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Lazarica Church

Lazarica Church is rightfully called the pearl of Moravian architecture. It was built in 1375 or 1376 in a glory of a birth of Despot Stefan, the firstborn son of Prince Lazar and the heir to the throne. The church is dedicated to Archdeacon Stefan, the saint protector of Nemanjic dynasty. Church has a clover-shaped foundation, the reduced form of an in-written cross, with three longitudinal bays, a dome over the central space and concurrently built narthex, originally constructed with an open side passages. Interior shape of apses is semicircular, while the exterior is of pentagonal shape with colonettes laid against the sides’ joining. The application of a clover –shape method in Morava Architecture School was a result of an impact of the idea of monks from Mount Athos to construction of Lazar’s Serbia, state that was greatly influenced, in a political and cultural sense, by the Mount Athos.

The upper construction lies on arches placed against pilasters. Vaults are usually semicircular, rarely cross-shaped; the dome lies on the pendentive, with inner circular and external octangular shape, and it was formed in unusually emphasised and highly placed cubical pedestal. Annex over the narthex is very characteristic since the chapel is placed in the lower part, and visual communication with the church is accomplished through a space in the wall between narthex and naos (inner chamber), while the room above was used as a bell tower. The way of building, with the characteristic changing of horizontal lines of Bela Voda’s sandstone ashlars with three lines of brick, joined by wide lines of mortar, which stand out of the wall level, is Byzantine in its essence. The elevation system shows tendencies of vertical development and grading of masses towards the final accent- the main dome with external shapes corresponding to the inner structure of a building. A specific feature of Lazarica architecture is the compactness of the base mass construction, a regular rhythm, and uniformity of composition as whole in regard to its units. Also, from the spatial and artistic position, the balance between whole architectonic frameworks of the structure was achieved as well. Lazarica Church is characteristic for its completely finished system facades decorating ,rich in ceramic-plastic decorations and particular shallow relief stone plastic of Morava School, achieved through precise sculpturing and uniformity of artistic expression, which was a significant progress compared to earlier plastic decorations of early Morava School churches. Lazarica Church icons were painted during a short Austro-Hungarian rule in Krusevac (1737 - 1739) when a Zograf companion of Andrej Andrejevic from Vrsac painted frescoes in the spirit of the baroque understanding of traditional Serbian painting. At the same time, the most necessary repairs were done on a very ruined church which had been neglected during the Ottoman rule. During the restoration of Lazarica, the church was repainted in 1843, after the liberation from the Turks. The author of frescoes was Zivko Pavlovic, a painter from Pozarevac, who painted the iconostasis of the church during 1844, right before the visit of Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic to Krusevac. Preserved inscriptions show that members of Krusevac artisans and traders guilds usually requested the services of icons painting. One of the first iconostasis created at the end of the 14th century in Krusevac and its surrounding, is characterized by archaic iconographic repertoire and accompanying stylistic features. During 1904 to 1908 comprehensive restoration and conservation church works were conducted. The church regained its original appearance, which was disturbed by various architectonic interventions during 18th and 19th century, thanks to Petar J. Popovic, an architect from the Ministry of Construction, whose work was a pioneer endeavour of its kind in Serbia. During 1908, after the design of Petar Popovic, church house and steeple were built, and much later in 1938 a monumental fence was added to the church yard (which was later relocated to the Old Cemetery of Krusevac) with a gate placed in south-western direction from the church. New parish house was built from 1997 to 2000, at the sight of an old church house, and received blessings afterwards. During the time when Karadjordje gifted a church with the bell in 1812, preserved till these days, Lazarica had already been dedicated to the birth of the Holy Mother of God. This religious holiday is celebrated today. As an exceptional work of Serbian medieval architecture and the national architectural heritage, Lazarica was proclaim

Crkva Svetog prvog mučenika Stephena, poznatija pod nazivom Crkva Lazarica

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