other precious metals. Although archaeological evidence shows that there used to be a large number of monasteries in eastern Kosovo, where the Draganac monastery is located, unfortunately almost all were destroyed during the Ottoman rule from 1455 to 1912. In fact, very little is known about the Draganac monastery during the period preceding its renovation in 1865 by the local Serbian population from the surroundings of Gnjilan, except that people gathered on the foundations of the sanctuary, mostly for two days a year, for Eastern Friday (the first Friday after Easter) and the Feast of St. Archangel Gabriel (July 13/26).

O manastiru Draganac 4
O manastiru Draganac 7
However, little is known about the early history of the Draganac monastery, as the entire area of Novo Brdo, where the monastery is located, was destroyed during the Turkish invasion and the fall of Novo Brdo in 1455. It can still be assumed that the monastery was connected to the Serbian medieval town of Novo Brdo, which was a center for excavating silver, gold, platinum, and other precious metals. Although archaeological evidence shows that there were once a large number of monasteries in eastern Kosovo, where the Draganac monastery is located, unfortunately, almost all were destroyed during the rule of the Turks from 1455 to 1912. In fact, very little is known about the Draganac monastery during the period preceding its restoration in 1865 by the local Serbian population from the surrounding area of Gjilan, except that people gathered at the site of the sanctuary, especially for two days of the year: Eastern Friday (the first Friday after Easter) and the Feast of St. Archangel Gabriel (July 13/26).

On May 18, 1865, in the village of Straza, leaders from ten Serbian villages surrounding the monastery (Straza, Stanishor, Draganac, Bozhevce, Tsarevce, Vaganes, Jasnovik, Bostane, Zebince, and Manishince) gathered with the intention of building a new church in Draganac. A letter was composed and sent via Stefan Markovic, a merchant and resident of Pristina, to His Highness, the Prince and Master of the Principality of Serbia, as well as to His Excellency the Metropolitan and the Glorious Imperial Russian Consulate, imploring them for assistance in the restoration of the Draganac monastery. In that letter, we learn of the healing spring around which people gathered, “where the people who suffer from eye ailments are mostly healed. In addition, there is not a day in the year when there are not 10 to 20 people who come to carry water to their sick relatives.” With the contributions of Prince Michael’s 100 ducats, the Russian Consulate’s 500 rubles, and local residents, a new church was built on the foundations of the medieval sanctuary. The inscription above the church doors still reads, “In the name of the Divine, the Church of the Assembly of Archangels Michael and Gabriel was founded with the permission of Sultan Aziz, and blessed by the Raska-Pristina Metropolitan Mr. Meletios on March 10, 1868.”

On May 18, 1865, in the village of Straza, leaders from ten Serbian villages surrounding the monastery (Straza, Stanishor, Draganac, Bozhevce, Tsarevce, Vaganes, Jasnovik, Bostane, Zebince, and Manishince) gathered with the intention of building a new church in Draganac. A letter was composed and sent via Stefan Markovic, a merchant and resident of Pristina, to His Highness, the Prince and Master of the Principality of Serbia, as well as to His Excellency the Metropolitan and the Glorious Imperial Russian Consulate, imploring them for assistance in the restoration of the Draganac monastery. In that letter, we learn of the healing spring around which people gathered, “where the people who suffer from eye ailments are mostly healed. In addition, there is not a day in the year when there are not 10 to 20 people who come to carry water to their sick relatives.” With the contributions of Prince Michael’s 100 ducats, the Russian Consulate’s 500 rubles, and local residents, a new church was built on the foundations of the medieval sanctuary. The inscription above the church doors still reads, “In the name of the Divine, the Church of the Assembly of Archangels Michael and Gabriel was founded with the permission of Sultan Aziz, and blessed by the Raska-Pristina Metropolitan Mr. Meletios on March 10, 1868.”

Manastir Draganac 1934.godine

Манастир Драганац 1934.године

School inspector Josif K. Popović wrote about the monastery in 1899:

“The church is small but very tastefully built. It has a cube that was copied from the Gračanica cube. The iconostasis is new and quite tastefully made. The walls are not painted with the images of saints.”

The first monk and abbot of the renewed monastic life in the monastery was hieromonk Dionisije, who has been residing in the monastery since 1897. Before becoming a monk, he was a priest of secular name Dimitrije and was known among the people as Pop-Mitke. During the second half of the 19th century, the school in the monastery was opened several times but also closed due to frequent Turkish raids.

In 1899, the school inspector Josif K. Popović wrote about the monastery: “The church is small but very tastefully built. It has a dome which is copied from the dome of Gračanica. The iconostasis is new and tastefully made. The walls are not painted with the images of saints.”

Manastir Draganac 1934.godine

Манастир Драганац 1934.године

The first monk and abbot of the renewed monastic life in the monastery was Hieromonk Dionisije, who has been living in the monastery since 1897. Before becoming a monk, he was a secular priest named Dimitrije, known to the people as Pop-Mitke, from the village of Straza. During the second half of the 19th century, a school was opened several times in the monastery but was also closed due to frequent attacks by the Turks.

Iguman Rus - manastir Draganac

After the death of Hieromonk Dionisije, the leaders of the monastery were mostly local priests, among whom priest Dušan Trajković suffered martyrdom, according to one testimony he was tortured and killed by Arnauts on the mountain top Savina Glava, not far from the monastery. A notable and unforgettable person is Archimandrite Grigorije Portansky, known in the people as “Russian monk”. In 1937, he was appointed as the head of the monastery, where he stayed until 1949. Highly educated, a judge in Tsarist Russia, he volunteered in the First World War to defend “beloved Serbia” in Prince Alexander Karađorđević’s brigade, he was seriously wounded and decorated with the highest wartime decoration – the Cross of St. George. In the years after the war, he remained in Serbia, unwilling to return to Bolshevik Russia. During the interwar period in Serbia, he published three novels in Russian: “The Torture of Justice,” “Three Encounters,” and “Beautiful Jelena.” He made great contributions to the defense of the monastery walls and the spiritual life of Serbs in Pomoravlje. People remembered him as a fearless man who rode horses, handed out candy to children, and shouted “Long live Serbia! Long live fraternal Russia!” He left behind records of numerous sufferings, murders, and crimes against the Serbian people from surrounding villages during the years of the Second World War. He left a testament to Ratimir Božić, archpriest of Gnjilane: “If I am killed by Arnauts, bury me on the eastern side of the church when the first rays of my mother Russia’s sun rise, so that my grave can be warmed by them.”

After the death of Hieromonk Dionisije, the leaders of the monastery were mostly local priests, among whom priest Dušan Trajković suffered martyrdom, according to one testimony he was tortured and killed by Arnauts on the mountain top Savina Glava, not far from the monastery. A notable and unforgettable person is Archimandrite Grigorije Portansky, known in the people as “Russian monk”. In 1937, he was appointed as the head of the monastery, where he stayed until 1949. Highly educated, a judge in Tsarist Russia, he volunteered in the First World War to defend “beloved Serbia” in Prince Alexander Karađorđević’s brigade, he was seriously wounded and decorated with the highest wartime decoration – the Cross of St. George. In the years after the war, he remained in Serbia, unwilling to return to Bolshevik Russia. During the interwar period in Serbia, he published three novels in Russian: “The Torture of Justice,” “Three Encounters,” and “Beautiful Jelena.” He made great contributions to the defense of the monastery walls and the spiritual life of Serbs in Pomoravlje. People remembered him as a fearless man who rode horses, handed out candy to children, and shouted “Long live Serbia! Long live fraternal Russia!” He left behind records of numerous sufferings, murders, and crimes against the Serbian people from surrounding villages during the years of the Second World War. He left a testament to Ratimir Božić, archpriest of Gnjilane: “If I am killed by Arnauts, bury me on the eastern side of the church when the first rays of my mother Russia’s sun rise, so that my grave can be warmed by them.”

Iguman Rus - manastir Draganac

In the years following the Second World War, the suffering of the monastery and the brotherhood continued. The communist authorities nationalized monastery property, the monastery’s forest was illegally cut down, and the monks were subjected to torture. For a brief period from 1949 to 1951, a school operated again in the monastery. Of the authorities of that time, hieromonk Miron suffered the most, as he was beaten and had to hide in the forest. In 1970, hieromonk Miron left the Draganac Monastery for the Visoki Decani Monastery, where he was later buried. After his departure, there was no life in the monastery for more than two decades, and the faithful were even prohibited from passing through the monastery gate by the authorities. In 1997, hieromonk Serafim arrived at the monastery and began to renew monastic life.

Great contributions

Great contributions were made to the renovation of the monastery and the construction of the monks’ residence by the companies “Binacka Morava” and “Elektrokosmet”, as well as by numerous individuals from the faithful people. In January 1999, during the hardest time for the monastery’s abbot, hieromonk Kirilo arrived and immediately began a great effort to renovate the monastery after the end of the war. A bell tower and a large guesthouse were built, and Father Kirilo made a significant contribution to the survival of the people of Kosovo Pomoravlje in their homes.

In 2011, hieromonk Ilarion arrived as the new abbot of the monastery from Visoki Decani. In the years that followed, the monastery experienced its greatest growth in history. The number of monks increased, daily liturgical services were introduced, a large guesthouse, new monastic cells, a monastery farm, a house on the monastery economy, and auxiliary buildings were built, and the monastery’s handicrafts were sold via an online store on all continents. The monastery became a spiritual center not only for the faithful people of Kosovo Pomoravlje, but also for regular visitors from Serbia, Montenegro, Republika Srpska, Macedonia, and even more distant countries. Lectures and summer schools for children are held at the monastery.

At the regular session from May 15 to 20, 2022, the Holy Hierarchical Synod elected Archimandrite Ilarion, the abbot of the Draganac Monastery, as the vicar of the Serbian Patriarch with the title of Bishop of Novi Sad. On December 17, 2022, during the Holy Hierarchical Liturgy at the Draganac Monastery, His Grace Bishop Teodosije of Raska-Prizren announced Hieromonk Justin as the new abbot of the Draganac Monastery.

Manastir Draganac - o manastiru

Great Contributions

Great contributions were made to the renovation of the monastery and the construction of the monks’ residence by the companies “Binacka Morava” and “Elektrokosmet”, as well as by numerous individuals from the faithful people. In January 1999, during the hardest time for the monastery’s abbot, hieromonk Kirilo arrived and immediately began a great effort to renovate the monastery after the end of the war. A bell tower and a large guesthouse were built, and Father Kirilo made a significant contribution to the survival of the people of Kosovo Pomoravlje in their homes.

In 2011, hieromonk Ilarion arrived as the new abbot of the monastery from Visoki Decani. In the years that followed, the monastery experienced its greatest growth in history. The number of monks increased, daily liturgical services were introduced, a large guesthouse, new monastic cells, a monastery farm, a house on the monastery economy, and auxiliary buildings were built, and the monastery’s handicrafts were sold via an online store on all continents. The monastery became a spiritual center not only for the faithful people of Kosovo Pomoravlje, but also for regular visitors from Serbia, Montenegro, Republika Srpska, Macedonia, and even more distant countries. Lectures and summer schools for children are held at the monastery.

At the regular session from May 15 to 20, 2022, the Holy Hierarchical Synod elected Archimandrite Ilarion, the abbot of the Draganac Monastery, as the vicar of the Serbian Patriarch with the title of Bishop of Novi Sad. On December 17, 2022, during the Holy Hierarchical Liturgy at the Draganac Monastery, His Grace Bishop Teodosije of Raska-Prizren announced Hieromonk Justin as the new abbot of the Draganac Monastery.

Manastir Draganac - o manastiru

There are numerous testimonies of comfort and miracles that the Lord has bestowed upon the faithful people in His sanctuary. Here we will mention just some of them.

Miracles of the Draganac Monastery.

Milorad Vasic, an old man from the village of Carevce, in a conversation with the brotherhood of the monastery on September 1, 2020, mentions that he came to visit the monastery that "healed him" while he still can. "I was very sick as a one-year-old child, they thought I wouldn't survive. Father had a dream that he rode a white horse and came to Draganac to take water. In the morning, he told the family that I would recover. When they brought that water and bathed me in it, I grabbed onto something above me so strongly that the old people said that I would recover. And so it was."
Milorad Vasic
Trajko Stojković on March 26, 2006, says "A Albanian, I don't know where from, dreamt of a candle that told him that his sick twenty-year-old daughter would recover (speak) if he brought her to the monastery, if he sprinkled her with water from the church; swept, wiped... That was in 1960. The Albanian brought his daughter on a horse. She took the water, swept the church, wiped and cleaned those icons, and when she finished everything - she spoke - she was healed, and took the water again to drink. And the Albanian asked the monk who was in the monastery at that time how to repay. "Nothing: it's all thanks to Saint Rangel. To him be the glory." After five days, the Albanian brought a ram and donated it to the church."
Trajko Stojković

(The book "Monastery Draganać" by Milorad Mića Filipović, published by Logos in 2006, was used as a source of text about the history of the Draganać Monastery.)