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Devič Monastery
Devič Monastery reconstruction after it was burned down in 2004
Monastery information
Full name Манастир Девич
Order Serbian Orthodox
Established 1434
Dedicated to St. Joanikije of Devič
Diocese Eparchy of Raška and Prizren
Founder(s) Despot Đurađ Branković
Important associated figures Đurađ Branković
Patriarch Makarije
Euphemia the Nun
Location Srbica, Drenica, Kosovo[a]
Public access Limited

Devič (Serbian Cyrillic: Девич) is a Serbian Orthodox abbey in Kosovo[a]. It was built in 1434 and is dedicated to St Joanikije of Devič. Devič was declared Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance in 1990, and it is protected by the Republic of Serbia.


The founder of the monastery is thought to be Despot Đurađ Branković, who had it built in memory of his daughter. In the Ottoman census from 1455, the monastery is mentioned as the church of the Theotokos (dedicated to The Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple). During Turkish occupation the monastery was pulled down, but the church and the site with the grave of St. Joanikije was reconstructed, and was painted in 1578.

Serbs leaving monastery after 2004 unrest

The monastery was destroyed and burnt down during World War II in 1941 by forces of the Albanian Fascist Party, the prior Damaskin Bošković was killed, and Italian troops disassembled the two big bells and took them away in 1942. It was rebuilt in 1947.

Devič was a target of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in 1999. The monastery was vandalized and all food and two cars were stolen. The marble tomb of the patron saint St. Joannicius of Devič was desecrated by local Albanian extremists in June 1999. Since then it has been under the constant protection of French KFOR troops.[1][2]

It was the target of new attacks by Albanians in the most serious unrest in Kosovo on 18 March 2004 when the nuns were evacuated for safety reasons by Danish KFOR troops. Following that the monastery was pillaged and torched. The Serbian Orthodox Church received confirmation of the monastery's plight the following day from the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).


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a.   ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has received formal recognition as an independent state from 113 out of 193 United Nations member states.


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