Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Churches of the Ascension of Christ and the Dormition of the Virgin, the architectural ensemble

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Status of monument -> National monument

Published in the „Official Gazette of BiH“ no. 90/07

Pursuant to Article V para. 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Article 39 para. 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, at a session held from 11 to 18 September 2007 the Commission adopted a






The architectural ensemble of the churches of the Ascension of Christ and the Dormition of the Virgin in Čajniče is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

The National  Monument consists of the old and new churches and movable property comprising:

-          a collection of manuscript books – 12 books

-          a collection of printed books – 56 books

-          a collection of icons – 25 icons.

The National Monument is located on a site designated as cadastral plot no. 204, Land Register entry no. 666, cadastral municipality Čajniče grad, Čajniče Municipality, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The provisions relating to protection measures set forth by the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of Republika Srpska no. 9/02) shall apply to the National Monument.




The Government of Republika Srpska shall be responsible for ensuring and providing the legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures necessary to protect and display the National Monument.

The Commission to Preserve National Monuments (hereinafter: the Commission) shall determine the technical requirements and secure the funds for preparing and setting up signboards with the basic data on the monument and the Decision to proclaim the property a National Monument.




To ensure the on-going protection of the National Monument, the following protection measures are hereby stipulated, which shall apply to the site on which the National Monument is located:

-          all works are prohibited other than conservation and restoration works and routine maintenance works, with the approval of the Ministry responsible for regional planning in Republika Srpska and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of Republika Srpska.

The following protection measures are hereby stipulated for the movable heritage referred to in clause 1 para. 2 of this Decision (hereinafter: the movable heritage):

-          the Government of Republika Srpska shall provide suitable physical and technical conditions for the safekeeping of the movable heritage

-          conservation and restoration works must be carried out on the collections of books and icons

-          the works on the said items must be carried out by a qualified person in line with a study approved by the ministry responsible for culture in Republika Srpska (hereinafter: the ministry responsible for culture) and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of Republika Srpska

-          the display and other forms of presentation of the movable heritage in Bosnia and Herzegovina shall be carried out subject to the conditions prescribed by the ministry responsible for culture.


Supervision of the implementation of the above measures to protect the movable heritage shall be carried out by the ministry responsible for culture.




All executive and area development planning acts not in accordance with the provisions of this Decision are hereby revoked.




Everyone, and in particular the competent authorities of Republika Srpska and urban and municipal authorities, shall refrain from any action that might damage the National Monument or jeopardize the preservation and rehabilitation thereof.




The removal of the movable heritage from Bosnia and Herzegovina is prohibited.

By way of exception to the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Clause, the temporary removal from Bosnia and Herzegovina of the movable heritage for the purposes of display or conservation shall be permitted if it is established that conservation works cannot be carried out in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Permission for temporary removal under the conditions stipulated in the preceding paragraph shall be issued by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, if it is determined beyond doubt that it will not jeopardize the movable heritage in any way. 

In granting permission for the temporary removal of the movable heritage from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Commission shall stipulate all the conditions under which the removal may take place, the date by which the items shall be returned to the country, and the responsibility of individual authorities and institutions for ensuring that these conditions are met, and shall notify the Government of Republika Srpska, the relevant security service, the customs authority of  Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the general public accordingly.




The Government of Republika Srpska, the Ministry responsible for regional planning in Republika Srpska, the ministry responsible for culture and the heritage protection authority of Republika Srpska, and the Municipal Authorities in charge of urban planning and land registry affairs, shall be notified of this Decision in order to carry out the measures stipulated in Articles II – VI of this Decision, and the Authorized Municipal Court shall be notified for the purposes of registration in the Land Register.




The elucidation and accompanying documentation form an integral part of this Decision, which may be viewed by interested parties on the premises or by accessing the website of the Commission (http://www.aneks8komisija.com.ba) 




Pursuant to Art. V para 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, decisions of the Commission are final.




On the date of adoption of this Decision, the National Monument shall be deleted from the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of BiH no. 33/02, Official Gazette of Republika Srpska no. 79/02, Official Gazette of the Federation of BiH no. 59/02, and Official Gazette of Brčko District BiH no. 4/03), where it featured under serial nos. 175 and 176.




This Decision shall enter into force on the date of its adoption and shall be published in the Official Gazette of BiH.


This Decision has been adopted by the following members of the Commission: Zeynep Ahunbay, Amra Hadžimuhamedović, Dubravko Lovrenović, Ljiljana Ševo and Tina Wik.


No: 07.2-2-75/04-5

12 September 2007



Chair of the Commission

Dubravko Lovrenović


E l u c i d a t i o n




Pursuant to Article 2, paragraph 1 of the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a “National Monument” is an item of public property proclaimed by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments to be a National Monument pursuant to Articles V and VI of Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina  and property entered on the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of  BiH no. 33/02) until the Commission reaches a final decision on its status, as to which there is no time limit and regardless of whether a petition for the property in question has been submitted or not.

The Commission to Preserve National monuments issued a decision to add the church of the Dormition of the Virgin in Čajniče and the church of the Ascension of Christ in Čajniče to the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina under serial nos. 175 and 176.

Pursuant to the provisions of the law, the Commission proceeded to carry out the procedure for reaching a final decision to designate the Property as a National Monument, pursuant to Article V para. 4 of Annex 8 and Article 35 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments.




In the procedure preceding the adoption of a final decision to proclaim the property a national monument, the following documentation was inspected:

  • Data on the current condition and use of the property, including a description and photographs, data of war damage, data on restoration or other works on the property, etc.
  • Historical, architectural and other documentary material on the property, as set out in the bibliography forming part of this Decision.

The findings based on the review of the above documentation and the condition of the property are as follows:


1. Details of the property


Čajniče is a small town in south-eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the border with Montenegro. At the entrance to the town, to the north, are two Orthodox churches, of which the larger is dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin and the smaller to the Ascension of Christ. The architectural ensemble is located on a site designated as cadastral plot no. 204, Land Register entry no. 666, cadastral municipality Čajniče grad, Čajniče Municipality, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Historical information

Church of the Ascension of Christ – the Old Church

From the start the church was used as a lay church and served as the parish church until the new one was built (Bosanska Vila, p. 406).

            There is no precise information on the date of its construction, but it is known to have been renovated or rebuilt in 1893 (Ševo, p. 137). Notes in some of the books in the Čajniče collection of old books certainly provide much evidence of its having been in existence before it was rebuilt. One such note is in a book entitled Knjiga Zlatoust (Chrysostom Book) dating from the late 15th or early 16th century (inventory no. 9 in the list of manuscript books). The note records that the book was donated to the church of the Dormition of the Virgin by Ilija Savić Aksentije, servant of God, in perpetual memory. The note probably refers to the Metropolitan of Herzegovina Aksentije (1751-1763), and reveals that a church dedicated, like the present-day one, to the Dormition of the Virgin was in existence in Čajniče in the mid 18th century. A note in a General Meneon (inventory no. 14 in the list of printed books) dating from 1651 records the two owners of the book, the priest Jovo Vergović of 1833, and a note of the same year on Gradaščević's uprising.

Judging from its outward appearance and certain other features, the property is almost certainly much older. This is suggested in particular by the very austere façade, the simple structural system, and the fact that the floor level is below ground level (as in the old church in Mostar or the church in Čelebići near Foča). According to the data from the file of the property compiled by the Institute for the Protection of Monuments of BiH, the property could date from the end of the 16th or early 17th century, when many Orthodox buildings were either built or restored around Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In 1891 a priest, P. Komadanović, wrote in Bosanska Vila: "It is not in fact known who built the church. Judging from local tradition, and the size and shape of the building, I maintain that it was built by the efforts and contributions of pious [Orthodox] Christians from the town and its surroundings. As regards its date of origin, the 'Sultan's firman' the original of which has fortunately been preserved in the Serbian Orthodox parish here will shed light on that. It dates back more than 300 years, and grants permission to the people to restore the roof of this church." (Bosanski Vila, p. 406).

The same article refers to an old manuscript note in the penultimate list of the old Gospels written in 1513 and which mentions the date of 1578 and the "church of the Dormition of the Virgin in Čajniče. The previous building was of of the same width and height as the building restored in 1893, but was 2.50 m shorter; this extension added another door and window at the west end." (Komadinović, p. 406).

There is no surviving written evidence of any older church other than the information given above, and archaeological excavations would be the only way of putting an exact date on its origins if some older building were to be discovered in the foundations of the present-day church.

During World War II, in the night of 11 to 12 April 1943, the church was destroyed by an explosion, with only the walls remaining.

After the war, in 1946, it was rebuilt in the same shape as before, except that the roof was raised by adding a further three courses of stone.

In the 1990s, roofing works were carried out, when it was clad with sheet metal.

Church of the Dormition of the Virgin – New Church

The foundations of the church were laid on 8 July 1857, and the church was consecrated on Assumption Day 1863. The inscription above the entrance door reveals that the church was consecrated by the Bosnian Metropolitan, Ignjatije, with priest-monk Antonije Kostić and priests Tanasije Komadanović and Josif Tanović.

The church was built in honour of the Dormition of the Virgin with the help of the old Dormition church and considerable help from the Serbian Orthodox people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Trieste and Vienna and, in particular, Sarajevo (Komadinović, p. 407).

The church was built by master-craftsman Andrija Damjanov(1), a famous 19th century architect who built a number of churches in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As well as the one in Čajniče, he and his brothers built the Orthodox Cathedral churches in Sarajevo (1868) and Moster (1873). They also built more than forty major churches in Macedonia and Serbia. They designed and built the churches themselves, and also painted murals and carved wooden fittings (Filipović, 1949, p. 33). These churches mark the first attempt to create complete compositions in the spirit of old Serbian churches.  After coming to Serbia in 1851, already with a wealth of experience as a builder acquired in numerous monumental city churches in Turkey built in the spirit of the post-Byzantine tradition supplemented by certain stylistic elements of western European provenance, Damjanov became the central figture of that time in the quest for a Serbian style. His work in this field was to stamp itself on many monumental city churches where, as in his earlier work, heterogeneous stylistic concepts prevail, but now expressed in a pronounced Serbo-Byzantine manner, of historical origins with clear models (Kadijević, p. 14).

In 1882 a powerful earthquake caused the bell tower to collapse and badly damaged the church, particularly the part of the wall against which the bell tower was built. Priest Komadanović relates that the tower collapsed down to ground level, and that large cracks appeared in the upper reaches of the walls, which were reinforced with wooden beams. The damage to the church alone cost some 6,000 florints. Afterwards the tower was replaced by a wooden bell tower above the old church.

A new stone bell tower was built between 1893 and 1897. during World War II the church was damaged by an explosion set off by Italian soldiers in the churchyard.

During the night of 26 to 27 March 1946, as a result of this damage, some of the domes and vaults and part of the south wall of the church collapsed.

The church remained in this condition for about ten years. It was restored by priest-monk Vasilije Domanović(2), who came to Čajniče in 1954. The project for the restoration of the church was by architect Momir Korunović(3) of Belgrade, in association with architect Dušan Milosavljević, and preserved the original appearance of the church. A new carved walnut iconostasis was made, and the icons mounted on it were by Ivan Meljnikov of Bitolje, a Russian.

The church was consecrated on the Nativity of the Virgin(4) 1959 by the Serbian Patriarch German.


2. Description of the property

The architectural ensemble consists of the old and new churches, churchyard and entrance gateway.

Church of the Ascension of Christ – the Old Church

The old church belongs to the group of single-aisled church, simple in ground plan and modest in size. The church lies north-east/south-west, its orientation dictated by the nature on the terrain on which it was built(5).

In ground plan the church is a rectangle measuring 14.85 m long and 6.33 m wide. A rectangular, round-arched door 90 cm m in width at the south-east end leads into the parvis at the south-west end. The parvis measures 3.28 x 5.70 m. The parvis leads into the nave, and via a stairway into the gallery. The nave measures 7.05 x 5.70 m. The nave can also be entered by another doorway in the south-east wall, of the same size and shape as the parvis door(6).

The altar area is separated from the nave by a wooden iconostasis made of parts of a larger iconostasis, or more than one, from another church, or churches.

Behind the iconostatis, at the north-east end, is the altar area, consisting of the proscomidion and diaconicon, and a semicircular (elliptical) apse at the geometric centre of the building. The proscomodion and diaconicon each have two rectangular niches about 50 cm in depth. The radius of the apse is 1.19 m.

A feature of this church is that it is almost entirely below ground to the north, with a solid retaining wall separating it from the soil. The walls are about 2.50 m high on the outside of the church. The floor is 1.50 m below ground level and is paved with stone slabs.

Light enters the church through two windows to the south-east and one each to the north-east and south-west. The present-day windows are identical in shape and size – 78 x 78 cm, and are round-arched, similar to the door. Originally the windows measured 47 x 38 cm.

The church is built of quarry stone, with walls approx. 90 cm thick. The walls are plastered and painted white on both sides. The ceilingstructure consists of a wooden barrel vault with a wooden-truss gabled roof above. The church roof was previously clad with shingles, followed by tiles, and is now clad with sheet metal.

Movable heritage

The iconostasis partition of the church of the Ascension of Christ consists of Royal Doors with a scene of the Annuciation. Above them is a circular icon in oil on canvas, with a ray-like wooden frame, depicting the Dormition of the Virgin. The area above this is filled by a large sceneof the Last Supper, in oil on canvas. This part of the iconostasis was brought to the church in Čajniče from another, much larger church. Judging from its stylistic features, this part of the iconostasis does not belong to the section composed of the Royal Doors and the circular icon above.

The part of the iconostasis below the scene of the Last Supper to the sides of the Royal Doors is clad with panelling, to which the following icons are affixed;


Artist: unidentified local artist

Date of origin: 19th century

Technique: tempera on panel

Size: 41.5 x 29 cm

Description: The icon features the half-length figure of St Nicholas in bishop's vestments, wrapped in a red cloak with an omophor over his shoulders. This is decorated with a leaf pattern. He has two crosses on his chest and a mitre on his head, surrounded by a halo. The saint is holding the Gospelin his left hand and giving a blessing with his right. The inscription St Nicholas is over his shoulder.


Artist: unidentified local artist

Date of origin: 19th century

Technique: tempera on panel

Size: 30.5 x 22 cm

Description: The lower two-thirds of the concave painted area portrays three saints frontally, St Basil the Great(7), St Gregory the Divine(8), and St John Chrysostom(9), all wearing red bishop's vestments and have haloes. The top one-third of the painting depicts the Holy Trinity in a semicircle surrounded by white clouds. The background of the icon is light blue. The painted surface is quite badly damaged.


Artist: unidentified local artist

Date of origin: 19th century

Technique: tempera on panel

Size: 46 x 34 cm

Description: The saint(10) is portrayed in a blue himation, standing with arms outspread. He has a halo, and is holding the Gospel in his left hand and a cross in his right. The painted surface is quite badly damaged.


Artist: unidentified local artist

Date of origin: 19th century

Technique: tempera on panel, silver-mounting, embossing, gilding

Size: 43 x 38 cm (with frame)

Description: The painted surface of the icon is mounted in sheet silver, gilded in places. The silver leaves exposed the head of the saint in the middle of the icon, the head of the princess in the tower, or the angel's head in the top right corner. The scene portrays the saint on a rearing horse, holding a long spear with which he is killing the dragon. He is wearing the garb of a Roman soldier, and has a radiating gilded halo. His shoes are also gilded, and there is gilding on parts of the dragon. To the left of the saint, in the background, is a tower with a princess in  it.  An angel among clouds occupies the top right corner. The corners of the silver mount are decorated with intertwined tendrils and the surface between them with embossed dots.  At the bottom of the icon the name ST GEORGE is embossed in Cyrillic capitals. The icon has a thick wooden frame.


Artist: unidentified local artist

Date of origin: 19th century

Technique: tempera on panel

Size: 46 x 36 cm (with frame)

Description: The icon portrays a middle-aged man in bishop's vestments, with an omophor around his neck. He is giving a blessing with his right hand, and holding the Gospel in his left. He has a halo. The inscription ST IGNATIUS(11) in Cyrillic is at the top of the icon. The background of the icon is blue.


Artist: unidentified local artist

Date of origin: late 18th or early 19th century

Technique: tempera on panel

Size: 72.5 x 51 cm

Description: Christ is portrayed with long dark hair and a short beard, wearing a crown around which is a halo. He is giving a blessing with his right hand and holding the Gospel, closed, in his left. Two angels on clouds occupy the top corners of the icon.


Artist: unidentified local artist

Date of origin: late 18th or early 19th century

Technique: tempera on panel

Size: 74 x 49 cm

Description: The centre of the icon is occupied by the frontal figure of the Virgin in a red cloak, holding in front of her the Christ child, with long hair and a gilded halo. The Christ child is giving a blessing with his right hand. Two angels are depicted on clouds above the Virgin's shoulders, placing a gilded crown on her head.


Artist: unidentified local artist

Date of origin: 19th century

Technique: tempera on panel

Size: 45 x 38 cm

Description: St Barbara the Great Martyr is portrayed frontally, her head turned slightly to the right, wearing a red robe and red cloak. She has a crown on her head, with a halo around it filled in with dark lines. The Great Martyr is holding a cross in her left hand and a chalice in her right, held head height and looking at it. A small figure of Christ is depicted in the top right corner. The words ST BARBARA THE GREAT MARTYR are inscribed in capital letters at the bottom of the icon.


Artist: unidentified local artist

Date of origin: 19th century

Technique: tempera on panel, silver-mounting, embossing, gilding

Size: 43 x 58 cm (with frame)

Description: The painted surface of the icon is mounted in sheet silver, gilded in places. The silver leaves exposed the face of the Virgin and Christ whom she is holding in her arms. The edge of the mount is decorated with embossed floral and tendril-like motifs. KANSKIA P is embossed at the bottom of the icon in Cyrillic capitals.


Artist: unidentified local artist

Date of origin: 19th century

Technique: tempera on panel

Size: 24 x 19 cm

Description: The saint is portrayed standing, in the garb of a Roman soldier, wearing a red cloak. He has wings, and is holding his attributes – in his right hand, a raised sword, and in his left, which is by his side, scales. He has a gilded halo. The top of the icon bears an inscription in Cyrillic, in white lettering: "Arch. Mich."

Church of the Dormition of the Virgin – the large church

The church of the Dormition is a monumental triple-aisled building, rectangular in ground plan, measuring 28 x 15 m on the outside and 25.9 x 12.80 m on the inside. The church lies east-west, with the high altar at the west end below the built-on stone bell tower and the altar area with apse at the east end of the church.

The side aisles are separated from the central nave by a colonnade consisting of a row of five stone piers on each side, octagonal in section, with a diameter of 90 cm and sides measuring 35 cm. The piers stand on richly decorated stone bases (torus), 1.05 m wide at the base and 85 cm wide at the top, with a height of 75 cm. The piers are topped by richly decorated capitals 70 cm in height, at the base of which is the transition from the octagonal to the square section. The top of the capital is 1.05 m wide.  Overall, including the base and capital, the piers are 6.50 m in height. The side aisles of the church are 2.60 m wide and 9.30 m high overall. The central nave is 6.10 m, and the overall height of the central area of the church is about 13 m. There are seven small domes above each of the side aisles, each with a diameter of 2.60 m, while over the central nave are four larger domes with a diameter of 6.10 m. The load of the dome is transferred via trompes to longitudinal and transverse arches with a thickness of 90 cm, and thence to the walls and piers of the church. The arches are further reinforced at impost-level by horizontal beams at a height of 6.50 m. "In this church the oriental method of shaping and decorating the domes was applied. The builder set no fewer than eighteen shallow blind domes of bezistan [covered suq] type over the nave and aisles, giving the entire building an eastern rather than a Serbo-Byzantine architectural character." (Kadijević, p. 23).

A wooden choir was erected by the west wall of the church, reached via a wooden staircase to the north-west of the building.

The alter area is separated from the nave by a 90 cm thick wall, pierced by openings leading into the side sections of the altar. The central area of the altar is twice as wide as the side sections, the proscomidion and diaconicon. The apse of the church in Čajniče is elliptical on the inside, with a width of 5 metres and a depth of 2.25 m, and five-sided on the outside, with the sides measuring 1.30 m in width.

As soon as the church had been completed and consecrated in 1863, the interior was furbished with an iconostasis, carved wooden furnishings, icons and wall paintings. However, the church was damaged during World War II, and the interior, wall paintings and church furnishings were destroyed.

In 1954, during the restoration of the church, the walls were painted and decorated with floral and geometric designs. The lower part of the walls was clad with wooden panelling with seats attached. The vaults of the domes were painted with a symbolic decoration of light azure sky and gold stars. The figure of Christ Pantocrator was painted in the dome by the altar, and that of the Virgin in the semidome in the apse. It was then that the new iconostasis was made.

The side wings of the iconostasis partition are of masonry and the central part of wood.

The north side wing of the iconostasis is painted with the following scenes, from north to south:

  1. Nativity of the Virgin (in a large medallion)
  2. Nativity of Christ
  3. St Stephen the First Crowned
  4. St Stephen of Dečani
  5. St Basil of Ostrog

The south side wing of the iconostasis is painted with the following scenes, from south to north:

  1. Dormition of the Virgin (in a large medallion)
  2. Resurrection of Christ
  3. Emperor Milutin
  4. Archbishop Arsenius

The central section of the iconostasis partition is made of walnut with carved decoration. The icons mounted on it are in oil on canvas.

Visually, the iconostasis partition can be divided into three tiers, the lower, the central, and the topmost round-arched tier.

The lower tier of the carved wooden iconostasis partition contains the following icons, from north to south:

  1. St George
  2. Archangel Michael – on the entrance door to the altar (with a winged angel above him)
  3. St Simeon the Serb
  4. St Nicholas
  5. The Virgin
  6. Royal Doors with scene of the Annunciation
  7. Jesus Christ
  8. St John the Baptist
  9. St Sava the Serb
  10. St Stephen the Archdeacon – on the entrance door to the altar (with a winged angel above him)
  11. Raising of Lazarus

Icons on the middle tier of the iconostasis partition, from north to south:

  1. Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ
  2. Transfiguration of the Lord
  3. Last Supper
  4. Ascension of Christ
  5. Descent of the Holy Spirit onto the Apostles

The topmost, semicircular section (the ends of the iconostasis partition are curved towards the ceiling of the church) contains circular medallions of the twelve apostles. A cross is attached to the centre of this semicircular section.

Each saint or scene on the icons of the iconostasis partition is accompanied by a title in white Serbian-recension capital letters.

The carving on the iconostasis partition is particularly fine on the pillars bearing the throne icons of the Virgin and Jesus Christ. The pillars by the Royal Doors are decorated with a relief motif of vine leaves and fruit, while those between the throne icons and St Nicholas on the one side and St John the Baptist on the other are decorated with sprays of flowers. The top corners of the opening fitted with the Royal Doors are also decorated with relief carving of two elements bearing a peacock.

The main door to the church is at the west end, below the bell tower. It was donated to the church in 1862 by one Savka Runjevac of Sarajevo. The door is 1.90 m wide and 2.50 m high. The double, pointed-arched doors are made of wood.

The doorjambs and lintel are stone, and are very elaborately decorated. The doorjambs are composed of a single piece of stone, decorated with stylized floral motifs. The right-hand and left-hand doorjambs differ in both composition and motifs.

The lintel consists of three pieces of stone. The top and sides are edged along their full length with a band of vines, below which are two wine jugs. The composition of the entrance area is completed by an elaborate cornice above which is a plaque recording the consecration of the church.

The church may also be entered from the south, through the south door, donated in 1862 by the Marić brothers of Glasinac. Above this door is a structure consisting of two pillars linked by a round arch. The pillars are stone, with a diameter of 45 cm, and are set 2.50 m apart. The whole structure is about 6 metres high and ends in a baroque-style cornice.

The longitudinal facades each have seven windows – seven along the nave and one lighting the altar. All are tall, narrow and round-arched, and all are of the same size – 65 cm wide and about 1.40 m high. There are two windows of the same shape at the west end and at the east end – one each in the altar and the proscomidion. The windows have decorated window jambs in the form of square pillars with bases and capitals, and round-arched lintels with very prominent cornices. The entire composition rests on a richly moulded cornice supported by two rectangular brackets. The window panes are round, though they oreiginally had iron grilles.

The church in Čajniče is built of stone, with the "top of the foundations of stone for 3 arshins, and the rest of tufa." The domes are of tufa, extracted near the property. Two sandstone plaques were mounted on the south-west corner of the building. The top plaque bears an illegibled Cyrillic inscription and the figure of a horse; the lower the carved motifs of a cross and two cypresses.

The entire church is plastered, apart from the lower parts that are composed of dressed limestone.

The bell tower of the church in Čajniče is square in section, measuring 6 x 6 m. It stands on a system of tetrapylons measuring 1.80 x 1.80 m, with a passageway 2.40 m wide between them.

Vertically, it can be divided into five sections, the first of which is the same height as the church. This section contains three passageways – west, north and south – all round-arched. The second and third sections of the bell tower are identical, except that the third is rather narrower than the second. In section, the bell tower changes from a square to an octagon at this point, since the designer chamfered the corners of the bell tower. The windows here are in the shape of Romanesque biforas. The decoration of the window openings is simple, mimicking those of the church in shape.  The windows of the bell tower are wooden with metal Venetian blinds.  Above this section of the bell tower is a section with a built-in clock, and finally a neo-Baroque roof clad with sheet copper.

There is a strongly accentuated string course between each of these sections. The entire bell tower is stone-built.

The churchyard is spacious, and surrounded by a stone wall. To the south-west is a decorate gatehouse similar to that of the Cathedral Church in Mostar (which was designed by Momir Korunović (Kadijević, 1997, p. 22). To the north-west is the new Konak building, housing the Museum.

Damjanov's church architecture designed for Serbian Orthodox parishes, like everything this polymath architect from the southern Balkans built, is a symbiosis of a number of stylistic and functional options. It has elements of Byzantine and post-Byzantine architecture (the silhouettes of the domes above the nave, the treatment of the ground plan, the use of traditional porticoes), of Serbo-Byazantine architecture, and of Romanesque, Gothic, Levantine Baroque and Islamic architecture, used in the decorative terminations of the elevation and the treatment of the string courses and cornices, and in the mixed structures and treatment of the inteerrior, while elements of western European Baroque are seen primarily in the forms and details of the bell tower (Kadijević, 1997, p. 23). These buildings will continue to be remembered for their unusual eclecticism and successful blend of styles, as well as for the rich inventiveness of the artist, who was capable of satisfying the most diverse demands of those who commissioned works from hims (Kadijević, 1997, p. 23).

The Icon known as the Čajniče Beauty is housed in the church in Čajniče. The reverse bears the figure of St John the Precursor. The icon is said to have miraculous powers, and is the subject of pilgrimage.  It is displayed in a glass case in the church to preserve it from damage. The glass case with the icon stands on a throne topped by a wooden decoration resembling a crown or baldaquin.


Bilateral icon (12)

Artist: unidentified Byzantine artist

Date of origin: 1329 or 1330

Technique: tempera on panel

Size: 103 x 73 cm

Description: The oldest and certainly the most valuable icon in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the miraculous icon of the Čajniče Beauty from the church of the Dormition of the Virgin. It is the only surviving example and the only 14th century icon in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The processional icon of the Virgin Peribleptos with Christ on one side and St John the Baptist on the other is the work of an unidentified Byzantine artist, and dates from 1329 or 1330(13).

The icon was later repainted, possibly in the sixteenth century. The original layer of paint has been preserved on the faces, but the retouched surfaces around them cannot be precisely dated. Later retouches can be seen, for example, below the crack in the panel in the lower sections of the scene, where the Child holds in his hands a scroll with an inscription in Serbian, and not in the original Greek (on the opposite side, the scroll held by St. John is written in Greek). The inscription reads "Mladenac ... tebje rad... milostju"  (Bridegroom . . . ??? . . .in mercy).

The Virgin is depicted with a prominent nose and a melancholy expression. On the Čajniče icon the modelling is achieved mainly by deep, dark brown shadows with sharp edges, and the addition of darkgreen along the edges of the oval face. The highlights in the eyes are drawn with clean white lines along the very edges of the shadows. This still further accentuates the characteristic Byzantine abstract view of volume, given in sharp contrasts of light and dark, with no tonal modelling. The skin tones of reddish ochre are modelled using soft but still visible brushstrokes. The firm linear elements and realistic conception of the figures to some extent links the Čajniče Beauty with the mid 14th century icons from the Dečani iconostasis. In its nobility of painterly treatment, the Čajniče icon indubitably reveals the hand of a highly skilled icon painter in the Palaeologus style, and its artistic value is comparable with the finest Ohrid icons of the same period.

A small iconographic idiosyncrasy of the Čajniče Virgin – the fact that she holds the Child on her right arm, and not on her left as usual – connects this motif with the legend of the icon painted by St. Luke while the Virgin herself was posing for him. An illustration of this legend has been preserved on the 14th century frescoes of the Mateiča monastery in Skopska Montenegro. The centre of the cult of this figure of the Virgin not made by human hand was in the Abramita monastery in Constantinople. There are relatively few frescoes and icons in this part of the world showing this type of the Virgin with the Child on her right arm, the miraculous icons of the face not created by human hand, the benefactor who helps people in need.  Among wooden icons, this iconographic type first occurred in the Virgin from the Serbian monastery of Hilandar on Mount Athos (13th century), in the Virgin Episkepsis from the Church of the Holy Healers Cosmas and Damian in Ohrid (second half of the 14th century), and in the Čajniče icon of the Virgin Peribleptos. The epithets accompanying the figure of the Virgin Evergetide are usually associated with the merciful character of this icon. It is entirely the exception for her to be associated with the term Peribleptos, as on the Čajniče icon, which cannot be associated with that iconographic type.

How much the practical function of an icon influenced its subject matter and the manner of its artistic execution is particularly important question when processional icons are concerned.  An example of a bilateral painted icon from Castoria dating from the 12th century, with the Virgin Hodegetria on one side and the Dead Christ on the other, convincingly reveals the powerful and logical link between the two scenes, pertaining to the text of the liturgy of Christ’s Passion. In this early example, the Virgin is not portrayed enjoying her Child, but with an expression of deep sorrow, explained by the figure of the Dead Christ on the reverse of the icon. The essential meaning of the icon of the Virgin with Christ from Castoria, as the visual expression of its ritual function, links the infinitely sorrowful expression on the Virgin’s face with the same expression on the much later Čajniče icon. The endless sorrow of the Virgin's face and the pointedly worried face of Christ in the Čajniče icon, reveal their dramatic inner tension by means of deep shadows and slanting eyebrows, which stress the eternal grief in the Virgin's eyes. As early as the eleventh century, "the crying Virgin" and "the passionate Virgin" were mentioned in church poetry. Just as on the Castoria icon the figure of the Dead Christ is associated with the expression of sorrow on the Virgin’s face on the reverse, so in the Čajniče icon the image of St. John the Baptist, in a similar though much less dramatic and moving way, is related to the sorrowful expression on the Virgin's face on the Čajniče icon. The scroll written in Greek which the Baptist holds in his hands reads as follows: "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4: 17). The words define the Baptist as a prophet who announces Christ's incarnation. The Virgin's final realization of the necessity of Christ's sufferings in order to attain salvation, as well as a comprehensive utterance of the secret of sacrifice and salvation, is a part of the theological idea of the Čajniče icon, and to some extent links it to the Castoria icon.

This passage from the Gospel according to Matthew usually accompanies the iconographic type of John the Baptist as a Angel with wings. This type of winged prophet stood, in fact, at the end of the long genesis of the Precursor’s figure bearing the attribute of the passage from Matthew, before he acquired wings in his final iconographic form. In mediaeval art the passage “Repent…” accompanied figures of the Precursor without wings, as a bust or full length, as for example in Serbian murals. An early appearance of the same passage accompanying representations of St. John the Baptist in the same manner as presented in the Čajniče icon, can be found in the monasteries of Nerezi (12th century), Žiča (13th century) and Gračanica (14th century).

The Sarajevo goldsmith Risto Andrić, son of another goldsmith, Andrija Mirosavljević, furnished the Čajniče icon with its covering of gilded silver in 1868. It took him three years to produce such an outstanding example of the 19th goldsmith's art (Rakić, 1998, 11- 17)



Artist: Andrija Raičević.

Date of origin: mid 17th century

Technique: tempera on panel.

Size: 44.5 x 34.5 cm

Note: the icon is quite badly damaged.

Description: The background of the lower part of the icon is dark, and of the upper half red. The icon portrays the half-length figure of St Nicholas in bishop's vestments, holding the Gospel in his left hand and giving a blessing with his right. His hair is treated in broad waves.  The lines on his face and the most sensitive areas are boldly accented in white. The saint has deep rings under his eyes, a prominent forehead and heavy eyebrows, and characteristically elongated lips, in which this icon resembles Raičević's other works, regardless of the extent of the damage (Rakić, 1998, 95)


Artist: unidentified local artist

Date of origin: late 18th or early 19th century

Technique: tempera on panel

Size: 37 x 28.5 cm

Description: the slightly concave painted surfaces depicts the scene of Christ's entry into Jerusalem. In the foreground is Christ riding on a donkey, with a boy spreading a cloth in front of him with food for the animal. Behind him are the faces of two apostles, and the haloes of a number of other apostles. In the background is another boy, climbing a tree.


Artist: unidentified local artist

Date of origin: about 1894.

Technique: tempera on panel

Size: 72 x 55.5 cm

Description: The centre of the icon is occupied by a large figure of St George on a rearing horse. The saint is dressed as a soldier, with a cross on his chest, a helmet on his head, and a halo around it. He is holding his spear with both hands as he pierces the dragon. In the background is a castle on a hill, with a princess standing outside it.

The lower part of the icon bears a Cyrillic inscription: "Donated by Simo Lučić of Sarajevo to this holy church in memory of his son the late Bogdan 1894."


Artist: unidentified artist

Date of origin: 16th century

Technique: canvas laid on panel

Size: 67 x 49.5 cm

Description: two figures against an ochre background, St Demetrius(14) on a rearing horse and the supine figure of a heathen emperor. The saint is wearing gold chainmail, and a gold helmet with a red plume, a violet mantle swirling around him. He is holding a spear in both hands as he spears the emperor. An angel hovers above the saint, holding a floral garland in its raised left hand.

The painted layer is missing in places. All that remains of the Cyrillic inscription to the right of the icon, level with the saint's head, is "..tis."


Artist: unidentified local artist

Date of origin: 18th century

Technique: tempera on panel

Size: 53.5 x 40 cm

Description: The icon depicts the Abgar(15) type of Christ. Only Christ's head is shown. The two halves of the face are symmetrical, with the beard forked at the ends. The signs of suffering can be seen on the face. The head is surrounded by a halo. The cloth is held by two angels in the top corners of the icon.


Artist: unidentified local artist

Date of origin: 18th century

Technique: tempera on panel

Size: 32.5 x 28 cm

Description: The icon consists of two boards of different widths. It portrays the Virgin in a red cloak, with a ring on her right forefinger. She is holding the infant Christ on her right arm. He too is wearing a red cloak. He is holding a rolled scroll in his right hand. Both have blue haloes with the outer edges rimmed with yellow dots. The Cyrillic initials MR feature at head height to the right of the Virgin and TY to the left(16).


Artist: unidentified Serbian icon painted

Date of origin: 1574

Technique: tempera on panel

Size: 76 x 54 cm

Description: the central panel portrays St George Cephalophoros, wearing the garb of a Roman soldier and holding a spear in one hand. In the other he is holding his severed head, evidence of his martyrdom, and a scroll bearing the words "See, O my [Lord] Christ, your servant whose head the lawless have cut off for your sake."  Christ is in the top right corner placing a martyr's crown on his head. Christ is holding in his left hand a scroll with the words "O martyr, for that I crown you with the crown of incorruptibility." At the bottom of the scene by the saint's feet is the donor's inscription, recording that Kosta Janković of the village of Dravoda ordered is to be made and that it was so made in 1574.

The top tier of the icon depicts the following scenes:

1.       St. George making the confession of the faith to Christ before the Emperor Diocletian

2.       St George tortured with a boulder(18)

3.       St. George being tortured on a cross with his arms tied to the upright

The scenes on the left-hand side are:

1.       St. George being tortured on the wheel

2.       St George being tortured by being thrown into the flaming furnace in the presence of the angel of salvation

3.       St George raising a dead man

The scenes on the right-hand side are:

1.       St. George being shod with red-hot shoes

2.       St George drinking poison but remaining alive

3.       Empress Alexandra being received into Christianity by St George

The bottom row has more scenes than there is room for. As a result they are not clearly separated, but merge into each other.

1.       Christ appearing to St. George in the dungeon

2.       St George reviving the ox of the farmer Glicerius

3.       The beheading of St. George and the death of the Empress Alexandra

4.       The saint holding the beard of the emperor, who is seated on the throne, in one hand and making to strike him with the other, although the inscription to this scene refers to the destruction of idols(19).

The gilded carving of this icon, with a motif of interlacing and spiral pillars joined by an arch, bears the usual features of Peć woodcarvers.  The colour palette of the icon is very vivid, and its main accents are skilfully deployed over red and pink areas, accentuated by the gold background (Rakić, 1998, 72-74, Brkić, 1984, 260-261)


Artist: unidentified artist

Date of origin: 19th century

Technique: tempera on panel

Size: 95 x 94.5 cm

Description: the icon is circular. It was probably part of an older iconostasis. St Luke is portrayed seated, as an elderly man with grey beard and hair, wearing a white robe and wrapped in a burgundy-red cloak. He has a halo around his head. His hands are folded in his lap and his fingers intertwined. There are two scrolls in his lap. In the background is a river gorge with poplars along it, and an avenue of palm trees opposite. The top central area of the painting has the saint's attribute of a winged ox in a circle. To the left of the painting is a Cyrillic inscription: St Luke the Apostle. The icon is in the western Christian iconographic and stylistic manner.


Artist: unidentified artist

Date of origin: 19th century

Technique: tempera on canvas

Size: 140 x 143 cm

Description: The centre of the painting depicts the Virgin seated on a raised throne, wearing a blue robe, with a halo around her head. Six of the apostles on each side of her are standing in a semicircle, three on each side and the other six are seated. They appear to be in conversation(20). Some of them are holding scrolls. They are wearing pastel-coloured robes.  Tongues of flame are falling from the top of the painting onto the Virgin and the Apostles. The painting is in the western Christian iconographic and stylistic manner.


Artist: unidentified artist

Date of origin: 19th century

Technique: tempera on canvas

Size: 121 x 83.5 cm

Description: The painting depicts the two saints frontally, with Methodius to the right, portrayed as an elderly man with grey beard and hair wearing a white robe and wrapped in a white cloak with an omophor over his robe. He is holding a closed book in his right hand. Cyril (Constantine), to the left, is portrayed as a middle-aged man with dark hair and beard, wearing a white robe with a dark omophor over it, and wrapped in a dark cloak. He is holding the Scriptures, open, and has a halo around his head. An angel can be made out in the background.


Artist: unidentified artist

Date of origin: 19th century

Technique: tempera on panel

Size: 61 x 42 cm

Description: Compositionally, the icon consists of two sections, a smaller, lower section occupies a third of the total surface and a top section. The lower part of the painting depicts five liturgists in a row, facing forward.

The centre of the top part is occupied by the frontal figure of the Virgin, wrapped in a red-green cloak, with a gilded halo. She is holding Christ on her left arm, and pointing to him with her right. Christ is also shown facing foward, wearing a bluish robe with a red-gold cloak over it, and a gilded halo. He is holding a scroll in his left hand and giving a blessing with his right. St John is standing to the right of the Virgin, holding the Gospel. The Archangel Gabriel is standing to the left of the Virgin, barefoot, with his arms across his chest. Both St John and the Archangel have haloes.

Above these two saints, in the top corners of the icons, are two angels on clouds, with the inscripition MP-TY in cartouches beside them.


Artist: unidentified artist

Date of origin: 17th century

Technique: tempera on panel

Size: 41.8 x 31 cm

Description: The background of the top half of the icon is gilded and the bottom is painted brown. Against this background, the figure of the Virgin with her left shoulder slightly forward and her head leading against that of Christ, who is on her left arm. She is wearing a blue robe and is wrapped in a pink cloak, with over it and her head another wrap decorated with a yellow floral pattern on a red ground. The pink cloak is elaborately pleated.  At the top of the picture, two hovering angels are lowering a crown onto her head. Christ is portrayed in a lively position, holding a scroll in his right hand, which the Virgin is holding. His left hand reaches out to her left shoulder. He is wearing a bluish robe and a red belt. To the left and right of the Virgin's head is the inscription MR-TY.  Both the Virgin and Christ have haloes.


Artist: unidentified artist

Date of origin: 18th century

Technique: tempera on panel

Size: 46 x 35.3 cm.

Description: the frontal figure of St John the Baptist is given against an ochre background, portrayed as a middle-aged, brown-haired man with pronounced eyebrows, wearing a red robe with a dark cloak over it. He has large wings on his back. He is holding in his left hand a scroll and a platter with his severed, haloed head on it, and giving a blessing with his right.


Artist: unidentified artist

Date of origin: late 18th or early 19th century

Technique: tempera on panel

Size: 36 x 25.5 cm

Description: The frontal figure of the Guiding Virgin is given against a gold background, wearing a dark red cloak. She has a crown on her head, with around it a halo filled with tendril-like floral ornament. She is holding Christ on her left arm and pointing to him with her right. Christ is also shown frontally, with a crown on his head surrounded by a halo. He is giving a blessing with his right hand and holding a rolled scroll in his left. The monogram IS-HS is inscribed in small Cyrillic lettering by his left shoulder. The top corners of the icon contain the inscription MP-TY in cartouches.

Manuscript books 


The four Gospels on parchment have not survived intact – at the beginning, the Gospel according to Matthew is missing up to Chapter 7, while at the end the Gospel according to Luke to Chapter 22 verse 62 and the whole of the Gospel according to John are missing. Some pages are also missing from the middle of the book, leaving a total of 167 pages surviving.

The parchment is fairly thick and stiff, though with some thinner, softer pages. It is white, clean and smooth, made of well-treated leather, but has become dirty and yellowed with age. It is probably of Italian origin. The covers are leather, probably 18th century.

The Gospel is in octavo format.

The pages measure 19.5 x 14.5 cm.

In most cases the actual text measures 14 x 10 to 10.5 cm.

The number of lines on each page is not always the same, ranging from 20 to 22, but with some pages of 18, 19, 21 or 23 lines.

The pages of the Gospel were not originally numbered. The quarternions were marked later in Slav numbers in the top left corner, from the third to the sixteenth quarternion only. In terms of numbers of pages, the quarternions are not all the same, with 8 or 10 pages. The text was written by three or four scribes alternately, as can be seen from the direct extensions of the first two; the third hand is markedly different, with a very rounded script.

In addition to the palaeographic features of the text belonging to that period, evidence that the entire Gospel was transcribed in the 14th and 15th century is to be found in the intitulation of Prince Pavle (Radenović) in the miniscules of his office in the margins of pages 115b and 116b. This text is in small upright, the letters measuring 4 mm, narrow and slender in shape with the characteristic forms of lapidary script from stećak tombstones. It is in ijekavski [one of the variants of the common language] with many archaic linguistic forms, but also with an admixture of the spoken forms and vocal features of common speech. The text includes a number of Greek loanwords transcribed in the Serbo-Slav recension, meaning that the transcript is of Greek origin. The sections for readings are distributed by začali, which are identical to that used in the Orthodox church. Palaeographically, this manuscript is similar to the Mostar Gospel of Manojlo the Greek.

The manuscript is decorated with initials, especially in Matthew. The initials are of various size, extremely archaic, often in double interlacing, with palmettes, semi-palmettes and volutes. The line is in vermilion red, and some are filled in with blue or red pigment. They reveal the simplified features of Byzantine forms.

The most interesting initial is on sheet 35a of the Gospel according to Matthew, showing the figure of a man as the Cyrillic letter I, accompanying the text of the rich young man asking Christ how to gain the kingdom of heaven. The figure is holding an unusual article, resembling a large and a small dish. The line is in red, with red pigment. The head of the figure is crudely, primitively drawn. The hair, drawn wig-like, is hanging down the figure's back. The clothes and lower part of the figure are almost geometrically stylized and coloured in unusual contrasts of red and blackish brown. The right half of the clothing is painted red here and there and decorated with a semicircular red pattern on a white ground, while the left half is reddish brown. The figure is wearing a belt of the kind worn in mediaeval times. Pointed boots of the kind worn in the 14th and 15th century are drawn on the feet, the right book black and the left red.

In form, clothing and stylization the figure is largely reminiscent of human figures on stećak tombstones.

The manuscript also contains a Glagolitic inscription. Pages 89b and 90a were left blank, though the text from the previous page continues without a break on the next (91b). A Glagolitic inscription was latter written on blank page 90a, in black ink, 13 lines covering 2/3 of the page, an area 9.5 cm high and 12 cm wide. The letters are 4-5 mm high, apart from those that are higher by their very nature. The inscription contains a text from the Gospel according to John, Chapter 15, from verse 17: "These things I command you, that ye love one another. . ." and ends midway through verse 20 with the words "the servant is not greater than his lord" [thus in the King James Bible: Trans.] 

The inscription is partly in a blend of round and square Glagolitic with an admixture of Cyrillic lettering. Whoever wrote it seems to have been more familiar with Cyrillic and to have only a passing familiarity with Glagolitic. It is probably, from the colour of the ink, which is blacker than that used to transcribe most of the Gospel, and the writing in Cyrillic lettering, that the note is somewhat later than the Gospel itself.

Sheet 92b in the Gospel according to Mark bears a drawing of Marko Kraljević as ruler and saint with a nimbus and Cyrillic signature: st. Marko Kralevića.

This is the only drawing of Marko Kraljević in our old books, and of his being treated as a saint with the attributes of a saint and a ruler. The drawing is crude and naive, drawn in imitation of iconographic figures of holy warriors and rulers (Momirović, 1956, 174-176).


The Gospels are written on smooth, full white paper with a watermark of an anchor in a surround with a six-pointed star at the top. It was probably written by two scribes, the first hand is more orderly and the second cruder, with larger lettering.

It consists of 398 well-preserved sheets. They are no longer of their original size, having been cut down during binding in the19th century.  They now measure 27.2 x 20 cm.

The text ranges in size from 19.5 to 20 x 12 cm with 20 lines on each page. The pagination is marked by quaternions, bottom centre of the ends of the first and last pages of each quire, in red. The quires have ten sheets, in the case of 33 quarternions, with the others consisting of 4, 5, 6, 7 and up to 12 sheets.

The Gospel is in Serbian recension of the 16th century Rascian type. The text is in bold semi-upright, in red and brown ink, with the chapter heads, notes and text divisions in vermilion. The letters between the basic lines are 7 to 8 mm i size. The Gospel was transcribed by a single person.

The chapter heading to Theophilactus' foreword and the beginnings of each of the Gospels are decorated with vignettes in various combinations of interlacing and colour modelled on ornaments of the Moravian school in the late 14th and first half of the 15th century. The titles are in bold, decorative, ornate letters, in the liturgy, and the beginning of each Gospel is decorated with delicate ornate initials.

Note on sheet 398b: scan

The note on sheet 398a is by the scribe, priest Oliver, linked with the Papraća monastery. In it he describes the difficult times that followed the Ottoman offensive on northern Bosnia and the fall of the Srebrenica banate in1512.

Note by priest Vuk on the verso of the contents of Mark's Gospel at the end of quaternion 12 at the top of the page: scan

Watermark: scales in a circle, of the type Briquet 2456 of 1508-1510, and scales in a cartouche, of the type Briquet 2471 of 1482-1537 Momirović, 1956, 175-176, Mošin, Traljić, 1959, 92)


The Gospels measure 20 x 27 cm, with 124 sheets. Semi-upright. In very poor repair.  Bound in new leather covers with Octoechos no 9 and condensed Prologue for the semester from the late 16th century  no. 12.


§         scissors, type Briquet 3668 of 1454

§         small scissors, type Briquet 3669 of 1457/8

§         crossed arrows similar to Briquet 6269 of 1454.

Page 123 bears an inscription: "Let it be known when the Germans torched Sarajevo in the summer of (7205=1697) when Sultan Mustava [sic] reigned. There were no pashas in Bosnia, month of October 13 on the eve of St Petka Paraskeva" (Mošin, Traljić, 1959, 92)


The menaion measures 21.5 x 31 cm and has 161 sheets. It has a new binding and has been inexpertly restored using ordinary paper.  There is mauvish mould on f. 34-40. The first seven sheets were added later – according to a 1750 note. Watermarks of the original work: an anchor in a circle with a star and countermarks PA with a cross, PC and B – all from the second quarter of the 16th century; on the additional section of 1750, three crescent moons.

Written in bold script. The initials are red, the rest black. At the bottom of the sheet of the office for 1 October is a note: "Written by the much sinning priest Stojan from Belo Pole in 1750 in the month of August 28 Trinity day" (Mošin, Traljić, 1959, 93)


Serbian recension. The octoechos measures 19.5 x 25 cm and has 49 cut sheets. Semi-upright, in 27 lines per page.  Bound with the condensed Prologue for the semester of the late 16th century (no. 12) and a 15th century Gospel. The octoechos consists of office for two voices on Sunday matins to the first hymn of the canon on Saturday matins of the same voice. The manuscript is much damaged, particularly at the top inner corner, and has been clumsily patched up.  Watermark: two variations of a glove with a star, similar to Briquet 10713 of 1485. (Mošin, Traljić, 1959, 93)


Serbian recension. Measuring 19.5 x 31 cm, it has 199 sheets, 5 loose at the front and 194 foliated. Semi-upright, with 28 lines per page. Beginning and end missing. Watermarks: 3 variants of an anchor in a circle with a star and countermark HS, AP and PA.

The initials of the triodion are red and the remaining letters black (Mošin, Traljić, 1959, 93)


Serbian recension. Size 21 x 31 cm, with 99 sheets. Semi-upright, with 27 lines per page. Damaged, missing the beginning and end. No covers. The watermarks are similar to those of the Menaion for October (no. 4) – an anchor in a circle with countermarks PA, IB and PC.

The surviving text runs from the sixth hymn of the Virgin's canon of the first part on Tuesday to the end of canon 8 part on Saturday evening, breaking off after the heading "5th Sunday eve, can[on] prayers to the Holy Mother of God" (Mošin, Traljić, 1959, 94)


Serbian recension. Measuring 9.5 x 14.8 cm, it has 216 sheets in new leather covers. Beginning missing. Written in semi-upright with vignettes.  Watermark: three crescent moons with countermark BM.

The initials are in red, the remaining letters in black.  Up to half way through the book a single hand can be observed, folowed by that of another scribe, smaller, in Bosnian Cyrillic.

The end sheet bears an inscription: "Thus it be when Lazar Komadanović wrote in Čainiče in the month of December 18 day 1826, when an oke [three pounds] of grain was 4 para [one hundredth of a dinar] and there was trouble in Bosnia, the Sultan quarrelling with his Bosnia not to be reconciled."  Below this is written: "I found this ritual book among the books of my late grandfather priest Lazar and for the sake of his soul I am donating it to the church of the Virgin in Čajniče, 15 June 1892. Patrikije Komadanović, priest of Čajniče" (Mošin, Traljić, 1959, 94)


Serbian recension. Measuring 21 x 29 cm, it has 289 sheets. Semi-upright, in 30 lines per page. Watermarks at the beginning – scales in cartouche, of the same type as in Dubrovnik books Cons. Min. 27 of 1500 and Cons. Rogat. 26 of 1492 of this manuscript. The book has texts of the Church Fathers for the cycle of Lent, Pentecost and other major festivals (the Circumcision, Epiphany, Presentation, Ascension etc.).

The initials are in red, the remaining lettering in black.

The end cover bears an inscription: "To Aksentije for his soul.  Let it be known that this book of Chrysostom was donated by the servant of God Ilia Savić [another hand has added above his name Priestmonk Teofil] to the church of the Dormition of the Virgin in perpetual memory and whoever shall be led by the devil to try to remove the said Chrysostom may he be eternally damned and may the Virgin be his opponent at the Day of Judgment, Amen, Amen, Amen."

Below this note is the following: "This is my book, Milinko Radović in Čajniče, written in the Metropolitinate of old Čajniče, July 1846, written by Janićije Vasović."

The handwriting of the first note is old, and relates to Metropolitan Aksentije of Herzegovina (1751-1763). (Mošin, Toljić, 1959, 94-95)


Serbian recension. Measuring 19.5 x 29 cm, it has 324 sheets. The end is missing. Semi-upright, in 28 lines per page. The manuscript has a new leather binding. It was cut back considerably during binding. Watermark: an anchor in a circle with a trefoil and countermark GA, type Briquet 568 of 1591-1597.

The title and initials are in red, some in green, and the rest of the text in black. The manuscript reveals a skilled scribe; the letters are of medium size.

The Prologue contains just one note: "In the month of January the servant of the law of Čajniče priest Petar died, say O brothers, God grand priest Petar peace, 1815." (Mošin, Traljić, 1959, 95)


Serbian recension. Measuring 21 x 31 cm, it has 289 sheets. The beginning is missing (up to the end of the 2nd quatern). Semi-upright, with 30 lines per page. New leather binding. The sheets have decayed at the edges, and the entire top part is covered with large yellow mould stains. Watermark: an anchor in a circle with a star and countermark PC, of the second quarter of the 16th century.


"Let it be known that when the building of the Čajniče church began it was 7302 after the creation of the world and 1804 after the birth of our Lor Jesus Christ in the month of August, Friday 19th. The month on the 26th the wicked Turks stopped us from working for three days."  The same sheet bears another note on the reverse to the right: "On the 8th day of the month of September during the night the wicked Turks knocked down what had been built and spoilt the whole building."  This sheet also bears on the reverse: "Let it be known that work began on building the Čajniče church on 19n August and that it was completed on 25 October."  On the sheet facing this is: "Let it be known from the church office that there will be a service in the old church on Ubrus day and in the new church on St Demetrius' day." (St Demetrius is celebrated on 26 October or 8 November and Ubrus (Shroud or Facecloth)(22) on 1 or 10 October. This then continues "Written by Lazo Komadanović in the month of April 1826" and "This book was purchased by the learned Ovan Safunčia who with his brother Simo donated it to the church of the Dormition of theh Virgin for his soul and that of his father Radojca."

A note at the end of the book reads: "This holy, soul-redeeming book of the prologue of the Čajniče church of the Dormition of the Virgin under the management of protopriest kir Mihail of the church of the Dormition of the Virgin formerly Janevina was signed in the summer of [probably 1826] AD."

The covers bear the inscription: "This book of the prologue of the Dormition of the Holy Queen our Mother of God and Virgin Mary summer [1492?]" (Mošin, Traljić, 1959, 95)


Serbian recension. Measuring 19.2 x 25 cm (cut), it has 40 sheets. Semi-upright, with 25 lines per page. Bound in a leather cover with Octoechos no. 5 and the four Gospels, no. 3. The sheets were displaced during binding and are now in the order 1, 3, 2, 5, 4.  Watermark: an anchor in a circle with a trefoil and the countermark A.  The initials are in red, the remaining letters in black.

The Prologue contains numerous 19th century notes (Mošin, Traljić, 1959, 96)

Printed books 


(Cetinje), Priestmonk Makarije of Montenegro to the order of Đurđe Crnojević, 4.1. 1494; 2°. 270 sheets.

Incomplete: missing the entire first and second quaternions.

On sheet XXXIV6 recto, which is blank, is a Cyrillic note: "This book was bought by priest Vuk from Dimitri Popović of Kržava for 6 groschen.  Groschen [?] and this book donated by Janoka Vlaisala 20 a(spri) [aspra, a type of coin], Anica Iovanova 20 a(spri) and Mara Stevanova 20 a(spri) may God forgive them and none harm them ever."

On sheet XV5 verso is a Cyrillic inscription in the margin: "Let it be known, summer 1803 AC. That summer in Čajniče grain was 4 para on St Demetrius' day, 8 para at Christmas, on Tripun 12 para, on St George's eve 20 para, and on the third day of St George's 14. Dried wild pears were 10 para an oke [3 lbs], salty cheese 10 para an oke, butter 50 an oke, and hay 3."

Bound in board with leather covering. 20th century.

Bound with one sheet of a five-part Octoechos, Cetinje, before 1497. (Popović, 1965, 33-34)


Psalter with posljedovanje (serbice) (23).

Cetinje, priestmonk Makarije of Montenegro to the order of Đurđe Crnojević, 22. IX 1495; 4°. 348 sheets

Badalić 931. Gspan-Badalić 573.

Missing sheets 1-24, 80, 100-110, 121-122, 139, 285, 322-348.

Printed sheet 221 recto bears a Cyrillic note in the lower margin, in red ink: On the 2nd of the month of December, the servant of  God priestmonk old Maksim passed away. . . represented.

Printed sheet 235 verso bears a Cyrillic note in red in: In the summer of 7062 (1554) old Sime(on) passed away.

Both notes are in the same hand.

Bound in the 20th century in boards covered with leather.

A 25-page manuscript was bound in before the psalter.  Written in church

Cyrillic, it is in a handsome, regular, bold semi-upright 16th century script. The initials are finely decorated. The beginning of the manuscript is missing; the surviving part begins with Psalm 9 and ends with Psalm 28 where the surviving part of the printed psalter begins.

Following printed sheet 99, 15 sheets of Cyrillic manuscript are bound in. These are in small 17th century semi-upright script. The manuscript contains the same matter as sheets 100-110 of the printed psalter, and is followed by sheets 111 et.seq. of the printed psalter.

Following printed sheet 192, 47 sheets are bound in written in Cyrillic in small semi-upright script, containing an excerpt from a horologion dated 1622.  Sheet 45 verso of this manuscript bears a note in a different hand: This book belons to the Vuvac monastery of the church of the Nativity of the Virgin and whoever attempts to remove it from this holy monastery may he be damned by our Lord God and the holy mother of God and all the saints servant of God Krome of the monastery council. (Popović, 1965, 37)

3. SERVICE BOOK OF BOŽIDAR VUKOVIĆ, printed in Venice. The size of the paper is 13.5 x 19 cm. It has 232 sheets. It is damaged, and bound in new leather covers.

Note f.1 – "I found this liturgy among the books of my late grandfather priest Lazar and donate it in his memory." (Mošin, Traljić, 1959, 96)


Printed by Jeronim Zagurović in Venice in 156. (Mošin, Traljić, 1959, 96)


Printed in Cetinje in 1494. 255 sheets surviving.  Leather binding. Damaged. All that survives of the first two volumes is sheet 2 of the 2nd quatern.

The end sheet bears the inscription: "This book was bought by priest Vuk from Dmitri Popović of Goržava for 6 groschen. Groschen and this book donated by Januka Vlaisala 27, Anica and O... 20 and Mara Stepanova. May God forgive them and none harm them ever." (Mošin, Traljić, 1959, 96)


The octoechos was printed in Venice in about 1570. The paper measures 21 x 28 cm. It has 158 sheets. At the beginning is a vignette with an image of SS Cosma, John and Joseph. The first sheet has been bound in error into the next book. (Mošin, Traljić, 1959, 96)


Printed in Venice in 1537. Measures 19 x 27.5 cm, andn has 136 sheets. The first sheet of Zagurović's octoechos with the figure of Christ has been inserted at the beginning. The first sheets of the book are missing. The surviving part begins with sheet 8 of the first quire and continues up to "Sayings on Sunday and on the beginning of this book." One sheet missing after f. 74 – the end of Wednesday and beginning of Thursday, 8-part. (Mošin, Traljić, 1959, 96)


The psalter was printed in 1570 in Venice. It measures 14 x 19.5 cm and has 261 sheets. Bound in new leather covers.

F.89v bears a note: "Rededicated to the gentleman, produced..." f. 171 – added in the margin beside 15 June: "And of the great Prince Lazar killed by the Turks in Kosovo polje and by Sultan Murat,", f. 221v: "Sinning Nov'k priest of Montenegro," f. 230v, clumsily: "Priest Radivoi  Dubran not . . long of memory – G[od] have mercy on him."


The service book was printed in Venice in 1554. It measures 14 x 19.8 cm. The last three sheets have been added in error from the following psalter. The text is complete, apart from the sheet missing after f.114 bis. At the front, three sheets have been added on which there are manuscript notes with a "prayer to the twelfth apostle» with a curse on the devil, on the order of the Gospel Sunday by Sunday, on "Ježe odažditi zemle dažd," inscriptions for health from the villages of Bioska, Beširovine, Priana and others, evening prayers, a troparion and a kontakion to the Ascension. (Mošin, Traljić, 1959, 97)


The paper measures 14 x 21 cm. Damaged, with the beginning and end of the text missing; 365 surviving sheets.

The first 25 sheets are in fact a manuscript addition, from Psalm 9 to 15, after which the printed text continues.

There are minor notes on pages f. 4-5,12, 13, 14, 16-18, 21, 48. (Mošin, Traljić, 1959, 97)


Probably printed in the 17th century. Note on the covers:"This book of the Gospels was donated by Ihasi Ioan of the town of Skopia to the Mileševa monastery." (Mošin, Traljić, 1959, 97).


"Printed by Ivan Fedorov in Ostrog in 1581, 12 August. Leather bound. According to Mošin, it was printed in small menaionn lettering in two columns. The sheets are numbered. A number of sheets are missing from the beginning of the Book of Bithiah, and from the end of  the Apocalypse. The verso of the last page of the apocalypse bears the words: "This holy book was bought by the servant of God Arsenije Čurčija Radaič's son and donated to the church of the Dormition of the Virgin in perpetual memory, summer 7197" (1689).  The front cover bears the words: "Let it be known that this book, a Bible of sidnik, was donated by the servant of God Arsenije Čurčija, may God rest his soul, 7..."(Mošin, Traljić, 1959, 97)


Printed in 1651 in Moscow during the reign of Tsar Alexis (Alexei) Mikhailovich Romanov, with the blessing of the Russian Patriarch Joseph. Missing sheets at the beginning and end of the triodion. (Mošin, Traljić, 1959, 97)


Mošin states that this was probably printed at the same time as the previous Romanian Triodion (1651). 271 sheets survive. Two have been added at the beginning of the Triodion, followed by two notes by the owner of the book, priest Jovo Vergović, of 1833, and an interesting note of the same year on Gradaščević's rebellion. (Mošin, Traljić, 1959, 97)

In addition to the above books, Mošin and Taljić (Naše starine, 1959) list the following printed books without additional details:

15. Psalter printed in 1653 in Moscow

16. Epitome dating from 1741

17. Menaion for November, dating from 1758, printed in Moscow

18. Rules of prayer printed in 1761

19. Posledovanie molebna, printed in Moscow  in 1717

20. Blagopotrebnija jektenii, printed in 1764 in the Pechersk lavra in Kiev

21. Blagopotrebna prošenija, printed in 1764 in the Pechersk lavra in Kiev

22. Lenten triodion, printed in Moscow  in 1791

23. Sobranie raznih... poučenij, printed in 1794 in Vienna (2 copies)

24. Ritual book, printed in 1796 in Kiev

25. Service book, printed in Buda in 1799

26. D. Nikolajević, Zercalo hristjanskoe soderžaščee misli spasitelnija i uveščanija dušepoleznaja... V Budime, 1801 (missing title page)

27. Vuković's ritual book, printed c. 1540 in Vienna. Measures 13.5 x 19.7 cm. 271 sheets survive; the beginning and end of the text are missing.

28. Mileševa psalter of 1544. Measures 14 x 19 cm. 154 sheets survive; the beginning and end of the text are missing. New leather binding. Page f. 99-99v bears the note: "I found this psalter among the books of my late grandfather priest Lazar and in his memory I am donating it to the church of the Virgin in Čajniče, 15 June 1892. Patrikije Komadanović, priest of Čajniče"

29. Vuković's service book, 1554, printed in Venice. Brought to the Čajniče church from the church in Zaborka (near Čajniče). The first sheets bear the note: "This liturgy book was bought by Milan Ćurčija and given to the church of the Prophet Elijah in perpetual memory. May God forgive him." The end of the note has been broken off.

30. Greek psalter of 1740. Unbound.

31. Typikon of 1853 printed in Istanbul

32. Typikon of 1871 printed in Kiev

33. Psalter of 1848

34. Psalter – unknown, title page missing

35. Psalter of 1861, printed in Belgrade

36. Psalter (Russian – title page missing)

37. Psalter  with voprosti and otveti, Russian edition missing title sheet

38. Horologion, Russian edition missing title sheet

39. Horologion, Russian edition missing title sheet

40. Horologion, Russian edition missing title sheet

41. Horologion, Russian edition missing title sheet

42. Horologion of 1874, printed in Belgrade

43. Service book, Russian edition 18th century

44. Service book of 1898, printed in Sarajevo

45. Ritual book Russian edition missing title sheet

46. Ritual book Russian edition missing title sheet

47. Ritual book Russian edition missing title sheet

48. Ritual book Russian edition missing title sheet

49. Ritual book Russian edition missing title sheet

50. Festival menaion of 1853 printed in Moscow

51. Anthology (Festival menaion) of 1855, printed in Veinna

52. Triodion of 1861 printed in Moscow

53. Triodion Russian edition missing title sheet

54. Posledovanie molebnago penija of 1862, printed in Moscow

55. Priestly anthology, Russian edition missing title sheet

56. Irmologion, missing title sheet (Mošin, Traljić, 1959, 97-98).


3. Legal status to date

By Ruling of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina no. 1536/50 of 7 November 1950, the property was placed under state protection.

By Ruling of the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural and Historical Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina no. 02-885-3 of 18 April 1972, the property was placed under state protection and registered as a cultural monument.

The Regional Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina to 2002 listed the Large Orthodox Church in Čajniče as a Category I property.

The Commission to Preserve National Monuments in its previous complement issued a decision to add the church of the Dormition of the Virgin in Čajniče, serial no. 175, and the church of the Ascension of Christ, serial no. 176, to the Provisional list of National Monuments.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

Old church

  • 1893 – the old church was renovated
  • 1946 – the church was reconstructed
  • 1990s – the roof was reclad
  • routine maintenance works

New church

  • 1893 to 1897 – the new bell tower was built. There are numerous designs, found in the Archives of BiH. Apart from variations in height, there are also different versions of the windows, façades, bell mounting, type of roof etc.
  • 1954 – reconstruction of the church to a design by Momir Korunović and Dušan Milosavljević.  These works clearly led to certain changes to the size and shape of the windows and the treatment of the surfaces
  • routine maintenance works have been carried out since then
  • 2006 – underfloor heating installed

5. Current condition of the property

The building is in good condition.

The collection of books is housed in unsuitable premises and bookcases. In addition, almost all the books are affected by mould and damp, and it is essential that they be protected, conserved and restored.

The collection of icons is in better collection. Part of it is housed in the old and new churches, and part in the Museum. The icons in the museum (in a single room) lack suitable conditions for either safekeeping or display.  Many of them are covered with a layer of soot and dirt, and on many of them the paint has cracked, as a result of which they require conservation.




Applying the Criteria for the adoption of a decision on proclaiming an item of property a national monument (Official Gazette of BiH nos. 33/02 and 15/03), the Commission has enacted the Decision cited above.

The Decision was based on the following criteria:

A.  Time frame

B.  Historical value

C.  Artistic and aesthetic value

C.ii.      quality of materials

C.iii.     proportions

C.iv.      composition

C. v.     value of details

D. Clarity (documentary, scientific and educational value)

D.i.       material evidence of a lesser known historical era

D.iii.     work of a major artist or builder

D. iv.     evidence of a particular type, style or regional manner

D. v.     evidence of a typical way of life at a specific period

E. Symbolic value

E.i.       ontological value

E.ii.      religious value

E.iii.     traditional value

E.iv.      relation to rituals or ceremonies

E.v.      significance for the identity of a group of people

G. Authenticity

G.iii.     use and function

G.iv.     traditions and techniques

G.vi.     spirit and feeling

H. Rarity and representativity

H.i.       unique or rare example of a certain type or style

H.ii.      outstanding work of art or architecture

H.iii.     work of a prominent artist, architect or craftsman



During the procedure to designate the monument as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted: 


1892.    Komadanović. P, Stara i nova pravoslavna crkva u Čajniče (The Old and New Orthodox Churches in Čajniče), Bosanska vila, Sarajevo, 1892, 406


1901.    Vukičević, M. Iz starih Srbulja (From Mediaeval Serbian Church Books), Jnl of the National Museum, 1901, p. 327.


1956.    Momirović, Petar, Stari rukopisi i štampane knjige u Čajniču (Old Manuscripts and Printed Books in Čajniče), Naše starine, Sarajevo, 1956, 173-177


1965.    Popović, Ljubinko, Popis inkunabula koje se nalaze u Bosni i Hercegovini. (List of Incunabula in  BiH), Bibliotekarstvo, Belgrade, 1965, 17-41


1959.    Vladimir Mošin, M. Seid Traljić, Ćirilski spomenici u Bosni i Hercegovini (Cyrillic Monuments in BiH), Naše starine VI, 63-105, Sarajevo, 1959


1984.    Brkić, Nemanja, Tehnologija slikarstva, vajarstva i ikonografija (Techniques of Paintings, Sculpture and Iconography), University of Art in Belgrade, Belgrade 1984.


1997.    Kadijević, Aleksandar, Jedan vek traženja nacionalnog stila u srpskoj arhitekturi (sredina XIX – sredina XX veka) (A Century of the Quest for a National Style in Serbian Architecture [mid 19th-mid 20th century]), Građevinska knjiga, Belgrade, 1997.


1998.    Svetlana Rakić, Ikone Bosne i Hercegovine (16-19. vijek) (Icons of  BiH [16th-19th century), Belgrade, 1998.


2002.    Ševo, Ljiljana, Pravoslavne crkve i manastiri u Bosni i Hercegovini do 1878 (Orthodox Churches and Monasteries in BiH to 1878), Banja Luka, 2002.



(English version: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saints_Cyril_and_Methodius


Documentation of the Archives of BiH


Documentation of the Institute for the Protection of Monuments of the Federal Ministry of Culture and Sport


(1) Andrija Damjanović of Veles, architect and fresco painter, lived between 1813 and 1878. Little is known about his life and person.  He was a member of a family of prominent Macedonian fresco painters and builders, the Renzovkis (the second of four sons of Damjan Renzovski), which built and decorated churches throughout the Balkans, from Macedonia and Epirus to Bulgaria and Istanbul. A. Damjanov extended his activities to the northern and western Balkans.  After acquiring a reputation as an all-round builder of Orthodox churches, during the period for which his work is best-kinown he gained orders from Orthodox parishes throughout the Principality of Serbia and Serb regions under Turkish rule (Kadijević, 1997, p. 15).

“It is not true to say of Andrija Damjanov that he was self-taught, still less that he was unskilled. On the contrary, everything he built reveals him as well-acquainted with construction and styles of building. He was just one of the last known builders of this part of the world who did not attend art school or a polytechnic to learn the rules of design and building, but underwent a long period of apprenticeship, advancing from initial apprenticeship to practice with experienced families of builders” (Jovanović, 1997). He gained considerable knowledge by studying monuments of the Byzantine and post-Byzantine eras, which he had the opportunity to familiarize himself with during his extensive travels. He matured at a time when western elements were not widely used in Macedonian, Epirean and other Orthodox regions under Turkish rule. As a result, his embracing the western tradition, as expressed primarily in decoration and interior design, is evidence of how up-to-date he was in his architecture, how ready to adopt the new trends in church architecture encountered in mid century in Salonika.

Andrija was a contemporary of Theophil Hansen’s, and they knew each other personally, so that the latter’s eclectic architecture had quite an influence on Andrija Damjanović's work.

When Andrija was negotiating with the Orthodox parish of Sarajevo over the construction of a new church in Sarajevo, the parishioners wanted him to show them a plan or drawing. He said he had no plan, but that they should take a look at the churches in Niš and Smederevo – and that he would build a church like those but even finer in Sarajevo.  It was much the same in Mostar. He sent representatives of the Mostar parish to look at the church in Sarajevo. Presumably, though, some plans were used in building these churches.

Andrija Damjanov and his brothers mainly built churches and iconostases, but also secular buildings. While the new Orthodox church was being built in Sarajevo, they were also repairing the clock tower and building a large barracks in the city (known as Kršla, this was presumably the barracks where the present-day Bistrik barracks stand.  It was demolished during the Austro-Hungarian period and the present barracks building was erected).  As well as plans, they also made models. Andrija made a wooden model of the barracks he had built in Sarajevo, and took it to Istanbul.

For building the barracks, Andrija is said to have been decorated by the sultan and given the right to wear a sword. (Filipović, 1949, pp. 33-40).

(2) Father Vasilije found the architect Momir Korunović in Belgrade and set up with him a Committee for the renovation of the large 14 m3 church in Čajniče. All the people from Čajniče and its surroundings, Serbs and Muslims alike, came to help clear the ruins, even chldren (who handed bricks and stone to their parents), and the church was very soon rebuilt. From then on the people loved Father Vasilije as children love their parents.

(3) Momir Korunović – a fervent advocate of the national style in Serbian architecture. O completion of his studies in Belgrade in 1906, he furthered his education in Prague, rome and Paris, and went into the history of Serbian architecture when building the PTT building in 1930. In addition to this and other public buildings (the railway station post office in Belgrade, ministries, other post offices, schools, churches, residences and so on), he also designed several falconry centres in Yugoslavia (including the one in Jajce).

(4) The Serbian Orthodox celebrate the Nativity of the Virgin, known as Mala gospojina, on 21 September, “when God heard the prayers of Joachim and Anne and gave them a daughter, Mary, who later gave birth to Christ.” The Nativity of the Virgin is one of a number of festivals celebrating the life of the Virgin.

(5) There is a tradition that the area around the church was no more than 2 metres, but that the authorities at that time permitted it to be enlarged

(6) Priest Komadanović describes this door: "The door is double and arched, made of oak, with a height of 1 m e45 cm and a width of 71 cm." 

(7) St Basil the Great was born in 329, and is known as the Doctor of the Church of Christ. He was bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia. He wrote numerous works of apologetics, theology and canon law, as well as the church service known after him as the Liturgy of St Basil the Great, which is used ten times a year. He died in 379.

(8) St Gregory the Theologian was born in 329. He met St Basil the Great during his education in Athens. On completion of his education he joined a monastic order. Like St Basil the Great, he lived by studying and interpreting the Scriptures in the desert regions around the Black Sea. Later he became a bishop, and then Patriarch of Constantinople. He wrote numerous valuable church works. He died in 390.

(9) St John Chrysostom was born in 354. Initially he studied philosophy, but then encountered the teachings of Christ, to which he dedicated his life. He wrote a book entitled On the Priesthood, a liturgy known as the Liturgy of St John Chrystostom, and many other works He was Patriarch of Constantinope for six years. He was twice persecuted and exiled, and died on Holy Cross Day 407 in Armenia.

(10) St Stephen was the first of seven deacons ordained by the Apostles, hence the title archdeacon Stephen, first among the deacons. He was the first  Christian martyr, and is also therefore known as the First Martyr. He was stoned to death in Jerusalem.

(11) By tradition, to teach his disciples humility, Chreist took a child (St Ignatius), set him among them, and said: "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven (Mt. 18.4) He is therefore known as Theophoros. St Ignatius studied under St John the Divine and later became Bishop of Antioch.  He is known for having introduced antiphony to the church.  He was killed in the arena in Rome in 106 on the orders of the Emperor Trajan.

(12) Bilateral painted icons have been carried in procession since the 12th or 13th century, and some of them may have been mounted on iconostases simply because they were too big and heavy to carry. Most of the icons that filled the spaces between columns on templons in the Comnenus period were probably portable, and would have been taken down from time to time, during religious services, or put on display on special stands on feast days. Such particularly highly venerated icons could have been regarded as miraculous; they were placed in the most sacred places, wiether on the partition itself or on the pillars next to it. Bilateral icons used for processions are very rare in the world of Byzantine art. Most of them have been preserved in Ohrid, Macedonia. In the early 14th century the great processional icons of the Balkan Slavs still repeated the old iconographic subjects, although new ones of a more intimate nature were also beginning to appear. Among a number of late 13th or early 14th century icons that once belonged to the Church of the Virgin Peribleptos in Ohrid (today the Church of St. Clement) is the early 14th century icon of the Virgin Peribleptos, now in the National Museum in Ohrid.  The icon shows the Virgin with the Child on her left arm. Both icons are modeled after a well-known prototype, the reputedly miraculous icon from the monastery of the Virgin Peribleptos in Constantinople, built in the 11th century, but particularly famous from the early 13th century until the fall of Constantinople. Unlike the Čajniče icon, the Ohrid Peribleptos was originally painted only on the obverse, with the reverse painted later, in the late 14th century. 

Characteristic features of the last great period of Byzantine art, the Paleologan Renaissance, present in both Ohrid and Čajniče icons, are seen in the classical shape of the Virgin's face, the very restricted range of colors, stressed sentimentality, and specific maternal emotions towards the Child, unlike other, stricter versions of the Peribleptos, which were essentially of the Hodegetria iconographic type. Other Ohrid bilaterial painted icons of the Virgin Hodegetria dating from the early 14th century, however, such as the famous Saviour of Souls, retained the formal character of older iconographic models, merely discreetly softened by eliminating the rigidly frontal pose of the figures. Like the Čajniče icon, several icons of the Virgin in Greece, from the early 14th century on, also display the same ideas of Byzantine art, evidence in the Virgin’s face, which no longer reveals the untroubled, calm beauty that was earlier the custom.

(13) Sarajevski učitelj Sava Kosanović zabilježio je 1870 daje ikona Bogorodice čajničke prenijeta u Bosnu iz manastira Banja kod Priboja. Upravo ovaj podatak da je ikona došla u Čajniče kada je manastir Banja opustio, ukazao je na mogućnost daje ikona slikana 1329-1330, kada je kralj Stefan Dečanski podigao svoju zadužbinu u Banji, crkvu Sv. Nikole Dabarskog. Ona je i ranije, prije kraljeve građevine, postojala kao episkopsko sjedište. Pretpostavlja se da je možda kralj Stefan Dečanski dao da se ikona naslika u vrijeme kada je crkva u Banji građena, živopisana i opremana.

(14) Demetrius was the long-awaited only son of a duke of Salonica. After his father's death the heathen emperor (who is variously named as Caloyan, Diocletian or Maximian) appointed him as his father's successor and ordered him to persecute Christians. However, since Demetrius was himself a Christian, he refused, and distributed his wealth to the poor. The emperor threw him into a dungeon, where he was stabbed with spears by soldiers.

(15) Legend has it that since Christ was unable to go there himself, he sent the afflicted Abgar ruler of Edessa, who had asked him for healing, the imprint of his face on a cloth. Upon touching the image, Abgar was healed, and the apostle Thaddeus later baptized him. The image not made by human hands, the Holy Face of Edessa, was treasured by the city of Edessa.  In the 10th century, Abgar's cloth was taken to Constantinople, where it was venerated as the Mandylion. The Crusaders seized it as loot and took it to the west, where its subsequent fate becomes uncertain.

(16) Cyrillic MR-TY = abbreviation of the Greek Mitir Teu = Mother of God (Brkić, 1984, 315)

(17) the cult of this saint was very widespread in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Ottoman period. Among the known icons of this type, the Čajniče icon of St George with scenes from his life is one of the oldest, and is distinctive for several reasons. St George Cephalophoros is seldom encountered, and only a few such icons are known in BiH: Čajniče, Busovača and Blagaj, as well as a number in the State Museum of History in Museum and a few in the Sekulić collection in Belgrade. Among these, the Blagaj and  Čajniče icons are the only ones with scenes from the life of St George, which do not feature on the others.

(18) Presumably because the artist was not well informed, the boulder is on the saint's back, not on his chest as is usual.

(19) The inscription states that this is the Destruction of the Idols, but the painter clearly did not know how to represent it. To him the symbol of evil was not the abstract idea of paganism but the emperor himself, who was torturing the saint.

(20) "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Dela Ap. 2; 1-4).

(21) Cyril (whose given name was Constantine – he took the name Cyril on being ordained) and Methodius were two Byzantine Greek or Slavic brothers born in Thessaloniki in the 9th century. They are also known as the Saintly Brothers and the Slav apostles. Their father, Leon, was a Greek military officer (with the rank of drungarios) in the thema of Thessaloniki. They spent their early childhood in Thessaloniki, which was entirely surrounded by Slavs at that time. Methodius became the principal of an archontius in eastern Macedonia, while Cyril, who was raised in the imperial court, was appointed as librarian of St Sophia in Constantinople and philosophy teacher at the Constantinople high school after completing his studies in philosophy and theology.

In 851, Cyril became a member of the Byzantine mission to the Arab Caliph in Samarra, and in 856, at a time of political and ecclesiastical friction, Methodius left his position as archont and retreated to the monastery at Olympus in Asia Minor, soon to be joined there by Cyril. In 860, however, on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Michael III, both brothers went as missionaries to the Turco-Tazar Khazars in southern Russia. Soon after their return, they were sent on a new mission to the Slavs.  In 862 the envoy of Prince Rastislav of Moravia had asked Emperor Michael to provide a bishop and priests to preach the Christian faith in the Slavic language.  This was a major and very sensitive task. German priests from the dioceses of Regensburg and Pasaun had been propagating Christianity in Rastislav’s state since the early 9th century. Fearful of their political influence, Rastislav sought the backing of Byzantium against the Emperor Ludwig the German, under whose rule he had been isolated in fierce fighting. Rastislav’s idea was that the independent Moravian church, with its own local clergy and liturgical language, should become a barrier to all foreign influence.

Byzantium met Rastislav’s wishes to some extent, by sending him Cyril and Methodius. The brothers undertook serious preparations for their task. Cyril devised the first Slav script (Glagoljica), and translated the most important ecclesiastical books into the language of the Macedonian Slavs from the Thessaloniki region (which he spoke fluently, having learned it as a child). They thus created the first Slav literary language and laid the foundations of Slav literature. In 863 the brothers set off, reaching Prince Rastislav in 864, who welcomed them hospitably, but the success of their mission, and the numbers of followers and affectio of the people they attracted prompted a reaction among the German clergy, which began an insidious campaign against the Slav missionaries. The principal argument of those opposed to the Slav liturgy was the so-called trilingual theory, which claimed that there were only three sacred languages in which it was permissible to conduct religious worship: Hebrew, Greek and Latin.

After three years in Moravia, the brothers left so that the bishop could ordain Methodius and other new Slav priests. On reaching Pannonia, they spent some time at the court of Prince Kocelje to introduce to him their work on the Slav liturgical book. There too they gained many followers before leaving for Venice, where they were obliged to wage a bitter polemic with the “trilingualists.”  Thence they departed not for Constantinople, where Emperor Michael had been assassinated and power seized by Basil the Macedonian, but for Rome. Pope Adrian saw the Slav missionaries as useful allies in his struggle against the despotic and rebellious German archbishops and their sovereign ruler, and accorded them a ceremonial welcome. Cyril fell ill in Rome and soon died as a monk there (he is buried in the Basilica di San Clemente, where his tomb is still to be seen). Adrian approved the Slav liturgy, and in 869 sent Methodius to Prince Kocelje, even appointing him as Archbishop of Pannonia during his second visit to Rome. This was intended to detach western Illyria from the jurisdiction of the archbishop of Salsburg and place it under the direct control of Rome.

No sooner had Methodius reached Pannonia than he was attacked by the German priests as a heretic, and when he reached Moravia (where Rastislav had been overthrown by his nephew, Prince Svatopluk of Njitran), the German bishops invited Methodius to their synod, condemned him and threw him into a dungeon, where he remained for two and a half years.  In 873 Methodius was released from the dungeon on the orders of the pope, but the Slavonic liturgy was banned. Nonetheless, Methodius continued his work, and the Slav liturgy increasingly spread through Moravia, resulting in accusations against him being laid in Rome. In 879 Methodius was summoned to plead his cause to the Pope. Pope John VIII, anxious not to damage Rome’s standing in Moravia, approved the Slav liturgy in a Papal Bull, Industriae tuae, of 880. Patriarch Fotius of Constantinople, who had made peace with the Pope, also approved it in 882.

Methodius translated the Bible into Slavonic in Moravia. Following his death in Moravia, the Slavonic liturgy was banned, and Prince Svatopluk persecuted his followers. Some of them were forced into slavery, but others found sanctuary in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Rascia and coastal Croatia, where they continued their work. By translating liturgical works and the Bible, Cyril and Methodius laid the foundations of Slav literacy.

In 862 they were invited by prince Rastislav to propagate Christianity in the Slavic language in Great Moravia, which they did until their deaths, Cyril's in 869 (in Rome) and Methodius' in 885 (in Great Moravia). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saints_Cyril_and_Methodius.

(22) It is not clear what is meant by Ubrus, which could refer to the Shroud of the Virgin or to the Face of Christ.

(23) Posljedovanje/posledovanje, an archaic word, literally means “following after” (Christ)

(24) The printing press passed to Božidar's son Vićenco and continued printing church books in the Serbian recension until 1560.


Čajniče, the end of 20 century ČajničeThe architectural ensemble of the Orthodox Church Old church
Old church - iconostasisOld church - interiorOld church - iconBig church, northern façade
Big church, eastern façade Big church, southern façadeBig church, bell tower Interior
PulpitIconostasisIconostasis, detailIconostasis, detail
DomeNavePorticoPortico, detail
Museum, booksST. NICOLAUS, Andrija Raičević, middle of 17 century NERUKOTVORENI OBRAZ HRISTOV, unknown Crete’s painter, 18 century  

BiH jezici 
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